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August 4, 2009

Matusz: The right stuff

Brian Matusz looked very composed during his five-inning performance against the Detroit Tigers tonight, though it wasn't a cakewalk in in Comerica Park. He was pitching with runners all over the place, but he was fearless with his fastball, wily with his changeup and nasty with his breaking stuff when it counted.

Nick Markakis punctuated his performance with a long two-run homer off newly acquired Tigers starter Jarrod Washburn that gave the Orioles a four-run lead in the sixth inning, improving the probability that Matusz will become the fifth rookie pitcher to win his major league debut for the O's this year.

Of course, if something goes wrong in the O's bullpen, you can still complain about Dave Trembley taking him out after 99 pitches. It was the right move, since it was a very strenuous five innings and Matusz looked beat, but won't stop anybody from second-guessing the move if this game blows up like so many others recently.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 8:38 PM | | Comments (72)
Categories: Just baseball
        

Comments

GO O'S ! GO O'S!! Pile it on ! no lead is too big!

Awesome performance.

Gave up 4 doubles and 3 walks, which isn't fantastic, but overcame it, stayed composed and gave up just one run.

Looked like he was giving into the O's rookie pitchers' tendency to nibble, but bore down and ended with a K.

Very promising indeed. I know it's way too early to make a fair comparison, but he looks even better than Tillman.

Also Matusz would have sat a long time before going out again which makes going to the bullpen a no brainer.

Matusz is the Orioles eleventh starting pitcher this year. Before the season I asked you for your over/under on stating pitchers this year. You set it at eleven. If Waters starts this week I need to know who took the over.

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Pete's reply: Waters isn't going to start. They sent him back to Norfolk. Berken is staying. But I'm not liking my chances right now. You picked a good number. I doubt there will be more than one or two more.

The fifth inning for Matusz was very impressive with the back to back K's to get out of that inning. Also the great plays on defense by Cesar.

Hey and Brandon Snyder is hitting at Triple AAA now !!!

Get the kid out of there on a positive note. Good move by DT. Matuz should sleep good tonight....

Did you say fastball? Changeup? Breaking ball? From one guy in an O's uniform? HOLY MOLEY where did this guy come from!

I only thought they taught 2 pitches in our minor league system. Now I see why Trembly was so gaga about making Wieters catch him...he really is special!

...and left-handed to boot. Can somebody spell "C-o-n-t-r-a-c-t e-x-t-e-n-s-i-o-n."

Maybe this is just me being a homer, but I thought Matusz was on the wrong end of a lot of close calls in the second inning --- both of the walks he gave up, the batter just stood there with the bat on his shoulder, and Matusz came inside two or three times to both of them, and it looked to me like the ump could easily have called any of those pitches strikes. If Matusz gets even one of those pitches, the Tigers never load the bases, and his line looks even better.

Matusz pitched like he had been in the Bigs before,even though I'm sure his heart was racing. What a breath of fresh air. Pitched with conviction. Threw strikes. Pounded the strike zone. Located his pitches. Kudos to Weiters too. He called a great game. Never once did I see Matusz shake him off.

Can we put this kid in a dorm room with Guthrie so Guthrie can learn a thing or two?

Matusz should buy Izturis lunch tomorrow. Great game.

Nice to see the team rally behind the youngster and get him some runs for his debut.
It would be sooooo good for this pitcher, this team, and this fan, if they could just cruise to a nice, comfortable, no drama end to this one.

For all the bi-polar Oriole fans who for whatever reason decide to trash the Os at the end of each season (broken record much?) Matsuz just goes to prove the point that change actually is in the works. Next season our starting rotation could hypothetically have Bergesen, Tillman, Matsuz, Hernandez; four guys who were rookies this season. Four GOOD rookies, who can turn in to four quality MLB SPs. We've seen each one demonstrate that they "have the right stuff," so there isn't any reason to doubt the potential. Couple that rotation with a revitalized lineup including numerous rookies (Wieters, Reimold, Montanez) and youthful proven stars (Jones, Markakis), and seasoned veterans like Roberts, and what is there to doubt? This team has legit potential and at this point it is undeniable. The big question will be the bull-pen. However regardless of the hypotheticals it is really great to see so much youthful talent in the organization. It's the first time in a LONG time as a proud Orioles fan that I've had hope.

