Results tagged ‘ Brian Matusz ’

Matusz looks to avoid sweep

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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: 

MLB.com: 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. 
When
I get in the
groove, I just roll with it, I keep it going. Right now I feel like I’
m in
it.

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.
Matt
[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.

Matusz ready to get going

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Brian Matusz threw around 55
pitches in his final spring tune up, tossing four innings of scoreless baseball
against the New York Mets, and was pleased with how he progressed in this year’s
camp.

“Not even looking at numbers, but
just how I progressed and I was able to get all four pitches going. It was
great for me in keeping the walks down,” said Matusz, who issued three walks in
24 1/3 spring innings.

“That’s what I wanted. I wanted to
come out and throw strikes, get ahead of guys and get my work in. I feel like I
progressed well and I’m ready to get started for the year.”

Matusz lowered his ERA to a final
mark of 2.59 and will open the regular season on Thursday against the Tampa Bay
Rays. The 23-year-old lefty will be on his first Opening Day roster and has already been picked by several pundits as a leading candidate for Rookie of the Year. He will definitely be fun to watch.

Matusz sails through intrasquad outing

Brian Matusz
was pleased with his performance earlier this afternoon, saying he accomplished
everything he wanted in the intrasquad game. The Minor League game was rained
out so the Orioles made some tweaks to try to get a few of the scheduled
pitchers on track.

Matusz said he felt excellent,
particularly toward the end of his outing, noting his arm strength and the fact
that he only threw “one bad pitch” of the 92 pitches he tossed. That pitch was one that Billy Rowell sent out for a homer. He totaled seven innings, although they added some extra outs to help Matusz get his pitch count up.

Matusz didn’t pitch in the Orioles scheduled game Monday night against the Yankees because the Orioles wanted to avoid having their AL East foes see Matusz this late in the spring. The plan right now is for Matusz to make his final Spring
Training outing on April 3
against the New York Mets.

In five official spring starts, Matusz has allowed seven earned runs over 20 1/3 innings, pitching his way to a 3.10 ERA.  The 23-year-old lefty has struck out 19 and walked just three.

Matusz threw to Craig Tatum, which is worth noting because the backup catcher competition is much closer than anyone anticipated. Tatum and Chad Moeller are both being considered behind Matt Wieters, with the Orioles liking Moeller’s veteran mentoring ability and Tatum’s throwing arm.

Matusz said he and Tatum were on the same page Monday afternoon, noting that Tatum was “really communicating well” and encouraging him to throw his curveball more frequently to left-handed hitters.

The Matusz move & O's pitching news

A few more notes from Saturday’s pregame session with
manager Dave Trembley:

*Brian Matusz will pitch in a Minor League game on Monday,
with Alfredo Simon taking his spot against the Yankees. No real surprise here,
since the Orioles have tried to avoid running their starters out against
divisional foes. Kevin Millwood kicked off the Minors starts on Saturday and
the reasoning behind Jeremy Guthrie still throwing against the Blue Jays Sunday
is that he’s been in the AL East for a while now, so trying to “hide” Guthrie
isn’t really an option at this point.

*Trembley downplayed how important this start is Saturday for David
Hernandez.
While I blogged yesterday about the 5th rotation spot
basically being Tillman’s
, a strong showing by Hernandez against Boston’s regulars
would add some intrigue to the race. Especially given Tillman’s subpar outing
on Friday night, which included four walks.

*The backup catch job won’t be just handed to Chad Moeller.

“You’ll see [Craig] Tatum get a start, you’ll see Moeller
get a start,” Trembley said.  “You’ll see
that competition going down to the end, I believe.”

The Orioles like Tatum’s throwing arm, but Moeller carries
experience having been in the league -and particularly the AL East – for a
while. His locker is right next to Matt Wieters, which Andy MacPhail told me
earlier this spring is no coincidence. Much like Millwood, Moeller is expected
to help mentor and bring along the O’s promising young talent.

*Since snapping an 0-for-22 skid on Sunday, Nolan Reimold
has hit in four straight games. “Ty Cobb watch out,” Reimold joked of his
mini-streak.

In all seriousness, Reimold does appear to be running better
and Trembley said he talked to Nolan and told him he has to start showing that
he can run do certain things, such as play back-to-back games, steal a base,
etc. While he’s still not 100 percent, the Orioles can’t afford to baby him -and
essentially squander a roster spot – once the season starts.

