The baseball gods were so nice to the O’s tonight, even Chris Ray got out of Comerica Park unscathed.
Tonight in Detroit, it was all about Brian Matusz.
With some help from Cesar Izturis and Nick Markakis.
Matusz made his major league debut this evening and looked like a younger version of Cliff Lee, mixing a 93-MPH fast ball with a deceptive (big league) change-up and a nasty breaking ball. He struck out hitters with all three pitches tonight. That’s a sign of a PITCHER, not a THROWER. He threw 99 pitches in 5 innings and allowed only one earned run, striking out five.
The good far, far outweighed the bad for Matusz on Tuesday night.
In fact, the only parts of his effort that could be deemed negative? He walked three and got the ball up in the zone quite a few times when he was behind in the count. And, in all fairness, a smaller ballpark might have yielded a couple of home runs, as the Tigers tagged Matusz a couple of times early only to have the ball come up 20 feet short.
But — the good was there for all to see from the very beginning. He came inside when necessary and was adept at moving the ball around based on the count. His fastball – unlike Tillman’s last night – was on location more times than not. And when he got in trouble, Matusz didn’t shy away from hitters. He went right at them.
If you would have just flown in from Australia and hadn’t seen him pitch before, you would have looked at Matusz and wondered aloud: “By how many votes did this kid win the Rookie of the Year award last year?”
He was that good.
Now, if we can only convince Andy MacPhail to not cut his salary next March, we might have ourselves a crafty left-hander in the 2010 rotation.
For one night, anyway, the Boston sweep at Fenway Park at Camden Yards last weekend and the squander-job of the 5-0 lead Monday night are no longer agitating afterthoughts.
Tonight was all about Brian Matusz.
Thank you baseball gods.