It is hard to be excited about a team that is 44-61 and again in last place, especially with football season right around the corner. But, unlike the previous 11 summers, this Orioles team is providing me with some excitement this August. The reason for that excitement is that another “piece” toward contending in the future – Brian Matusz – has been called up to make the start tonight against the Tigers. Things are finally starting to look up for the Orioles; even if their win loss record doesn’t show it.
Matusz is the 5th pitcher called up from the Minor Leagues this season, leaving Jeremy Guthrie as the only starter from the original rotation on Opening Day. A rotation of Guthrie, Tillman, Berken, Hernandez and Matusz makes me more excited then the dismal Guthrie, Koji, Eaton, Hendrickson, Hill and Simon rotation that the Orioles sported for the beginning of the season. Once Bergesen gets off the DL, the Orioles rotation will start to take shape in a better direction, and I can’t help but get excited about this.
I have always been one who believes in the adage that pitchers need to get seasoning in the Minor leagues. Given the Orioles dismal state this year, I have no problem if the starting staff consisted of nothing but young pitchers who were called up from the minors. Chris Tillman and Brian Matusz have shown they can get Minor League hitters out, so it’s senseless to keep them down there. Since wins and losses don’t matter, it is better to get them some experience this season, hopefully earning them a starting spot in the rotation next spring training. I have never believed that calling a player up too early- and them not succeeding- can ruin their mindset. If you are good, you’re good, if you’re not then you’re not, simple as that. The difference between Chris Tillman and Jason Berken isn’t their mind set when they struggle, it’s their talent. Tillman looks to have it and Berken looks like he doesn’t.
Whether Matusz comes in and struggles or not, I believe he is the Orioles ace of the future and will anchor what could be one of the best rotations in all of baseball. This is the right time for Matusz to come up. Obviously fans would like to see him succeed for this season but if he doesn’t I am not worried. Seeing Brian Matusz give up seven runs a game is far more exciting then watching Rich Hill give up seven runs.
My birthday is August 7th and for the past 12 years the only present I have wanted from the Orioles was competitive baseball. Once again they aren’t providing me with competitive baseball but they are providing with some excitement and a small amount of hope in the pitching. Maybe one year soon I will get that present that I have longed for.
Brian Matusz is yet another piece in Andy MacPhail’s puzzle and with him, the puzzle is almost complete. Matusz’s debut could not come at a better time for Orioles fans who just watched Red Sox Nation take over Camden Yards like it was their own stadium. While that sour taste will stay in my mouth for a long time, Brian Matusz has at least helped lessen it.
After 11 straight losing seasons’ and en route to a 12th, Brian Matusz has provided me with a reason to get a little excited in August. At this point, that is really all any Orioles fan can ask for.
Now please don’t let him be the next Rocky Coppinger, Matt Riley or Rick Krivda !!!