Monday, August 3, 2009

Matusz to start tomorrow...

I'm still getting used to the fact that Brian Matusz will be starting against the Detroit Tigers tomorrow, just 3 months after I saw him pitch for the Frederick Keys. He was the team's first round draft pick last year. Last year!

Matusz's rise through the Orioles minor league system has been a flash.

In 113 innings between Frederick and Bowie, Matusz has a 1.91 ERA, 121 strikeouts and 32 walks. Still, Matusz's promotion to the big leagues is somewhat out of necessity. Jason Berken was completely ineffective in his 13 starts and there was no one else in Norfolk worthy of a call-up. Sure, you could call-up David Pauley (4.23 ERA in Norfolk) and let him make a few starts, but he'd likely be no better than Berken.

You might as well start the future now.

And Matusz is ready, as his stats in Frederick and Bowie have proven. A trip to Norfolk would have been a formality. The Orioles desperately need a shot of hope after their recent 4-12 record since the All Star Break and Matusz brings that to the table.

He knows how to pitch so well he pitches backwards, meaning lots of curve balls early in the count. His fastball is his out-pitch. One scout said that Matusz would be the Orioles best pitcher the day after he was drafted.

So unlike Chris Tillman, who was shaky in his debut and makes his second start tonight, Matusz should look like a veteran in his debut. Kind of like Brad Bergesen.

That doesn't mean Matusz won't struggle. But he shouldn't struggle for long, that's for sure.

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