You got to give it to Chris Ray for pitching 2 2/3 innings of shutout relief.

This team will drive you crazy. After the horrors over the weekend, tonight they look like the team we keep hoping for. I guess that sort of schizo behavior is to be expected considering all the changes this team has been through, but it's hell on a fan.
Please Birds, more games like tonight, less like Sunday.
Helluva start by the new kid huh?

Good observation O's fan in Boston. Many good contributions may have gotten overshadowed by a good pitching performance from Matusz. Chris Ray for pitching well, Izturis for having a career game, Markakis for hitting a bomb, Roberts for setting the tone, Wieters for calling a great game, and yes, even the Mora single. It was a rare team win. Everything just clicked tonight. Very upbeat win. I wish could see more of these type wins.

Great job from Matusz. He has good command of his pitches and shows good poise. Even Mora and Chris Ray did a good job! This has been the most promising season of the 11 year drought. I would love to see Markakis AND Jones get a hot bat. That would be sick!

Turning the corner on the Swoon!!!

How many corners have we turned this year?

i was a little worried that this would not go so well and i am very happy to say i was wrong. matusz looked great out there. he was locating well and it must feel pretty good to say the first guy you ever struck out in the bigs was a probable future HOFer in miguel cabrera. anyway, on a different note, i think it would be best if jones didnt bat 4th anymore. he seems more comfortable 2nd or 3rd.

Doug M,

Probably enough corners to be back where we started.

i'm glad for no AM or DT bashing. Perhaps if they get trashed in a loss, how about a little praise in a win?
Bottom line is you gotta pitch. You can't have enough good arms.

That was a Great start. Just what the Orioles needed.

According to MLB.com the O's set a Major League record tonight. With Matusz's win the O's became the first MLB team (since 1900) to have 5 pitchers win their MLB debuts in the same year. Something tells me they maybe adding to that record especially in September. Congrats to Brian and the O's!

Pete et al,

I know it's off topic, but just watched that Pujols is 4-5 with two home runs including a grand slam. He has at least 5 games with multiple home runs, and a total of 36 home runs for the season. Has anybody checked this dude for Roids? He is crushing the ball. Has he peed in a cup yet?

Hail Cesar!

Props to Cesar. Great play to save a couple runs and then breaking out the homer trot.

Props to Ray also. Good to see him pitch a clean slate.

Props to Matusz. Not great but not bad either.

Pete,

I thought we were getting paid to second guess the manager? You mean we aren't getting paid and we just spend our time bitching and moaning about a terrible team? Ok!

As good as Matusz looked tonight and he could've easily lost this game if not for some fine defense, I still hope the O's go afte a veteran starter for next season. And I don't mean someone like Eaton or Hendrickson, I mean a legitimate No. 1 or No. 2 guy.

Great job by the rookie...especially in the 5th. with back to back K's to end the inning. The fact that Cabrera's shot ended up being a ground rule double helped the O's for once.
The kid reminded me quite a bit of the Phillies Cole Hammels...hope he's off to as much success.
Also nice to think Dave may actually eat after a game & get some peaceful sleep. This guy has put up with more crap from fans with a team that has a revolving door on the mound...back off & give him the same time & slack we're willing to give the players recently brought up.
I'd also like to thank Trembley for being above the recent nonsense with Mora & not making this a bigger issue. He understood Melvin's frustration, refused to get sucked in & continued to do his job. If we had even a pretty good bullpen...we'd have won 10 more games at least & many would be singing Dave's praises. It's not always pretty & sometimes they'll break our hearts but these kids under Dave are getting there...it's a process but, we're getting there.

Brian Matusz didn't look like he was nervous at all. This kid was the our 1st pick from last year, and he's already pitched a very good game against a really good Tigers team. He never looked nervous or hesitant, even when runners were on base so logically, I assume it's because he's wearing # 52, George Sherrill's old number because anyone who wears that #, pitches better when guys are on base. If only the O's thought of giving that jersey to D Cab.

