UPDATE: According to Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com, Brian Matusz will go on the disabled list with a strained intercostal muscle. Orioles president Andy MacPhail said he’ll be sidelined anywhere from three to six weeks.
Meanwhile, prospect left-hander Zach Britton will be called up to make his major league debut Sunday against the Rays. There was speculation that the Orioles would wait until at least April 21 in an effort to delay his service time for a year, but the injury to Matusz has obviously changed their plans.
The 23-year-old left-hander put up an impressive 1.35 ERA over 20 innings during Grapefruit League play and posted a 2.70 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 124/51 K/BB ratio over 153 1/2 innings between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk last season. He was named as the organization’s No. 1 pitching prospect by Baseball America over the winter.
5:17 PM: Brian Matusz will not make his scheduled start tomorrow against the Rays because of a back injury and is headed for an MRI exam, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.
Matsuz was questionable to make the start in the first place after taking a line drive off his biceps during a simulated game Monday, but was cleared to pitch before being scratched with back soreness.
Selected fourth overall in the 2008 draft, Matusz threw 176 innings with a 4.30 ERA and 143/63 K/BB ratio as a rookie and even at just 24 years old the Orioles were counting on him to help stabilize a very young, inexperienced starting rotation.
The Dodgers are NL West champions for the fifth time in a row. They clinched with a 4-2 win over the Giants on Friday night, taking their first and only lead on a mammoth record-breaking home run from Cody Bellinger in the third inning.
Rich Hill turned in another quality start, going six innings with five hits, a run and nine strikeouts to keep the Giants at bay. He tacked on an RBI hit of his own, too, lashing a double to left field for his first extra-base hit since 2007.
The Giants, meanwhile, deployed Jeff Samardzija and his 4.42 ERA for 4 1/3 innings. Samardzija was on the hook for the Dodgers’ four-run spread in the third and took his 15th loss of the season. Pablo Sandoval came through with a solo home run in the ninth, but the rest of San Francisco’s offense wasn’t so lucky against Kenley Jansen, who struck out the side to clinch the game — and the division.
After Friday’s showstopper, the Dodgers are just two wins away from their first 100-win season since 1974. If they win the remaining eight games of the season, they’ll beat out the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers for the most wins in franchise history.
Cody Bellinger helped the Dodgers to their first lead on Friday night, going deep for his 39th home run of the season and setting a new National League rookie home run record in the process. With two on and two out in the third inning, the Dodgers’ slugger launched a 2-1 pitch from the Giants’ Jeff Samardzija, skimming the right field fence to give the team a three-run cushion:
The three-run bomb was Bellinger’s sixth of the season. In what is undoubtedly a Rookie of the Year award-worthy campaign, he’s logged 21 solo shots, 11 two-run blasts and a single grand slam. His historic home run topped former NL rookie leaders Frank Robinson and Wally Berger, at 38 homers apiece.
The Dodgers need to stay on top of the Giants to clinch the NL West or, barring that, have the Marlins pull off a win over the Diamondbacks. They currently lead the Giants 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Marlins, meanwhile, are staying just ahead of the D-backs with a 9-7 lead in the top of the sixth.