Results tagged ‘ Brian Matusz ’

Orioles Fanfest (10 days later)

Fanfest was only 10 days ago, and last year I documented it extremely in depth HERE on the blog.

Well, this year is different.  The only camera I currently own is an SLR that I only bring to special events/games and is customized which makes it difficult for others to use without a bunch of explaining.  As in, it’s too annoying to lug around to photograph events that I’m also trying to be a part of, and getting pictures with players and stuff doesn’t work well since it would involve showing somebody how to use the camera and all.

The point to all of that?  Here’s one of the few pictures I have from Fanfest:

I have a few more, but all were taken either at the MASN booth or the Orioles free photo set up.  Otherwise, none taken on my phone or anything.  I’ll have to find the other ones I was in throughout the day and post them, but that’s definitely my favorite so far.  Brian Matusz was quite the happy man when talking to people, and took time to really greet every single person in line.  Cool dude.

Will have a “Random Orioles Magic” post up later today as well.  Posted my FIRST ONE a few days ago, and they will get bigger and better as time goes on.  As for a brief description of what they are…well…just totally random really.

 

Orioles vs. Tigers 4/6/11 and 4/7/11

So I usually do single game by game entries, but between
midterms this week and long days at the park (get there around 3:30, leave at
11:30), I have been squeezed for time. 
So, I did the Opening Day entry
earlier in the week, followed by last night the quick post on the Jose Valverde spitting incident.  Here are my game entries for the 2nd
and 3rd home games of the season to finish up the Tigers series.

 

 

So Wednesday was a relaxed night at the ballpark.  Attendance went from sold out on Monday to
12,451 that night, so after BP, we just chilled in the outfield seats.

 

I got there around 3:30, still don’t know why.

 

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Adam Jones tweeted at
me
offering to come in early, but he never got back at me, so that didn’t
happen.  Ballhawks and fans gathered with
me at the gate, and the day had begun. 
For a pic of the group, check out Zack Hample’s blog entry of the game (and the 2nd game) here.

 

So running around to BP, the first ball I snagged on the day
was a Mark Reynolds shot.  He hit it to a
section to the right of where I was standing, and Tim and I both ran towards it
as it hit the seats and rolled awkwardly through a row.  He was 2 rows down, I was right above it, so
I was able to reach over and grab it.  On
the board.  My goal on the day was 4 (to
even out with the 2 from the opener, since I want to average 3 this year), so
this was a quick start.

 

After that, I made two of my best snags ever.  The first was a Casper Wells home run that I
got only about 15 feet to my left, and with no fans fighting for it.  The reason it was special was because I
spaced it horribly, and had to leap and throw my arm back just to barely grab
it on the tip of my glove.  Got high
fives for that one.

 

The 3rd ball of the day was a Brandon Inge home
run that was a section over to my right. 
I ran a bit over, but saw it was landing in a group of people about 6
rows down, so I didn’t really make a move. 
The ball ended up missing everybody and hitting off a chair, flying high
in the air into another group of people to the right and a row in front of me.  I reached above them with my bare right hand,
tipped it up into the air above them all, and then jumped and grabbed it.  This one got me the most congratulatory
remarks I’ve ever gotten, and trust me, I don’t make that many nice catches, so
I was proud of this one.

 

That was it on the day for baseballs.  But 3 is good for me.  I honestly feel good as long as I don’t get
shut out, which hasn’t happened since the 2009 season.

 

And I like this one shot I took of Tillman, Matusz, and
Britton during BP:

 

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After BP, I ran over to where Max Scherzer was signing by
the dugout, and after he ignored me multiple times for wearing an O’s shirt, I
made a “we both hate the Yankees” comment, he smiled, and signed my ticket.

 

I ran over to the Orioles dugout hoping for a warm up
ball.  First, I stopped by where Vlad was
signing for a minute:

 

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And got him to sign an extra ball I had brought with me (I
usually bring a clean ball or two for this kind of situation):

 

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I didn’t get a 4th ball, but whatever.  I’m satisfied with 3 still.

