Right now, despite the Orioles doing relatively well so far this season, it is been apparent that there’s been an issue with the starting pitching outside of Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen.
On Tuesday night, southpaw Brian Matusz struggled on the mound again in a loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He gave up five runs in five innings, plus gave up a career-high thirteen hits.
Matusz’s season has been filled with some ups and downs; however, we as fans have to start wondering if the bright young pitcher we saw at the end of an remarkable 2010 campaign will ever show up again?
At the end of that 2010 season, he was nothing short of phenomenal, winning seven games in the final two months and pitching to 2.18 ERA in the last two months. Well, we all know what happened to Matusz in 2011 and the results of his incredibly disastrous season – one of the worst ever for a starting pitcher in baseball history.
As the calendar turned to 2012, things looked better for Matusz. He made the team out of Spring Training and looked terrific at stretches during the first seventy-or-so-games of this season. Sadly, he has once again been terribly inconsistent on the mound and has lost four straight games. According to the Baltimore Sun, the southpaw in those four games has an ERA of 8.31, allowed 16 runs on 33 hits in a bit over 17 innings.
Then again, Matusz had an incredible start against the Tampa Bay Rays on June 3rd. He only gave up a run in seven-plus innings pitched in that outing.
At this point, I’m wondering this: is the Brian Matusz we’ve seen over the past two seasons who he is? Or is he still trying to find his way?
I still think Matusz is undoubtedly part of the future with the organization, but you have to wonder – has he regressed as well? Are his issues right now mechanical, mental, or is this the best pitcher Matusz can be?
Since Matusz has come back to the majors in mid-2011, the results have been shaky – at best.
Right now, his velocity seems to be back up – from the mid-to-high 80’s then, to the low 90’s now. Now, it seems that he cannot seem his locate his pitches as they are left up in the zone, and hitters seem to know what coming, plus just plain hit Matusz is hard.
Matusz's margin for error was thin to begin with considering, but now what’s his immediate future with the Orioles?
Could Matusz be sent to the minors again, or will he given a chance to work through his issues? With Zach Britton on the mend and working on a comeback to the majors in Norfolk, in addition to Chris Tillman pitching well there too and the emergence of Miguel Gonzalez, Matusz may be living on borrowed time in the Baltimore rotation if he does not improve – and soon.
Obviously despite his struggles the past few seasons, Matusz is an immensely talented pitcher.
He just needs his find a way to succeed on the mound again and help the Orioles perhaps clinch a playoff spot for the first time since 1997.