O's fan in Boston, you are dead on, as Chris Ray was fantastic. This was his best game without question.

Great night!!! Anonymous had a great post. Lots of great posts like usual. Yes with Matusz, Bergesen, Hernandez, Tillman and possibly Erbe in the rotation for years to come things can be much better for the O's. I see Uehara in the pen with W. Perez the lefty from Bowie, Kam M. and 4 spots to be filled. Hopefully J Johnson will pitch well and keep his spot and Chris Ray and Albers as well, but the O's need to shore up their pen Baez will probably be gone and that's probably okay, Bass I'm not sure about.
Trembley needs to go. Too many bad decisions. Mora needs to go ASAP. He's taking away at bats from younger guys. Izturis had a very nice game but I'm not sold on him. The O's need better production from the SS since they have other decent hitters but no real monsters like the Yankees, Red Sox or Tigers have, ie ARod, Youkalis, and M.Cab.
Pie needs to be in the lineup!!! Call up a few other young hitters if possible by unloading other vets who will be non factors in the future.

Everyone should be excited, I know I am. To see good young talent take the mound you could see the rest of the team played with more zest and heart. Itturis, Markakis and Jones. Jones positioned himself really well for a lot of these hitters, along with Izturis making dazzling plays. Wieters did a nice job working with Matusz. Hope this is the first of a long string of good outings, they certainly looked like a team tonight.

Pete, Matusz really impressend me in the fitth,when he got two big strikeouts with runners on second and third with only one out. Looks like the real deal.

Maybe I've asked this before, but explain to me why the Orioles sent Mickolio down to the minors again when he's been nearly flawless in four relief appearances, while they opted to keep Berken on the team despite him pitching to an ERA of nearly seven in 13 starts.

It doesn't make sense, unless they think they can fix whatever's wrong with Berken before his next start. Still, Mickolio deserves better in my book.

What is this, the eighth time Mickolio's been sent down this year?

Thirteen games under .500 is hardly the stuff of dreams, but with Tillman, Matusz, Hernandez, Bergesen, Erbe, Arrieta, and all those other arms the future does look promising. Add Weiters, Reimold, Jones, Markakis, Snyder, Roberts to the brew: not a bad club. I've been following the O's since 1958 (or 51 of my 61 years on the planet), and not since the early '70's has the team had such a stable of young players. That's fun. Wish I could get to the Yards in August and September to see how the maturing process goes (living in Colorado has many advantages, but seeing the Orioles in action is NOT one of them).

Between Hernandez, Bergesen, and Matusz, we've seen a nice smattering of nights where we look like a very good team when we get a good player on the mound. Suddenly the offense clicks (which is not a problem anymore) and the bullpen looks solid (since they have to carry less innings). Tillman will probably join the club at some point.

We've heard that tonight was the 18th anniversary of Mussna's debut, and you know what? The comparison is not that far off. Both guys pitched in CA as college guys, were top draft picks, and fasttracked thru the minors. Both pitchers are more thinking man's pitchers with a 4 pitches that all rate above-average and can be thrown for strikes without one particular one overly dominant. That being said, even Moose needed to get demoted once to finally stay up for good. I'm not saying that needs to happen with Matusz. He was impressive, and deserves to pitch again.

Calm down guys, Kam has shown he deserves a place on this team. He'll be back and he'll stick if he pitches like he has. We have to shuffle spots around. Berken IS good, he's had some tough breaks but he's not losing confidence. Give him another shot, my bet is he pitches lights out.

Great job by Matusz, Ray and Izzy tonight among other. One of my favorite games of the year.

I like Berken, but I would like to see him back at AAA, till the September call ups and see him take what he's learned so far from his major league experience, and work on the things that aren't working for him.

Chris Waters, is by no means one of the most exciting prospects, but nonetheless, I want to see him start or come out of the pen so the O's can see if this guy can contribute in 2010 in the role Hendrickson is performing right now. Might as well find out all we can about guys projected to help this team in 2010, against big league teams.