 

Tim and Ben and I stayed out in left field for the entire
game.  Low attendance and lineups full of
right handed power (besides the O’s with Reynolds and Vlad, the Tigers have
Miguel Cabrera), we will be out there all season.  It was a chill night sitting out in the
middle of the LF seats.  Felt like
baseball season again.

 

Anyways, 4 HRs were hit to right or center field.  Awesome. 
Whatever.  And Zack Hample snagged
Alex Avila’s shot, so check out info on that on his blog post (linked at the
top).

 

I left in the 8th to go sit with Brittany and
Donna at Donna’s seats (Brittany has season tix next to the bullpen) that were…
well… beautiful.  To show, here are a few
pics from that view:

 

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So that was cool.

 

Though the Orioles lost their first
game of the season that night, it was still very relaxing to attend the
game.  Afterward, I went with Donna and
Britney out to the players’ lot.  I had
never gone there after games (mainly because I live in the city now, so I don’t
have to worry about rides or missing the subway or anything), but they
introduced me to it.  We waved to
players, talked, and got yelled at.  And
Jake Fox stopped his giant SUV to sign for everybody, though I didn’t get
that.  I got 2 pictures of him signing
from his car, but both are dark and blurry.

 

I then left, went home, and
crashed.  Class in the AM.

 

Stuffs:

 

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Season stats (after this game):

 

Baseballs: 5 (4 hit, 1 on fly, 1
toss up, 0 found)

Autographs: 2 (Scherzer, Guerrero)

Orioles home games attended: 2

Orioles total games attended: 2

Total MLB games attended: 2

Total baseball games attended
(MLB+MiLB): 2

 

 

Then Thursday hit.  I left class at 2, went back to my place to
do some things, and left around 3:15 for the game.  Got there by 3:45, and chilled outside the
gates again.  Zack Hample never showed
up, but that was because he was at the other gates (Ha!).  Ben and Tim came around 4.  Matt never showed up (turned out he was sick).

 

I said ha before because Zack went
to the other side since the run in is slightly shorter, but his gate opened a
full 30 seconds or so after ours, so we ran past him before he could even come
in.  It was funny.

 

Running in, I got one ball in foul
territory down the 1B line, and then Tom (security guard) pointed out another
in the seats down the 3B line, so I had 2 already before even reaching the LF
seats.

 

BP brought more photos of our young
pitchers.  This one of Matusz and Britton
talking with new pitching coach Mark Connor (I think that’s him):

 

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BP was empty for the first 25
minutes or so for us, which was nice:

 

Zack Hample and Tim Oriole Park 4711

 

In that picture, the people are:

 

1. Tim (going up the stairs to look
for easter eggs

2. Zack (recording notes and such
after Orioles BP ended)

 

I got some pictures of Justin
Verlander throwing some:

 

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Jeremy Guthrie was back from the
hospital (he had pneumonia), pictured here talking with Verlander:

 

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I scooped up an Adam Jones home run
hit into an empty section, then caught a Brandon Inge home run on the fly in an
empty row later in BP.  Though it was
busier, nobody else made a play on that one.

 

And that was that.  I didn’t go for any autographs or extra
balls.  Just the 4 on the day.  Talked with my favorite ushers a bit and
wandered the concourse.  Oh, and got some
of the old Orioles to sign cards.  They
do that every Monday and Thursday home game. 
Got Tippy Martinez, Fred Valentine, and Bill Swaggerty.  Woot.

 

The game was cold.  Tim, Ben, and I again sat out in left field,
but this time next to the bullpen.  Ben
hit 12 balls on the day, including multiple at the pen, so we just chilled
there.  Though on most righty batters, we
got up and moved to ends of rows to prepare for HR balls.  Was quite funny actually how much we never
settled into actual spots, though we got no balls, the seats were so empty that
moving around was easy.  Finally, though,
a HR was hit to LF (Adam Jones’ shot), but it was a line drive smash down the
line, and way out of reach for where we were.

 

Tim and Ben danced like white kids,
Ronnie said hey, and we just had another chill night at the game.

