You’ve probably heard by now that Brian Matusz is going to get a start tonight for the Chicago Cubs. If that was news to you, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you.
Barring something weird happening, it’s probably going to be a limited time engagement for Matusz. The Cubs are already well set at the starting pitching position, in a way that poor, deprived Orioles fans, stuck watching the likes of Ubaldo Jimenez and Yovani Gallardo, can only envy.
Even so, it’s remarkable that Matusz is going to actually start an MLB game again. He hasn’t started a game at the MLB level since 2012. If you are like me, you probably most remember his bumbling through the 2011 season, failing in start after start, ERA ever escalating until it settled, finally, disgracefully, at 10.69.
There are certain bedrock truths on which you can rely as you go through a crazy and chaotic world. The sun will rise in the east and set in the west. Two plus two equals four. Brooks Robinson is the greatest third baseman in the history of baseball. If Jeffrey Maier’s interference had been called in 1996, the Orioles would have won the World Series.
You probably have some of your own, but you get the kind of thing I mean. The kind of thing that, if it was suddenly disproven, reversed, or otherwise disturbed, you would no longer know what is and what is not true. Nothing in life would ever make sense again.
One more of those principles for me, by which I have lived these past several years, is that Brian Matusz is not ever again going to be a starter at the MLB level. It is as much an impossibility as if I announced that I was going to climb a tree and end up on the Moon.
And yet here I am, feeling miserable about the Orioles, and here is news that Matusz is going to get an MLB start on Sunday night against the Mariners - for the Cubs, mind you, who have the single best record in baseball. This is not Matusz slipping in for some action for a bad team that doesn’t care whether they win or lose.
What if he actually does well? I have to confess to you, I am not a big enough person to wish him well in this start, or in any start he might make for the Cubs. If even Brian Matusz, colossal disappointment that he generally was, could be revived by another organization, what then?
Add that to the apparent salvaging of Miguel Gonzalez with the White Sox and the well-documented Jake Arrieta breakout over the past couple of years with the Cubs, and the only reasonable conclusion that one could draw from that is that everyone responsible for developing and evaluating pitchers in the entire Orioles organization would have to be fired, along with everyone responsible for the continuing employment of those people. Some stains cannot be erased.
I’m being dramatic and hyperbolic in the previous sentences, of course, but I trust you can understand the frustration that this bit of news inspires.
There would simply be no excuse for the Orioles to have had Matusz bumbling around as a lefty specialist, and not a very good one at that, for the last four seasons, three of which had major problems in the O’s rotation, if Matusz could have actually been an answer to one of those problems, if only they had done the right thing with him. The “try out Matusz as a starter” was a ritual each spring, after all.
IS there something the Orioles could have done differently such that Matusz might have been in the 2013 rotation and onward? My goodness, imagine if they never needed to trade for Scott Feldman, sign Jimenez, or sign Gallardo.
All of that if Matusz had ended up being something vaguely resembling the pitcher they thought they were drafting #4 overall in 2008, or anything at all close to the pitcher who was Baseball America’s #5 prospect in the game before the 2010 season. No, don’t imagine that. You’ll only get depressed or angry. I’m sorry I even brought it up.
For sanity’s sake, the only thing I can do tonight is root for Matusz to give up six runs in three innings. I shared this sentiment with fellow Camden Chatter Stacey Folkemer, and she replied, “I hope they have to pull him in the first.” From her lips to the baseball gods’ ears. I could not at all handle Matusz being good or even decent. Mariners, it is up to you to do what must be done.