Pete, any waiver deals being talked about or do you think what we see, is what we get for the rest of 09?

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Pete's reply: I think the chances of a waiver deal will go up if some contender needs an emergency infusion of run production. If Huff picks up the next few weeks, he could be moved in a situation like that. Otherwise, I think they keep him and offer him arbitration. If he accepts, they get him for one year while Snyder and Bell develop. If not, they get two draft picks.

Hi guys. I was at the Bowie game in Manchester tonight - Baysox 7, Fisher Cats (Blue Jays) 3. Very good start by Tanaki, although he seemed to run out of gas pretty dramatically after 4 IPs, giving up 6 of the 7 hits he allowed in innings 5,6, and 7. He got bailed out by a a couple of bad baserunning decisions by New Hampshire in the 6th, otherwise his totals (7 IP, 3 ER) wouldn't have been as impressive. But, he's a guy who could be number 6 on the debut winners list later this season. He's having a great year. 2B Miguel Abreu had a really nice game, going 3/5 with 3 RBI and a run scored, but until he learns how to take a walk (just 8 on the season!!!), he's little more than a fringe prospect. If he does learn to take more bad pitches, he's your bet to replace Roberts - and he'd be a good replacement. Josh Bell got taken out of the game in the 2nd inning - not sure why. I asked some of the players if they knew anything about it after the game but they either didn't know or didn't want to tell me. Anyone know if he got promoted, or did he tweak something?

I was at least as impressed as Jim Leyland. Maybe even more impressed. What I saw in Matusz is something I haven't seen much since Greg Maddux retired - a pitcher with 4 different pitches, each of which he controls well enough that he will throw any of them at any ball/strike count. That's called PITCHING. When a hitter can't predict what's coming, he isn't going to hit much.

Great job by Matusz last night. If I squint really hard I think I can just barely see a sliver of light at the end of our deep, dark tunnel.

I saw in Connely's article that Matusz's debut came 19 years to the day of Mussina's first game. Just for fun I looked up the box score form 1991.

Pretty similar to Matusz. One run, 4 hits, 4 walks, one 1-2-3 inning. But here is where it diverges. Moose pitched 7 2/3 innings and threw 124 pitches! In a stressful 1-0 game!

I think the coddling of young starting pitchers and the slavish adherence to the holy pitch count is one of the worst developments in base ball over the last 10 years.

A starter is babied in the minors, babied when he first reaches the majors and by the time he becomes a veteran, he has it ingrained in his head that his night is over when he hits 100 pitches. Once he has that mind set it becomes a mental wall that no amount of motivational coaching can break through.

You can count on one hand current pitchers who routinely push into the 120 pitch range. Halladay and Sabathia are the only ones that come to my mind.

As great as Johan Santana is, he has always been basically a 7 inning pitcher. You would think after all the times the bullpen has blown a lead in the 8th inning he would just tell the manager to stick it - it's his game.

Eric Bedard is another great example. You could visiblely see his body language change after he hit 100 pitches - like he was saying I've done my job, why am I still out here?

Sorry for the long-winded post but this issue just bugs the crap out of me. I mean Moose pitched for 18 years and never sniffed the DL until the end of his career.

Step one - get good draft choices - done! Step two - get them ready for MLB - apparently done! Step three - get respect from umpires - a long way to go.

Just like other major sports (see NBA), MLB umpires give borderline calls to established hitters and pitchers. Last night several inside corner strikes to righthanders by Matusz were called balls by the home plate homer! When our young guys start getting respect (and calls) the corner will be turned but that respect element requires a manager who will not accept unfair treatment from umpires. Umpires need to be put on notice they are being watched/monitored and that comes from the field manager. Trembley being a career minor league manager does not have any credibility with those guys and his placid personality will not help him. GET OUT THERE TREMBLEY AND STAND UP TO THESE GUYS. Kick some dirt, throw your cap and get dirty. Otherwise, as I have said before, watch the team you nurture become a future success for someone else (see Johnny Oates handoff to Davey Johnson for a history lesson).