 

Brad Penny pitched for the Tigers:

 

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And Chris Tillman for the Orioles:

 

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The end of the game brought an
Orioles come from behind W, but it also brought us Jose Valverde spitting on a fan in the 8th inning.  Click on that for more info.

 

Here’s my loot (space in the
baseballs is the Jones home run that I tossed to a kid after BP ended):

 

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Season stats:

 

Baseballs: 9 (6 hit, 2 on fly, 1
toss up, 2 found)

Autographs: 2 (Scherzer, Guerrero)

Orioles home games attended: 3

Orioles total games attended: 3

Total MLB games attended: 3

Total baseball games attended
(MLB+MiLB): 3

 

And I am leaving in just a couple
of minutes for the park.  The O’s take on
the undefeated Rangers this weekend, and I plan to be at all 3 games, win or
lose.  The weather is crummy out, so
probably no BP, but these games can bring some good fortune and fun at times,
so I’m there.

Brian Matusz

Last
night’s g
ame
vs. the Texas Rangers
pl
ayed
in Arlington w
as the second instance this season
where we h
ave
seen the r
aw
side of Bri
an
M
atusz. 
We s
aw
the side of him where
he is just a vulnerable
lefty with nothing more speci
al than
the next guy coming in.  The first inst
ance? 
In Minnesot
a
He seems to not be
able to handle
lineups th
at
are over
the top
stacked with power and
p
atience. 
The Twins
and
Rangers probably
c
an
both be considered in the top five for hitting te
ams
in b
aseball. 
With Josh H
amilton,
Nelson Cruz, Vl
addy, and even second year
shortstop Elvis Andrus, some people m
ay say
th
at
this lineup is just
as productive as
the Y
ankees,
if
not more.  The Yankees
are not
too q
uick, and are getting older by
the d
ay
Like the R
ays,
the R
angers
a
re mostly a young team
full of bursts of incredible t
alent.

Speaking of the Yankees,
M
atusz
f
aced
them b
ack
at the
end of
April.  He let up 3 earned
runs
and
allowed
9 hits over 6 IP with only 2 strikeout but no walks. 
While M
ajor
Le
ague
B
aseball
would count this in the st
ats as a
qu
ality
st
art,
it w
as
not the top quality we
were looking for out of the
rookie of the ye
ar candidate
His 2 wins on the ye
ar are over the Rays and A’s. 
He be
at
the R
ays
in the O
‘s third game of the year,
where we h
ad
j
ust lost our first two in Tampa and
c
ame
out with fight to get
a much needed W coming into
the Opening Weekend homest
and.  Oakland is just bad.  Other than those 2 wins, Matusz has still
pitched quite well frequently.  Because
of the Orioles lack of any offense ever it seems, Brian’s 1 run 6 inning
performance in New York (vs. Yankees) and shutout 7 innings against the Indians
at home this past weekend go without notice because he does not end up with the
W.  In New York, the loss was due to the
Orioles only scoring one run in the entire game, giving Matusz such a lean
amount of run support to work with.  Back
at home, he had the W going through 7 innings with a 2-0 lead before the
bullpen blew the game, and Matusz ended up with the no decision there.  Both times though, bullpen to be blamed
partially or not, the run support just has not been there to back this guy up.

 

After
last night’s lousy outing of 2.1 IP, Matusz’ ERA is now up to a sub-par
5.26.  He allowed 7 runs on 8 hits in his
short stint, with 2 strikeouts and 1 walk. 
The true killer, though, was the fact that he let 2 homeruns sail out of
the park which accounted for 5 of the 7 runs. 
The problem last night for him was that he lost control of his fastball
and just did not seem to have the velocity behind any of his pitches as
compared to what we have seen in the past. 
His curveball showed good movement, but once again, velocity was down,
making it very vulnerable to a contact hitter. 
As opposed to a guy like Tim Wakefield, Matusz does not have the
movement or command needed to be able to lessen the speed behind his pitches,
so last night the Rangers capitalized on the fact that he was pitching behind
hitters and never really setting a tone.

