Who will be the Orioles' ace in 2011?
Sorry the bar was dark for a weekday.
Something about a rat and a wire and a “potential fire hazard.”
To old business first: We didn’t have an on-the-nose prediction of Brian Matusz’s debut line Tuesday, which was 5 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 Ks and a win.
But we had some close ones. Free drink chips to Alex D, Rob K, Jason and Matt.
And a free bar tab for the day goes to Dave who predicted 5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BBs, 4 Ks and a win.
He was off by a walk, a strikeout and two runs. That’s pretty good.
I had the pleasure of covering Matusz’s debut in Detroit (and really all of the debuts this year) and my take is basically what Dave Trembley was screaming from the rooftops in the Motor City on Tuesday night.
Matusz is the real deal. He has four solid pitches that he can throw for strikes. And he’ll throw any one of them in any count.
He’s also an extremely impressive guy off the mound. He’s very mature and polished in interviews and has a genuine friendliness about him.
In spring training, while getting our first real looks at the young pitchers, O’s beat writer Jeff Zrebiec and I knocked around which one would eventually emerge as the best. After some deliberation, Jeff said Matusz and I said Chris Tillman.
One scout I know said it would be Jake Arrieta. Brad Bergesen and David Hernandez weren’t in the conversation. And Jason Berken wasn’t even at camp.
Now, we’ve seen all but Arrieta pitch in the big leagues. I am sticking with my Tillman prediction, because he is the youngest, has pitched the most at Triple-A and because if he can get some more movement on, and a little better command of, his fastball, he is going to be downright nasty. His curveball and changeup are already plus pitches.
But it’s hard to go against Zrebiec’s gut call after seeing Matusz in Detroit.
I want to know your thoughts. But I am putting a specific timeline on it. Forget about now and even next year. Who will be the club’s best pitcher starting in 2011?
Daily Think Special: Who will be the Orioles’ ace in 2011?