What a magfificent moment for the team, which delivered the best defense that Matusz has ever had behind him. A glimpse into the future, and suddenly the future looks very bright. We're going to hit the ground running next Spring and there will be no looking back. God Bless Us Everyone.
It's over. The wait for respectability is over. We will compete next year.

What a magfificent moment for the team, which delivered the best defense that Matusz has ever had behind him. A glimpse into the future, and suddenly the future looks very bright. We're going to hit the ground running next Spring and there will be no looking back. God Bless Us Everyone.
It's over. The wait for respectability is over. We will compete next year.

I did not get to watch the game, only follow-it via MLB.com, so without video, maybe I am missing something, but I was not as impressed with Matusz last night as everybody else.

Don't get me wrong, he appears to be a gamer. I really questioned if he could get through five innings given he pitch count after the 2nd, but he dug in, and made the pitches he needed. That being said, his control did appear to be erratic.

Now this could be first game jitters, still learning to control all of his pitches, etc., but he also could have easily given up quite a few more runs.

I hope to see some better numbers in his next start...maybe 6-7 innings pitched, with a couple of more K's. Definitely can see some high potential with Matusz, but will wait to judge how MLB ready he is until he has at least 4 or 5 more starts.

Got to like the possibilities with these pitchers though...it is exciting.

Also, was really nice to see Ray pitching like he did in Spring Training. I was surprised he was allowed to go 2 2/3 innings, but he handled it very well.

I also agree with many of you -- what the heck does Kam have to do to stay on the ML roster. Does someone think he still needs to work on something in his delivery?

Pete, i will just say it's a pleasure for a change to see a guy who has a plan on how to actually pitch instead of just throw.It's also a reminder of why you draft a mature kid from a great college program instead of a high school kid that can get average players out with a good curveball and a fastball around 91. I hope i am wrong but the orioles made a huge mistake by drafting this years pick number 1 and last night is all you need to confirm it. Anybody that drafts high school kids number 1 has to have there head on backwards it just doesn't work.You can tell by looking at a kid and tell that he is a winner and Matusz is a winner.

Props to Kranitz for coming out early and telling him to use the fastball more. Turned out to be a lesson for Wieters as well, something that wasn't as obvious in the minors.

I picked up both Tillman and Matusz on my fbl team early in the season and I wasn't even an O's fan. It's pretty exciting to have 2 young pitchers of such high caliber making their major league debuts back to back on the same team. Awesome stuff. Go O's!

To the poster who questions Albert Pujols: Willie Mays, Henry Aaron, Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Frank Robinson, etc etc etc put those numbers up without roids...what makes you think Pujols can't? He's been doing it every year for almost a decade now....and has been tested since 2004, when testing became mandatory. Not only has he not tested positive, he is very rarely even mentioned as suspicious.

Dave - plus I remember reading somewhere that whoever leaked the original names from the Mitchell report confirmed that Pujols' name wasn't on the list. I don't know whether he did them or not but it's a shame that everyone is guilty by association now. I agree with the call to just come out publically with the whole list and finally put this to rest. Otherwise it's just going to trickle on for years.

~~It's also a reminder of why you draft a mature kid from a great college program instead of a high school kid that can get average players out with a good curveball and a fastball around 91. I hope i am wrong but the orioles made a huge mistake by drafting this years pick number 1 and last night is all you need to confirm it.~~

As long as they "get it" by the time you call them up to the majors, what difference does it make if they learn it in college or under the team's development in the minors? Silly point IMO. And that is without even pointing out that how Matusz pitched last night has nothing, nada, zippo to do with how Hobgood will turn out in 3 years or so.

Or "publicly" for the literate ones in the crowd. :)

Blancione,

I am right there with you, I would much rather have seen the Os draft a seasoned college grad especially with such a high pick. History has proven that college players progress through the minor league system at a significantly faster rate than do high school kids. Like you said, Matusz epitomizes this trend.

