Brian Matusz back from minors to start tonight vs. Athletics

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As expected, Brian Matusz has been recalled from Triple-A Norfolk and will start later tonight against the Athletics.

Matusz, who began the year on the disabled list with an intercostal strain, compiled an ugly 8.77 ERA and 18/11 K/BB ratio over his first six starts in the majors this season before being demoted at the end of June.

The 24-year-old left-hander has found more success in the minors, posting a 3.62 ERA and 34/18 K/BB ratio over eight starts. He has been especially impressive lately, allowing four runs over his last three starts, including a complete-game shutout last Thursday.

While the Orioles are hoping they’ll see the same pitcher who posted a 2.11 ERA over his final 11 starts last season, one of the more telling things to watch tonight will be his velocity. Matusz has averaged 86.7 mph on his fastball in the majors this season, down from 89.9 mph last season. The good news is that he sat in the 88-89 mph range during his complete-game shutout last week and topped out at 91 mph.

Cubs to activate Craig Kimbrel on Thursday

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The Cubs will activate reliever Craig Kimbrel ahead of Thursday afternoon’s game against the Braves, Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic reports.

Kimbrel, 31, ended a seven-month stint in free agency, agreeing to a three-year, $43 million contract with the Cubs earlier this month. He has made four minor league appearances, allowing one earned run on two hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.

With an aggregate 3.96 ERA entering Wednesday, the Cubs’ bullpen has been among the better bullpens in the league. Adding Kimbrel, one of the greatest closers of all-time, certainly can’t hurt and will give them some stability in save situations.