 

As
he said in his post-game interview, he was not on top of his stuff one
bit.  It was one of those games as a
rookie that gets away from you early that you can never catch up with.  As Bergesen said in his interview once: out
of every 10 games you pitch, there will be 2 good, 2 bad, and 6 average ones in
the middle.  This was one of his bad
ones.  If that theory is true, then his
next start would have to fall into the average category.

 

I
also would not put it past him that his mindset was no on target.  He seems very calm and collected when
talking, one of the chillest guys ever in my opinion, but the last few weeks
have been rocky for him.  He got the
harsh loss in Minnesota after letting up 6 runs off of 9 hits in 3.2 innings,
but then followed that up with a brilliant performance against Cleveland this
past weekend.  The fact that he battled
back from a setback to his solid beginning of the season is marvelous for a
young guy like him, but I don’t blame him if he got a bit anxious or even upset
with the outcome of Saturday’s game.  If
that game gave him trust issues with the guys coming in after him to close it,
then this issue could have been sitting on his mind all night.  If he is focusing more on the follow-up
performances by his teammates in the bullpen, he loses the concentration he
needs to have in order to have a successful game against a lineup like the
Rangers that he had to face.

 

I
wish him luck next week against the A’s in Baltimore.  Hopefully he can bounce back and shine
against a team he already beat earlier this season.

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Back Home

Well, the O’s are back in the win column a little more often than not lately.  That sounds so positive as compared to how the team is truly doing.

I had my first week of finals, and this week brings another.  Hoping to be done everything by Wednesday.  Also was in Cleveland all this past weekend, including attending the Indians vs. Tigers game Friday night.  Caught 5 baseballs even without a glove, would have had 12+ with one because of how empty it was and how many I had to let drop so my hands wouldn’t break.

Instead of doing stat analysis, or game by game conversations, I am just going to look over a few topics shortly.  This week, I will be once again doing the game by game stuff with more topics thrown in weekly.

The bullpen has been good, the starting pitching has been mostly solid, and the hitting is more inconsistent than Kyle Boller.  Moves are coming soon.  Corey Patterson is hitting .370 in Norfolk, and will probably be up for Montanez soon.  By all the talk, that may not be all.  In terms of pitching, there won’t be any big moves that we can foresee coming since no pitcher is really too far out of it.  The hitting is the problem.

From the Orioles website (orioles.com):

.400
.298
.284
.283
.283
.247
.244
.237
.230
.226
.203
.186
.143
.114
.067
.000

Those are the averages of Orioles hitters.  Names aren’t even important.  Knowing the numbers of slugging and hitting with RISP aren’t important, either.  It has come down to guys needing to hit in general, not just in the clutch.  Markakis, Wigginton, and Wieters are all below .300.  Nobody is above .300 (except Felix Pie, whoopee).  Guys are below .200.  That’s just great…

Good bullpen news:

The O’s seem to have found a closer in Alfredo Simon.  And a new (maybe temporary but still for now) set-up guy in Uehara.  In 6 appearances, Simon is 3-3 in save opportunities, and in 6 IP, has only allowed 6 hits, 0 ER, and has 7 Ks and only 4 BBs.  Uehara, in his 2 IP in 2 appearances, has only allowed 1 H and 0 ER, along with 2 Ks.

Ohman, through 11 IP in 16 appearances, has still not earned a run.  Berken and Meredith are both also set in position so far, neither with an ERA over 2.  These 3 combined have the following stat line:

36.2 IP, 27 H, 5 ER, 26:11 K:BB ratio, and a stellar ERA of 1.23.

Pitching looks good.  Matusz had his first rocky start after 4 consecutive quality starts, but he should be back on track soon enough.  Especially with his T-shirt Tuesday being tomorrow night.

The Orioles homestand now looks like this:

3 games vs. Mariners
3 games vs. Indians
2 games vs. Royals

Even with 2 of those M’s games being against Lee and Hernandez, the O’s should be able to split this 8 game homestand, if not wint 5 or 6 at least.  That would be a huge boost.  We will have to wait and see what the club does in terms of roster moves to set this team straight.