That said, I think there is some hidden value to be found in drafting high school players that has been masked by recent trends of baseball execs. Hobgood, even though he still sports braces, has an incredibly high ceiling. In a market that has shifted away from drafting “5 tool players” to surefire studs that have proven their worth by posting various sabermetrics “buzz-stats” (OBP, OPS, etc…), raw talent seems to have been overlooked. In other words, Baseball’s new market inefficiency seems to lie in unproven, raw, young players with high ceilings. Scouts are scared off by such high risk investments. To use a cliché, these young guys are a high-risk, high-reward type of outlay.

While I probably would have gone a very different direction had I been responsible for making the O’s first round selection this past draft, it is a distinct possibility that Hobgood could turn out to have been an absolute steal at the 5-spot in 2009. As Gatorade’s National Baseball Player of the Year, he could very well have gone on to have a stellar college career and 2 years down the road he may have been the next Strasburg. Suddenly drafting him 5th would seem miraculous.

All I’m saying is that I love what Andy MacPhail has done so far and I’m not going to second guess him now. With an excess of plus arms budding in our farm system, we don’t necessarily need a fast rising prospect that can have an immediate impact on our major league club. 4 years from now, after Tillman, Hernandez, Matusz, and Bergesen have worked to solidify an outstanding major league rotation (knock on wood), I would LOVE to have another ace emerging from our minor league system. Yes, it will certainly take Hobgood a significantly longer period of time than it took Matusz to make his major league debut, but the sky is the limit for this kid. He has the potential to be nasty, and I’m happy to take a chance on him. Hope I changed your mind a little.

"It's also a reminder of why you draft a mature kid from a great college program instead of a high school kid that can get average players out with a good curveball and a fastball around 91."

Umm. USD is hardly a "great college program". You find great college programs in Arizona, or Florida, or even recently at SDSU, but not USD. They may be up-and-coming, but they are by no means established, with a long history of producing CWS-contending teams and professional caliber players.

Matusz is the first legitimate pro-quality player out of that school, as far as I can remember. Maybe they'll produce more, as the program starts to establish a reputation. But it will be a few years before we'll know for sure.

If not for two great plays by Izturis this would be a completely different blog. Congrats to Matusz, Izturis, Markakis, etc for winning a baseball game.

Shame on Trembley for completely overhyping the performance afterward. He's way more cheerleader than manager. Its embarrassing.

Blancione,

Your idea about drafting college kids might have some merit, perhaps. However for every college prospect you mention I can find you a kid that didn't go to college who is just as good or better. Look at Felix Hernandez for example.

Let"s wait and see. High era's, low batting averages and a weak farm system does not make a winner. So give AM maybe 3 or 4 more years to build

To doc in baltimore,

FYI, Oriole's are 4th in the league in batting average!

http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/team/_/sort/avg/order/true

We have been given the 'he has potential' argument so many times I think I am gonna vomit. Pardon the over decriptive response, but c'mon! It was 5 innings. Sure he looked good against....um...the Tigers for 5 innings. Lets not get carried away with yet another 'rookie' prospect that has not proven anything. Sorry for the hardened feelings toward the O's, but I tend to remember days when there did not SUCK, and so often. Yes...far memories...but yet it did happen once upon a time. How long have we been 're-building' under Angelos? It's hard to entice talent when you stink so bad. So lets continue patting ourselves on the back everytime pitcher can go 5 innings. Is this MLB? Ugh...this is tiring. My bandwagon has been parked so long it is collecting dust. Maybe the Orioles should demote themselves (along with some others) to the minors. I believe we should reduce the amount of teams in the MLB. I think the talent is too diluted.

Matusz looked great.. So when will he become a yank or Sock??!

I have to give the O's credit for these kids and last nights W, however, lets not get crazy though our record is still a joke. I give AM an "A" on his drafts but an "F" on off-season pickups. I won’t think positive until I see the front offices ability to land 1 veteran pitcher and to address other season needs. Also as some have pointed out it would be nice to be able to keep these kids once they get better and not have to get rid of them to a contender.