Matusz Masterful

Brian Matusz just exited the Phillies-Orioles game with another superb performance. The 23-year-old lefty held the Phillies (who had most of their regular starters in) to no hits over 5 1/3 innings, striking out six and walking two. Those were his first two walks of the spring.

In four Grapefruit League starts, Matusz has a 2.51 ERA and has 18 Ks in 14 1/3 innings (against those two walks from tonight.) He pitched around Josh Bell’s error top open the fifth and retired 12 of the last 13 batters he faced. Matusz threw 44 of his 70 pitches for strikes.

If you’re the Phillies, you’ve seen enough from Matusz. He’s held them to a run on three hits over 10 1/3 innings.

Matusz goes the distance

Brian Matusz just became the first Orioles starter to
make it through four innings. Actually, Matusz went five and said he was a
little surprised when pitching coach Rick Kranitz told him he was going back
out there for the fifth.

“I was like, ‘Oh my pitch count must be pretty low’,” Matusz said.

At that point, he had only throw 43 pitches (32 for strikes) and after a
14-pitch fifth in which he retired the Phillies in order, Matusz was done for
the day.

Sunday’s start was the latest in what has been an impressive spring campaign
for Matusz. He has 12 strikeouts in his first nine innings of work and hasn’t
walked a batter.

“If I can keep getting ahead of hitters and doing that I can
go deep in the games, and that’s what’s really important,” he said. “I didn’t
have any three-ball counts today.”

He didn’t have very many two-ball counts either, opening the
first inning by throwing seven of his 11 pitches for strikes.  Matusz has taken pride in his control this
spring and was particularly pleased given that Sunday’s outing was against the
defending National Champion Phillies squad.

“It means I’m really attacking the zone,” Matusz said of his
low pitch count. “It’s tough to do with a tough lineup like that, so I’m just
really happy about that.”

The young lefty admitted he started to get amped up during
his warm-ups when the Phillies starting lineup, which featured nearly all of
their regular players was announced.

“I was excited,” Matusz said. “At times in the game I was
overthrowing a little bit, but at the same time I was able to relax and keep my
composure.”

Jimmy Rollins touched him for two hits; with Chase Utley’s RBI
single in the top of the fourth the only pitch Matusz regretted throwing.

“[My slider] just wasn’t there in key situations when I needed
it,” Matusz said. “Especially with Utley up with one out with a guy on third, I
got ahead 0-2 and really wanted to buy a slider down and away.”

Instead Utley found a hole for the Phillies only run off
Matusz and only score until reliever Jim Johnson allowed two runs in the
seventh.

“That was just one pitch I’m really upset about and wish I could
have back,” Matusz said. “But everything else was great.”

Manager Dave Trembley said Matusz’s outing should help set the tone for the other four starters.

“That’s what the good ones do, they set the
tone, and he did today,” Trembley said “In order for us to be successful we are going to have
to good starting pitching. We are going to have to have it on a consistent
basis.”

More pregame tidbits

 

We’re about 30 minutes away from first pitch at George M. Steinbrenner Field, and it’s one of the nicest days of Spring Training so far. The Yankees also have a split-squad game, with Detroit, so a lot of the regulars aren’t here. The Orioles, on the other hand, have a good group of regulars, including starter Jeremy Guthrie.

Manager Dave Trembley said pregame that Guthrie is scheduled to go four innings in his third spring start. If he does, he will be the first Os arm this spring to make it out of the third inning.

The Phillies pitchers for Sunday’s game in Sarasota are as follows: RHP
Kyle Kendrick, RHP Andrew Carpenter, LHP Sergio Escalona. Brian Matusz will
start that game with the rest of the arms in yesterday’s rainout blog. Yesterday’s blog post also has more info on the “B” squad game being played at Pirate City.

 The Orioles might play an intrasquad game on Tuesday in Sarasota in an effort to get some more arms to throw. The team’s regularly scheduled contest is against the Twins in Fort Myers.

With Brian Roberts still sidelined , Ty Wiggington got a start at second base on Saturday afternoon. Trembley said there will be a bunch of mixing and matching to come among some of the position players, and to not read to into it.  Robert Andino would have played at third base some if yesterday’s game hadn’t been rained out and Trembley said he was also looking to get Andino some outfield work. Luke Scott’s been bounced around from left field to first base and Lou Montanez is in left field for today’s game.

“It’s the time in camp to start moving guys around,” Trembley said.

Matusz happy with second outing

For the second straight outing, Orioles starter Brian Matusz really liked the way he pitched.

