Last June, according to the story told by Gary Thorne on today's telecast, Brian Matusz had just signed with the Baltimore Orioles. He was in
Fast forward 15 months. Brian Matusz got his wish, or, more accurately, earned his destiny and took the mound at the new Yankee Stadium today against the New York Yankees. He entered the day having won his last two outings, and having gone 7.0 IP in both. He'd given up just 5 ER in those 14 innings, and O's fan might have been cautiously optimistic about today's game.
Throw caution to the wind, people - Brian Matusz will be winning a lot more games in Yankee Stadium over the next six years.
Matusz went 7.0 IP again today, and aside from a SAC fly in the 1st inning, didn't allow a run in his last six innings of work. Sure, he had his troubles, but not many. There was a 20-pitch inning, and the Yankees sent five men to the plate in the 7th. That was the most he faced all day - five batters in an inning. It's great to win. But to face just three or four batters an inning, almost every inning? And by a rookie? Against a team that's up by eight games in the AL East? I'll take it.
The offense did its best, for one inning, to make this an easy day for Matusz. In the second inning, AL ROY candidate Nolan Reimold led off with a home run to left-center, Matt Wieters walked after Luke Scott looked terrible, again, and Ty Wigginton singled Wieters to second base. Michael Aubrey singled the two runners over, and Robert Andino singled Wieters in.
Then Brian Roberts came up. Then the ball went out, over the wall in right-center. Pretty quickly, too.
The grand slam by Roberts, his 15th HR of the season, made the game a 6-1 lead for the Orioles, and the way Matusz was pitching, you could almost feel comfortable. Next year, when he's allowed to complete games, a 6-1 lead may be as automatic a win as you can earn in the majors. But, for now, we're at the mercy of Diamond Dave's decisions with the bullpen.
The sight of Chris Ray warming up in the 7th inning was not needed. Really, Dave, really? Chris Ray? In
The Orioles go for the improbable series sweep tomorrow, and here's hoping the O's close them out. -duck