TheReaper,

90% of what you just said doesn't even make sense:

A) I'm not sure why you put the word rookie in quotes...he's definitely a rookie

B) What does "I tend to remember days when there did not SUCK" mean?

C) "It's hard to entice talent when you stink so bad" - part of the beauty of "rebuilding" is that you do most of it from within. In other words, you draft promising young players and let them develop in your minor league system. Once said prospects reach the big leagues and start performing, high profile free agents will be more inclined to sign contracts with us

D) "How long have we been 're-building' under Angelos?" The more pertinent question to ask is, "How long have we been rebuilding under MacPhail?" (yes, rebuild is one word) MacPhail came in June of 2007 and the O's have made monumental strides since his arrival.

E) My bandwagon has been parked so long it is collecting dust - If you're such a fair weather fan then why even bother whining and expressing your uniformed opinion?

F) "Maybe the Orioles should demote themselves (along with some others) to the minors" - that makes lots of sense...

Onceawarrior, Izturis making those great plays is why the Orioles signed him. They were difference makers, to be sure, but in no way detract from Matusz' performance who really showed what he was made of in the fifth.

Onceawarrior, Izturis making those great plays is why the Orioles signed him. They were difference makers, to be sure, but in no way detract from Matusz' performance who really showed what he was made of in the fifth.

" am right there with you, I would much rather have seen the Os draft a seasoned college grad especially with such a high pick. History has proven that college players progress through the minor league system at a significantly faster rate than do high school kids."

Really your kidding. You mean the 22 year old kids progress physically and mentally to an MLB level faster than the 18 year old kids? Shocking statistic....absolutely shocking. In other news the sky is blue and water flows downhill.

This is what I saw out of Matusz last night that I really liked.

1. 18 of 24 batters were first pitch strikes. I realize he walked a couple but it wasn't due to lack of control, it was from nibbling too much. He started ahead.

2. Get hitters off balance. Tigers announcers talked all game about how well he mixed his stuff. Threw offspeed pitches in fastball counts and showed good command of his changeup, slider, and fastball.

3. He had a plan. This may haev been partly Wieters and partly him but he went out with an idea of what he was going to do. Early in the game he used his changeup and slider often whenever he got in trouble. As the Tigers started to adjust he went back to his fastball to keep them off balance.

4. He pitched when it counted and didn't get flustered. 5th inning was the best example with 2nd and 3rd and only 1 out. The way he attacked the next two hitters was really impressive.

5. His changeup. This is one of the most devastating pitches in baseball right now, especially if you throw mid 90's heat. All the greats have it. Santana, Lincecum, Hamels all use it as a great out pitch. Matusz threw some awesome changeups and it looked like it had the potential to be a great out pitch. It's pretty rare to find a 22 year old with only 19 professional starts that has that kind of feel for his changeup already.

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Pete's reply: He actually has two completely different changeups.

I have two topics to put here . First , lets give congrats to Matusz , he has done marvelous IN HIS FIRST ML START . No need to nitpick on his flaws , he is far far from FINISHED PRODUCT . You can see his confidence as innings went on.

Secondly , why are some of you think Izturis is supposed hit MORE? Andy signed him for his DEFENSE . Didnt you see all those plays he made at SS? Would you rather O's go back to Hernandez , Fahey , Cintron and three others ( forgot their names) ???
Izturis is career .260 hitter with no power , minimal run producer . This year he is hitting around his career averages .
IMO , the fact that Huff and Mora are having SUB-PAR batting stats this year , it makes some fans to look at Izturis like he is supposed to be Jeter , Tejada , etc.
If you really want blame hitting and run production on someone , I suggest you start with Huff and Mora first .

"It's pretty rare to find a 22 year old with only 19 professional starts that has that kind of feel for his changeup already"

Really? You're (not your...) kidding! You mean a 22 year old with only 19 professional starts usually doesn't have that kind of feel for his changeup already? Absolutely shocking! In other news the sky is blue and water flows downhill.

