As of yesterday afternoon the Orioles weren’t sure what to do with Brian Matusz, but they’ve now decided to bump the struggling left-hander from the rotation and have him work exclusively out of the bullpen for the remainder of the season.
Matusz has followed up an impressive rookie season by going 1-7 with a 9.84 ERA this year, allowing more home runs per nine innings than anyone else in baseball history with at least 10 starts.
Buck Showalter explained the decision to Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com:
There are two sides to it. I’m a father first. I don’t like to see anybody get beat up on. I don’t think that Brian is at a point right now where he can defend himself properly. It’s not going to be a matter of him throwing 94 or 93 miles per hour. He can pitch just like he is, stuff-wise. It’s just command issues and repeating his delivery and a lot of things he’s aware of. I feel for him, but not to the point where … he knows nobody is going to feel sorry for him in that other clubhouse. He’s got it. He understands a lot more than what people may perceive about what’s going on.
In other words, the Orioles don’t think Matusz is capable of getting big-league hitters out at this point and there’s no sense in letting him serve up batting practice to a salivating lineup every fifth day.
Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.
LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.
There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.
The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.