For those looking for a bit of good news with the Orioles off on Thursday, they didn’t get it from Brian Matusz.
Coming off an impressive start in which he tossed seven scoreless innings while showing slight improvement in his velocity from what we saw in Baltimore last month, Matusz allowed seven earned runs in 3 2/3 innings of work against the Toledo Mud Hens in an 11-3 loss for Triple-A Norfolk. The left-hander gave up eight hits and three walks before being lifted in the fourth inning for Tides reliever Nick Bierbrodt. Matusz also struck out two hitters.
Though we likely won’t learn what his velocity and overall stuff looked like until Buck Showalter meets with the media on Friday afternoon, whatever he had — or didn’t have — working for him obviously didn’t translate to the box score.
In his four starts since being optioned to Triple-A Norfolk following a horrendous start against the St. Louis Cardinals on June 30, Matusz has completed fewer than six innings three times and has a 5.40 earned run average in 21 2/3 innings. The 24-year-old has struck out 19, allowed 24 hits, and walked 10 over the four outings.
Those stats do not include the minor league rehab start Matusz made for the Tides on May 26 before he was activated from the 15-day disabled list to make his 2011 debut with the Orioles on June 1.
For anyone pining for a miraculous turnaround for the Orioles’ 2008 first-round pick and a quick return to Baltimore, it’s just the latest disheartening chapter in a disastrous season for the young southpaw — and the Orioles’ future.