After surrendering a leadoff double and allowing a pair of runs courtesy of an RBI single by Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel’s run-scoring double, Matusz retired seven straight batters en route to another solid spring start.

“I felt real good,” Matusz said of the 46-pitch effort.”My fastball in and out was excellent today. I threw some effective change ups. I felt comfortable out there.”

After laboring through a 26-pitch first, Matusz made quick work of the Twins hitters. He struck out Luke Hughes on four pitches and got a pair of quick infield outs to make ensure he would go to the hill in the third. Matusz struck out Ben Revere -who doubled off him in his first at-bat — and sent Punto down looking to end his afternoon.

“I was really hitting the fastball down and in really well on righties, and I was happy about that,” Matusz said. “And I threw some good two-seamers. I felt like I had a lot of action on my two-seamer today, which was very effective for me.”

Matusz said the pitch Revere doubled off of was a good pitch, and only really regretted the ball that Cuddyer hit, which was a missed location.

Despite an impressive four-pitch repertoire, Matusz used his first outing on Thursday in Port Charlotte to zero in on fastball command.  He had the same plan on Monday, but this time he mixed in all his offspeed, including his curveball.

“I don’t know about the percentages, but I feel I’ve thrown the fastball for the majority of my pitches,” Matusz said. “I’m still trying to throw all three of my off-speed pitches, using them at the right times and trying not to overdo it. That’s pretty much my main focus, just to get comfortable out there, get my work in, attack the zone with all the pitches. I felt like I threw a lot of strikes today.”

With four strikeouts on Thursday, Matusz has fanned 10 batters in his first four Spring Training innings. And more importantly to Matusz, he hasn’t walked a batter.

“One thing I’m really happy about, is when I get to a 3-2 count, I’ve been able to really pound the zone and throw strikes,” he said. “And not giving anyone any free passes is big.”

Just 23, Matusz is projected to be part of an O’s rotation that includes Kevin Millwood, Jeremy Guthrie, Chris Tillman and Brad Bergesen.

The fourth overall pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, Matusz dominated through two levels of the Minors last year, going a combined 11-2 with a 1.91 ERA. After a few bumpy starts following his inaugural callup in August, Matusz settled in, going 4-0 with a 3.73 ERA over his last five outings. 

Twins-Orioles Wrap

The Recap:
Here’s the game story from today’s 5-0 loss to the Twins.
Brian Matusz was happy with his outing,as was closer Mike Gonzalez.
Chris Tillman gets the ball Tuesday against the Rays, while Brad Bergesen makes his debut on Wednesday.

Follow along here as Brian Matusz faces off with Kevin Slowey in sunny Sarasota, where it’s 66 degrees…

Updated 1:21: Matusz surrendered a leadoff double to Ben Revere but got Nick Punto looking for the game’s first out. Michael Cuddyer’s centerfield single put the Twins on the board and Jason Kubel doubled him in for a quick pair of runs. Matusz sent Brendan Harris down on three straight strikes and got Jacque Jones swinging. 26 pitches, 17 for strikes.

Updated 1:35: 10 pitch inning for Matusz, a K, and two infield ground balls. Nicely done.

Updated 1:41: Minus a leadoff single from Felix Pie, the Orioles haven’t done anything again Twins starter Kevin Slowey. Matusz on to open the third, Twins up 2-0.

Updated 1:48:
That’s it for Matusz. He opened the third with two strikeouts and came out after throwing 46 pitches. After allowing the first-inning hit to Kubel, he retired seven straight. Nice rebound.

Updated 3:02: Mike Gonzalez
pitched around a walk, a double and a single, thanks to a nice cut off throw at the plate by first baseman Luke Scott. Gonzalez struck out Chris Parmelee to end the inning. Jim Johnson gave up a run in the fifth and Koji pitched a scoreless sixth.

Updated 3:32: While I was down getting Matusz and Gonzo, the Twins scored another pair of runs, it’s 5-0 going into the bottom of the ninth.

Game 2 Wrap: Rays 6, Orioles 5

Just a few notes as I look out onto the now-empty Charlotte Sports Park…

*The game story is up here, if you missed my updates on the blog and Twitter.

*The Orioles out-hit the Rays, 9-6 and got a strong showing from Brian Matusz.

*Felix Pie left the game early, but is still scheduled to play Saturday in Lakeland.

On Deck: Chris Tillman will pitch Friday’s night game with the Pirates coming to town. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m. 

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