Easy there killer. I was setting up the argument I made below. Great insight though, I was under the impression that Major League Baseball had a surplus of nasty 22 year olds with "that kind of feel for [their] changeups already"

To Jones:

While the Orioles are 4th in MLB in batting average (and 3rd in the AL), their other batting numbers are not as impressive.

I'll just stick to AL numbers (since the NL doesn't have a DH). Of the 14 AL teams, the Orioles rank:

Avg. 3rd,
SLG 10th,
OBP 7th (tie),
OPS 10th,
Runs 10th,
HRs 11th.

So aside from batting average, our other offensive numbers are mostly on the lower end of the scale.

As for pitching (out of the 14 AL teams):

ERA 13th,
Avg. against 14th,
BBs allowed 5th fewest.

Our pitching stats are of less concern to me, in that we have had a revolving-door rotation which is finally taking promising shape, although the BBs allowed ranking was a pleasant surprise (call it the Daniel Cabrera Effect).

I do have concern about the batting rankings, in that our offensive lineup has been more established than our pitching staff this season.

Maybe these numbers have suffered from the recent power drain experienced by some of our veterans, but it does point out the Orioles' ultimate need for more power, especially as our young pitching staff goes through its growing pains.

AM does deserve a lot of credit for his early success at rebuilding the O's. I still can hardly believe he got 10 players in return for Bedard & Tejada, and most of them are going to be contributors to the rebuilt O's teams of the next 2-10 years.

Izturis is another and overlooked example of AM's genius. He is an OUTSTANDING fielder, something essential for a team growing its young pitching staff.

Championships are rarely built around shortstops and 2nd basemen who are big hitters (apologies to the Big Red Machine of the '70s). Championships are won by teams with slick-fielding SS & 2B who can hit at least .250, plus a solid defensive catcher and a slick-fielding CF who also hit at least .250. It's the corner infielders and corner outfielders who are supposed to hit for high average with power (and the DH in the AL).

The O's are blessed with a 5-tool centerfielder. That's a bonus. Their catcher for the next decade is here and exceeds the prescription. They have the required slick-fielding SS and 2B who hit at or above the required .250. They have the hard-hitting corner outfielders. The pitching staff is coming on strong.

Just rebuild with the power and good-average hitters at the corner infield positions and groom somebody to replace Roberts in a few years and the pieces are all in place.

I've been as hard on the O's (who have been equally hard on my hopes & dreams) as anyone, but I see some ever-brightening light at the end of the tunnel.

I almost hate to jinx the O's by saying this, but I see good days coming!

Really Allan? Bitter much? I stated several reasons why I was impressed with Matusz that you wouldn't have been able to see if you didn't get to watch the game. This was in response to several posters who didn't get to watch the game and mentioned the lack of control and low number of innings. That is in no way shape or form related to your pointless fact stating about speed to the majors that in reality has zero to do with evaluating talent and who you should draft. Refusing to draft high school players based purely on age is moronic. Some of the best picks of recent history (like King Felix for example) have been high schoolers and to exclude them just because of age makes no sense.

First of all, I'm not Allan. The name is stated below the post hot shot. Second of all, what you just said is essentially exactly what I wrote in my post...

Third, the speed at which a prospect rises through the minors is

A) directly correlated to evaluating talent, as it applies to how developed a certain player already is, and

B) has a ton of value in the draft - you're an idiot and I'm sure I speak for all educated O's fans when I say I'm happy you're not running our organization

I know you Oriole fans have been maniac depressive lately, but don't worry in a few years Matusz will probably be playing for the Yankees and Tillman will probably be a Met. Cheers! ;-)

I am an old timer living in Florida and can remember the very first Oriole game. There were many tough times before the 1960 crop of new players. It reminds me so much of the situation now.
Think just a moment, what team would you rather be rooting for? The Yankees? Red Sox? Teams that just buy what they want. The Brewers? The Mariners? Please!
Enjoy the ups and downs of the next few seasons. Should be a blast.

im on a $50 plan with optus and i want to buy an iphone of ebay but would i have to get another sim card? And how much does it cost to go on the internet on an iphone?

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About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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