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Orioles 8, Tigers 2: Introducing Brian Matusz

Yes, it was only five innings from the starter. Yes, it took 99 pitches to get through them. Yes, the Tigers had runners on base in every inning from the second through the fifth. I know what the stats say. But I say Brian Matusz had about as good a debut for the Orioles tonight as could be reasonably hoped for, let alone expected.

The line may say...

Brian Matusz (W 1-0) 5.0 6 1 1 3 5 0 99-65 1.80

but my eyes saw the future. I saw a great change-up used early in the game to set up a fastball used more effectively after a visit to the mound by pitching coach Rich Kranitz. I saw a slider than struck batters out, and most of all, I saw a young starter not get rattled but bear down and get outs he needed. And I saw a lot of Cesar Izturis.

Cesar was Gold Glove worthy with the defense tonight, and he hit one of his biannual homers as well. Nick Markakis finished a triple shy of the cycle, and even Melvin Mora tried to rehab his images with a RBI in 5 ABs. Of course, his average dropped to .255, and his struck out once and didn't bother diving after at least one reachable ball, but no disrespect, Melvin, no disrespect. (And yes, it's a long way to go to make that joke.)

Chris Ray went 2.2 IP and Matt Albers went 1.1 to finish out the game, and it's a good thing, because the 'pen is absolutely cooked right now. Aside from a strong effort from Matusz, we desperately needed to use just those two guys, and they came up big. Thank you, Soccer Mom Butt and Phat Albers.

I could load this recap with tons of analysis concerning Matusz' efforts in the stretch vs. windup, his matchups against an all right-handed lineup, or how he and Matt Wieters both learned a lot tonight about getting through a tough AL lineup. And seriously, what was up with the Tigers calling up a right-handed bat just for this game? Against a rookie making his first start? Really?

But I'll leave analysis to those of you much better at it, which is most of you. Tonight, lets us enjoy our glimpse into the future known as Brian Matusz.