Posts Tagged 'Brian Matusz'

O’s Finally End Streak, Dump Athletics 8-3

Ty Wigginton celebrates after hitting a two run home run in the ninth inning

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Ty Wigginton homered and drove in four runs, and the Baltimore Orioles snapped a nine-game skid by beating the Oakland Athletics 8-3 on Sunday and spoiling Brett Anderson’s first outing since receiving a hefty new contract.

The Orioles avoided their first four-game sweep in Oakland since Aug. 23-26, 2004, jumping on Anderson (1-1) two days after the A’s gave the pitcher a $12.5 million, four-year contract.

Brian Matusz (2-0), like Anderson a hard-throwing lefty, delivered a much-needed morale boost for the struggling Orioles in his first career outing against Oakland. He struck out eight, allowing three runs on eight hits and one walk in 6 1-3 innings.

Baltimore (2-11) had lost nine in a row since its lone previous victory at Tampa Bay on April 8, and is off to the franchise’s worst start since beginning 0-21 in 1988. The Orioles also ended a nine-game losing streak at the Coliseum dating to July 22, 2007.

It doesn’t get any easier as the Birds leave the Bay Area, either. The Orioles continue their 10-game trip with three games in Seattle followed by three at Fenway Park against Boston.

Anderson, an 11-game winner in his rookie campaign of 2009, needed only 25 pitches to get through the first two innings. He retired the first eight batters of the game before giving up consecutive two-out singles to Cesar Izturis and Adam Jones and then Wigginton’s two-run double.

Nick Markakis followed with an RBI single to make it 3-0, Lou Montanez singled in a run in the fourth and Nolan Reimold hit his two-run double in the fifth.

Wigginton hit a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth off Chad Gaudin.

And as Orioles radio play-by-play man Joe Angel would say…”You can put this one in the win column!!”

The nine game losing steak is over and I’d have to believe an immense feeling of relief has swept through the Orioles clubhouse.

The bats finally came alive on Sunday as Baltimore tallied 11 hits. The birds also went 5-11 with RISP and only stranded four. Since Wednesday Ty Wigginton has four home runs and 10 RBI’s.

Brian Matusz was solid once again. It is hard to believe that Sunday was only his tenth career start. He has struck out seven or more in each of his three starts and has yet to give up a home run.

And give credit to closer Jim Johnson. He went out there and redeemed himself today after Saturday’s abysmal performance. Two innings pitched, one base runner, and no runs. A strong effort and he was rewarded with his first save of the season.

The road trip continues tomorrow night in Seattle with Brad Bergesen taking the hill for the O’s. Doug Fister gets the start for the Mariners. First pitch is 10:10

An 8th Inning Pitching Nightmare

Starter Brian Matusz was superb for seven innings, recording seven strikeouts and allowing just two hits. But in the top half of the eighth, after recording the first out, things started to unravel fast for the birds.

Matusz began the inning by striking out  Willy Aybar. But he allowed the Rays to get on the board via four straight singles and was then pulled in favor of Jim Johnson.

Johnson, who took over with the bases loaded and only one out. He was able to get Ben Zobrist to pop up for the second out. However Evan Longoria tie the score at 3 apiece, driving in a pair of runs on a single to left.

Johnson was then replaced by Will Ohman, who didn’t fare much better, giving up RBI hits to both Carlos Pena and B.J. Upton before finally getting out number three.

Finally…Bats Come Alive!

Ty Wigginton just came up big in the bottom half of the sixth.

On a 1-0 pitch with Nolan Reimold on first, Wiggy blasted a 87 mph slider into the left field seats to put the birds up 3-0.

Brian Matusz’s is very deserving of the run support. he has been very tonight. Through six, the young gun has only given up one hit and one walk while fanning half a dozen.

Orioles 2010 Preview: Hope Springs Eternal

(Image Courtesy of Orioles.com)

Tonight symbolizes a fresh start for the Baltimore Orioles. All the opening days of the past 12 years have been fresh starts in a sense. But they way those last 12 seasons have ended up…yikes!

My favorite team has been hard to watch for the past decade. It has been frustrating, embarrassing, and sad to see sub par baseball year in and year out.

But there is plenty of optimism this year amongst players and fans alike. When I look at the 2010 Orioles I see serious potential for growth. That growth is what will hopefully translate into contention with the big boys in the A.L. East in the years to come

So here is my brief outlook of this year’s team:

The starting pitching staff is young (Brian Matusz, David Hernandez, and Brad Bergesen are 23, 24, and 24 respectively) but the they are anchored by veterans Kevin Millwood and Jeremy Guthrie. One would hope there is some improvement from 2009 in which Baltimore’s starters tied for the worst ERA in baseball at 5.37

Brian Roberts once again will lead things off and play second base. He was limited to 19 at-bats during spring training due to a herniated disk in his back. Despite this he is set to go and will play in tonight’s game.  batting second is Center fielder Adam Jones. Jones was named an All Star and won his first career Gold Glove award in 2009. He has improved vastly since joining the team 2 seasons ago. He has tremendous range in the outfield and has become more patient as a hitter. I still feel he has another season or two before he really blossoms at the plate. Right fielder Nick Markakis’ stats dipped a bit in ’09. He is entering his fifth full season as a pro and I’m looking for him to be firing on all cylinders this year. An average of over .300, 25+ home runs, and 100+ RBI’s are very realistic numbers for him.

A familiar face in Miguel Tejada is back on the squad. He will play third and bat cleanup this year. DH Luke Scott and catcher Matt Wieters fill the 5 and 6 spots respectively. This will be Wieters’ first full season in the major leagues and he’d like to pick up where he left off at the end of his rookie campaign. He had a very solid September last year, finishing the month hitting .362, knocking in 14 runs, and having an on base percentage of .425.

Also entering his first full season is Nolan Reimold. He will bat seventh and occupy left field. But he will miss tonight’s opener with a sore Achilles tendon. Felix Pie will fill in. Garrett Atkins joins the O’s after seven seasons with the Rockies. He will play first and bat eighth. He is a career .290 hitter who like Markakis, is capable hitting 25+ HR’s driving in 100+ RBI’s in a good year. His numbers dropped off considerably in 2009, it will be interesting to see if he can rebound in 2010. And batting ninth is shortstop Cesar Izturis. Last year the Orioles needed major help defensively at short and they got it in Izturis. In 2009 he had a .984 fielding percentage and committed only eight errors.

There you have it. I assume it would be appropriate to make a prediction here. I’m going to say the O’s finish 4th in the American League East and just barely miss reaching the .500 mark with a record of 80-82. Just some perspective: the birds have not had more than 79 wins since 1997, when they won the division with 98! I’ll refer back to this post in October when all the dust has settled. Hopefully I’m not too off. Enjoy the season!!!


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