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.”