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September 22, 2011

A couple more pre-game tidbits (Matusz, Hunter)

The Orioles still haven't decided who will pitch Sunday's finale in Detroit. The three options are Rick VandenHurk, Jo-Jo Reyes and Brian Matusz.

So Matusz, who has struggled most of this season, may have one more chance to start in 2011.

In fact, it's possible two of the above three will get one more start. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he believes Tommy Hunter's scheduled start against the Boston Red Sox at Camden Yards on Monday is "in jeopardy." Hunter, who strained his groin Wednesday, said he hopes to pitch Monday.

If Hunter can't go, I think it would be surprising if we didn't see Matusz start one more time -- either Sunday or Monday. Yes, that's a departure from my previous thinking, when I speculated that Matusz's rough outing on Monday in Fenway Park would be his last this year.


Posted by Dan Connolly at 5:59 PM | | Comments (19)
        

Comments

I would rather see Patton start. Neither one would go more than two innings, but they'd be in better shape after Patton's two innings.

Oh boy. Matusz. Be still, my heart.

Jo-Jo should be in relief. He's only averagely horrible in the bullpen, as opposed to totally and utterly miserable as a starter.

Forget VandenHurk. He has no future at the major league level, at least not here, so why bother?

If at all possible, go with Hunter. He's pitched well enough to be a strong starting rotation contender next year.

Has the star of any young pitcher ever fallen so suddenly and strangely? This time last year, Matusz was seen as a budding ace. Now he is described as a dud of historic proportions. It would be interesting to read a good account of how such much apparent talent went so bad so fast. It's hard to believe that it's all because he was lazy in the off-season and had a relatively minor injury in spring training. Unless his side sessions have demonstrated that his stuff his back, why send him out there to get humiliated again?

Fanger: Your comment on Hunter shows the world how low Oriole fans set their expectations. Hunter has a 5.32 ERA as an Oriole. In 10 starts, he allowed less than four runs twice. But considering the garbage dump of has-beens and never-will-bes that will be competing for rotation spots for this joke of a franchise, I guess Hunter has pitched "well enough" to win a starting spot next year.

Moving on to...

Brian Matusz Facts:
- Has allowed 5+ runs in each of his last seven starts.
- Has an era of 14.00 in those seven starts.
- Hasn't made it past the second inning in his last two starts.
- Has allowed 16 home runs in 2011, in just 44.2 innings. If you're back from the bathroom after vomiting, that's 3.2 home runs per nine innings. I'm done, so you won't miss anything if you go and vomit again.

There is more to this Matusz fiasco than is being revealed. I thought that it was very suspicious when Showalter reasoned that a 24 year old pitcher with no major arm injury may never recover the 5 m.p.h. he lost from his fastball. Why? After completely blowing out his elbow, Strasburg was throwing 99mph less than a year later. What is it that Showalter knows that would lead him to make such a statement? I hate to speculate, but PED's immediately come to mind as an explanation for rapid performance drop-off, and the all to willing acceptance, that there may be no recovery in velocity. Hope I'm wrong, but this organization does have a history with the stuff.

Start Matusz again? This year?

That is sooooo wrong it might work.

In your dreams.

I'll clear my calendar if Buck is that desparate.

Matusz has gone from star to black hole in the course of one year. One very horrendous year.

BOY IT IS A SHAME THAT COINS DON;T HAVE THREE SIDES, THAT'S WHAT YOU DO TO CHOOSE FROM THESE THREE, AND AS A TOPPER YOU COULD USE KEVIN GREGG AS THE CLOSER, BUT I GUESS THAT'S WHY WE ARE THE WORST TEAM IN THE AMERICAN LEAGUE AND AS LONG AS WE HAVE THIS CALIBER OF PITCHERS TO CHOOSE FROM WE WILL BE THE WORST TEAM IN THE AMERICAN LEAGUE LIKE I HAVE SAID BEFORE BALTIMORES PAY ROLE IS 80 SOME MILLION, TAMPA BAY'S PAYROLE IS 41 MILLION. WE ARE NOT GETTING OUR MONEYS WORTH, AND LORD ONLY KNOW'S HOW MUCH WE ARE WASTING ON UNCLE BUCK

The Tigers obviously believe it will be Matusz...they've ordered three additional buckets of baseballs, and made it mandatory that all fans between the left and right fair poles wear safety helmets.

