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August 17, 2011

O's: Why Matusz still matters

If you just look at the pitching line, it's hard to get too excited about Brian Matusz's return engagement on Tuesday night in Oakland. He gave up six runs on eight hits and took another loss, which may seem consistent with what he was doing when he was sent back to the minor leagues.

Obviously, time will tell, but there were signs of improvement last night. He threw more than 100 pitches, went fairly deep into the game and seemed to have pretty good command of his fastball. His breaking stuff was crisp for much of the evening, though he got hurt deep on a couple of occasions when he missed with his changeup.

He was a little unlucky, too. Several of those eight hits were soft flies that barely cleared the infield.

His velocity is up modestly. There were some 91-mph fastballs, according to the radar reading that posts in the MASN scorebox. That's a step forward. He still has a couple miles to go to get back to where he was at his best, but the progress is the thing. He clearly has gotten stronger during his minor league exile.

Does that mean he'll come back next spring throwing 94 and pitching the way he did the final two months of 2010? That's a lot to ask, but Tuesday night's performance did not dash the hope that he find himself and claim a regular place in the 2012 rotation.

The Orioles need a lot of good things to happen for this pitching staff to rise from the ashes of the past few months. Getting Matusz back to where he once belonged would be a big step in that direction.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 11:00 AM | | Comments (11)
Categories: Just baseball


I'm sure I'll sound uber-homer with this, but I would hope that he can come back in the spring closer to 93/94 - and I don't see why he can't.

The kid was always in good shape, but I have heard several sources talk about Matusz being too scrawny to last in the league - and an acknowledgement that his injuries made that clear to Matusz himself.

If he bulks up (it wouldn't take a Dylan Bundy series of workouts to put on 15 pounds of muscle), he could come back throwing hard and more prepared for the long haul in the league.

So now Matusz is struggling...Britton started well but faded...Arrieta is injured, Tillman has been meh...all good prospects who are struggling. Meanwhile, look at David Hernandez who has done well with Texas. I am really starting to think this organization is just doomed and needs to be blown up. You can't blame DNA but there seems to be a pervasive loser mentality here, and how to you unteach that? This is so depressing.

The real question is how did Matusz fall apart in the first place? Was it the mechanical changes that Mark Conner wanted? Because Tillman's mechanics are/were messed up too. Is there a pattern here? Whatever the reason, the young pitchers falling apart have cost the Orioles another year of frustration. At least. The same mistakes cannot happen again in 2012.

If at all possible, I think the Orioles should try and sign as many quality veteran starters as possible this offseason; which in their world would be one or zero. I think it makes sense to sign some starters not named (Henderickson, Eaton etc). The young guys can get their $h!+ together in AAA, possibly the vet or vets can pitch well and maybe you could flip them for a prospect or two. Then if the young guys earn a spot then you let them pitch.
With exception of Arrieta, these young guys have been given spots in the rotation and not earned them. I am tired of these young guys getting shots just because. Make some of these guys work in the bullpen or something. Bergensen has struggled but I have more faith in him then Matusz.
I have heard it over and over again "there is competition between all the young arms, they feed off of each other". Blah blah blah. While they are all feeding off of each other they must all be eating crap because that's all they have produced.
I feel some of these guys (Matusz) fed too much into their own hype. I heard Matusz was out of shape since spring training. Get in shape! Damn you’re a professional athlete, is that too much to ask? Matusz is starting to piss me off.
Bottom line make these guys earn their spot and teach them some humility. You can’t do that by making them a default starter. I've got no beef with Bergensen or Arrieta. I believe they should have left Matusz in AAA. What did he do spare the bullpen? Okay. Either way the results could have only been better because they ended up losing anyway.

8 hits and 3 walks. Ouch.
Matusz still matters but this team looks to have even more holes going into next year than it did this year.
What's Pat Gillick's phone number?

Matusz pitched better than the numbers reflected. He should have escaped down 4-3. His breaking ball was effective. He succumbed to a few bloops.

Matusz looked like he had gained some strength in his body.

Things are looking up for him.

I know velocity isn't everything in pitching but the Red's Cueto (sp?) was hitting 95 mph in the 8th inning on his 100 & 101 pitches last night against the Nats.

Hey I'm all for Matusz bouncing back and I guess we have to take whatever postives there were from his last outing.
Personally, I think this guy needs to beef up and get on some kind of fitness program as he is built like a toothpick and a strong gust of wind would probably knock him off the mound!
The same goes for Markakis and others could probably use some toning up. It's not going to guarentee as a playoff berth but it can't hurt(as would some solid fundamental training-have you ever seen a team make so many mental mistakes?)

Matusz still might be a great pitcher. But we need a real #1. Trade Nick Markakis for a #1 starter. Maybe someone on the Braves? Giants?

This is all rubbish. Just hire a really good pitching coach. Orel Hershiser, Jamie Moyer, anyone named Maddux, or Dave Duncan would be good starting points. And get rid of Mike Gonzalez and Gregg- all they've done is to take Angelos's money!

The consistent issues with the starters is telling. We need a new pitching coach. Many of our players look scrawny. This includes the starting pitchers, Markakis, and Reimold. We need to hire a better conditioning coach to give these guys more strength to complement their natal abilities.

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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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