Joe Maddon on Orioles starter Brian Matusz: “I’m certain he’s not feeling 100 percent”

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Brian Matusz was being counted on to anchor a young Orioles rotation after throwing 176 innings with a 4.30 ERA as a rookie last year, but instead he missed the first two months of the season with a strained intercostal muscle and hasn’t looked very impressive since coming off the disabled list.

Matusz failed to make it out of the second inning yesterday and afterward manager Buck Showalter had some pretty harsh criticism for the 24-year-old left-hander:

He had a good statistical return but he just wasn’t able to defend himself today–running game and stuff-wise. He’s telling us he feels fine. Just not a whole lot coming out right now.

Showalter was especially peeved about Matusz allowing four stolen bases to Rays runners:

He keeps telling us he can read them. It’s been a challenge for him. Maybe we’ll be able to get his attention a little bit more.

Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun speculates that “get his attention a little more” could involve bumping Matusz from the rotation, but it seems likely that he’ll get at least another start or two before that happens.

Rays manager Joe Maddon believes the Rays were beating up on an injured pitcher, saying: “I think there may be something not quite right with Matusz. I’m certain he’s not feeling 100 percent.”

Clayton Kershaw struggles with control, walks six Marlins

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.

Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.

The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.