Matusz looks to avoid sweep


After last night’s second straight game
that got away
(I wonder, will this be a telling part of the O’s improvement
? Narrowly losing games?) Brian Matusz takes the hill.

It should be an interesting game as the Orioles were without
Felix Pie
and the use
of Jim Johnson
last night. Will that be the case again today, as the O’s
try to avoid a season-opening sweep?

The game preview is here,
but I’ve got some extra quotes from Matusz that didn’t make it in the piece.
Here they are, for your enjoyment: How has
your solid spring helped you going into Friday’s start?

Matusz: In spring
I was able to work on a lot of different things, to get all my pitchers
working, and use them all a lot in different games. For me its all about getting in a good groove, my
last few starts of spring I was in that groove.  It’s
all about finding that
consistent windup, that good consistent windup. 
I get in the
groove, I just roll with it, I keep it going. Right now I feel like I’
m in

My last bullpen
session the other day was really good, I was throwing everything just right
where I wanted, and [Friday I’m] just going to continue following that groove
and stay
with it. It‘s going
to be tough with the nerves, I’m going to be really nervous and anxious tomorrow,
but for me it’s just a matter of relaxing and treating it like any other game.
[Wieters] and I are on the same page, we‘ve
been talking a lot th
e last few days. So, I‘m excited to get things going.

*When I asked Matusz
to evaluate how he’s grown this past year, he said it’s not so much that he got
better physically, but mentally. While his four quality pitches have always been
there, Matusz noted how important it was last year to get a taste of the big
leagues and what it’s all about.

*It always
impresses me how much information Matusz has readily available. When I asked
him about facing the Rays -one of the few teams he has pitched against before –
he talked about his start at Tropicana Field yesterday with such detail you’d
think it had happened yesterday.  He said
facing Tampa Bay’s hitters before has obviouisly helped with familiarity, and
he still remember the four runs he gave up to the Rays in last season’s win.

“I thought I
pitched well besides that three-run homer to [Ben] Zobrist,” Matusz said. He
allowed four runs total in 5 1/3 innings in that start. He will be opposed by
Rays right-hander Jeff Niemann.

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