Always remember to follow along with the sites I have listed under links.  They will always have the best O’s info available.

Keep up with http://baltimoresportsreport.com/  They have daily articles and write-ups about Baltimore sports and a lot about the Orioles.  Taking part in the discussions on the site is very interesting.  They also have lots of interesting stuff like contests and interviews with players and commentators.

Take a Step Back

As I said in an earlier entry, the next few weeks may be scarce interms of my entries, and most likely will not have game summaries and info on a daily basis.  Still trying to get out a post every day or two about different topics.  Since I have baseball games myself also, I did not get to catch the first few innings of each Yankee game, so that’s another reason why I am behind.

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As for this entry.  I have a question for the O’s.  What the hell happened?  The whole Boston series, the team looked legitimate.  May have lost 2 of 3, but were in all 3 games, showed tons of patience and hitting, and kept up with positive starting pitching.  The bad part was the bullpen, specifically Albers who blew the two games we lost in that series.  The good part was that the bats were coming alive.  We were having double digit hit games, multi-hit games for a lot of guys, and the bats of Markakis and Jones looked to be coming back.

The O’s arrived back in Baltimore, and decided to just stick with the trends from the beginning of the season after beating the Yankees on Tuesday.  While Sabathia and Burnett were on top of their games, specifically Burnett who pitched his best stuff in a long time (unfortunately it had to come against us), but why did the bats just die.  At least against Sabathia we got some hits, but it just looked flat out horrible.  We lost the touch that the guys were able to find against the Red Sox on Sunday and the Yankees on Tuesday to bring guys in who were on base and not rack up the LOB statistic.  Wednesday went back to the old crap where we get hits all spread apart and not score.  Last night was just horrific.  We had 3 total hits, and the whole lineup just looked out of it, specifically Wieters.  The last two nights he has look mezmorized at the plate.  Not sure what is going on, but I am hoping Crowley can help him get back on track to hitting .300+.  He dropped below .300 last night, which is hard to see when he was one of the positive aspects of our offense before.  Wigginton continued his hitting with one hit in each of the two past games.  Who would have guessed Cesar Izturis would be our hottest bat at any time in the season.  More to come on him later.  I want to write a post about it, but might wait to see how he does vs. Lackey tonight.

 

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The bullpen went back to the ‘Opposite Day’ concept.  Here is what the stats and happenings are for the bullpen guys:

-Albers has pitched 2.1 innings (1 IP Wed. and 1.1 IP Thurs.) and in those outings only let one hit thru and got a K.  He looks to have gotten his fastball under control.  That is a good sign since he is a guy the team is hoping to build with for the future in the ‘pen.

-Castillo was brought up and had solid innings before yesterday of strikeouts and no runs.  Unfortunately for him, he was brought in to face Robbie Cano, who smacked his 2nd HR of the night off of Castillo’s low speed side arm on the 2nd pitch.

-Hendrickson and Meredith both pitched an inning on Wednesday.  The difficult part of this one is that neither looked bad.  They both looked on top of their stuff, just the Yankees lineup is overpowering and talented.  Luckily, between the 2.1 innings they pitched, they only let up 1 ER, but had 7 hits combined.  Would have been more runs but Hendrickson inherited some Guthrie allowed hits.

-Berken and Ohman came in for 9th inning pitching in the 2 games.  Berken smoothly got 2 outs, and Ohman got 3 with 2 Ks and 1 H.  Sad that they couldn’t be for saves.

 

Just looks like the pitching is going downhill.  Starters haven’t looked stellar.  Sorry to Matusz, but you threw some ugly pitches.  Overall, still looked great, but against a team like the Yankees, you can’t even give up one bad pitch without paying the price.  Guthrie just was disgusting.

 

Hopefully this weekend the O’s can rebuild on their offense and the power they have shown a little bit lately.  My hopes are for Wieters to get back with it, Jones to have a 3-3 or 4-4 night (he sincerely needs it), and Markakis keeps the slugging up.  The reason I think those things are most important are because they are the heart of the lineup and that has been troubling all season.

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