A week removed from an injury-shortened start against Toronto that
saw him exit after the first inning, Brian Matusz didn’t record an out on
Monday until 22 pitches into his outing, after Boston had used a leadoff
walk and a pair of singles to tie the game at 1. But following that
laborious frame, Matusz retired 14 of 16, allowing only a two-out double
to Martinez followed by an intentional walk to Adrian Beltre.
Matusz exited after five innings of one-run baseball, striking out four
and issuing three walks in the 101-pitch outing. Monday’s outing lowered
his ERA to 2.57 over his last nine outings and improved him to a career
2.45 mark in five starts against Boston. He has allowed eight earned runs over 29 1/3 innings against the Red Sox, which is the lowest mark of any Major League pitcher (minimum of 25 IP) this year.
If you look closer, his recent surge is even more impressive. Matusz has pitched to a 1.91 ERA over his last six starts and has allowed three earned runs or less in each of those. He also lowered his career ERA at Fenway Park to 2.00, which is the lowest by an opponent (minimum 15 innings) at Fenway this year.
When asked if that success –and his solid stats against the Yankees — are perhaps what he will reflect on most fondly when mulling over his rookie season, the 23-year-old responded absolutely.
“You want to have the most success against teams in your own division,” Matusz said. “I’ve had good success against the Yankees and Red Sox this year. So, sure that’s really a high point of the season. I’m just happy to see things turn around a little bit. I went through a streak where I was really struggling, but I’m starting to really throw the ball a lot better.”