I see nothing good that can come out of pitching Matusz again this year. His pitches are flat, there is no snap to his once great curveball and velocity is an obvious problem. If he was a few years older I would compare this drop off to Zito. PEDs aside, it is my belief his career is essentially over.

I agree that Hunter has pitched well enough to at least compete for a starting spot. He's not quite back to his level of the past two seasons in Texas, but he's shown enough to indicate he can get there. He was injured most of this season, and they probably attempted to push him into the late innings too soon. If Buck had been quick with the hook after 6 innings, Hunter would have 6 out of 10 quality starts. The guy has the kind of winning attitude that can help turn a team around, if he can stay healthy.

Do the kid a favor and shut him down. It's more mental now, anyway, and he does not need another pasting that could -- if they haven't already -- ruin him.

My belief is that Matusz got the former (competent) pitching coach fired and this is Buck's way of repaying him for doing it.

Why not just take Matusz to the woodshed and administer a whipping there. It wouldn't hurt him - or us - as much as putting him back in harm's way.

Matusz got Kranny fired and Connor retired? If either of those is true, it speaks volumes about Buck as a manager.

Buck really screwed up when he let Kranitz go. He deserved what has happened.

As for Matusz, something very odd going on here. How a guy goes 7-1 with an ERA in the ONE range to Mr. Bombs Away is beyond me, unless there's an injury here that either (1) nobody is talking about or {and this is more likely} (2) they haven't found yet...like a blood clot in an artery somewhere causing an impingement or weakness, or an atrophied muscle, who knows, not a doctor. He doesn't seem to be in any pain, but neither did JR Richard, remember him? Think it was Joe Angel the other day calling Matusz' last game, he hit the nail on the head, you can't afford to get by with a 88 mph fastball unless you have a heckuva changeup and pinpoint accuracy (like Scott McGregor did). How a guy goes from throwing 94 to 87 without it being due to an injury or a MAJOR mechanical flaw (i.e. the kind the guy in the rafters in the park can spot) is beyond me. Something is definitely missing from this story. I can only hope that whatever it is, he turns it around or it will be yet ANOTHER first round pick BUST for the Orioles. As for speculation about Buck being GM and manager, who knows? Bottomline, whoever is in charge needs to overhaul scouting and player development and ratchet up exponentially the Orioles' presence in international markets. The end. Do that, and things will improve. There is a third thing though that Buck, no matter what his title is, can do nothing about and that's instilling a winning commitment on the part of ownership, i.e. Mr. Angelos has to start caring more about how the team is playing than how much money he is making. Of course, if that happened, he wouldn't be Mr. Angelos, he'd be Cal Ripken. Hey, we can dream, can't we...?

I'd rather see Andino pitch than see Matsuz out there again. Or maybe Josh Bell.

I know the Orioles' season ended months ago, but can't we go out with a little dignity? Putting Matusz on the mound is the same as conceding the game.

Matusz was being a wise ass from the start & reading his press clipping a little too much.
A number of people with various ties to the Orioles have stated he came back this year & acted like a punk from day 1. He's refused intruction on a variety of topics and there is no doubt his immaturity is one very large reason Connor mailed it in.
Buck is no idiot...if he's still running the smart ass out there it has nothing in the world to do with Matusz finnally figuring it out after 3 more bullpen sessions, it has everything to do with, "are you finally ready to listen"?

WHY??????He should never have been brought back from Norfolk this season.

Somebody find the clowns who stole the number 8 statue from outside Eutaw St a few years ago and hire them to steal Palmer's 22 and drop it on Matusz' left arm. Put him out of his misery. He's horrible, and its not even the velocity excuse anymore. he just sucks and needs a change of scenery. Trade him to FL for Morrison.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.


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