Third baseman Mark Reynolds made two errors -- both leading to Tampa Bay Rays runs -- and center fielder Adam Jones played Evan Longoria's tailing liner into a two-run, inside-the-park home run. The Rays got absolutely no resistance in stealing four bases in the first two innings, while Orioles left fielder Felix Pie was thrown out foolishly trying to steal second in a three-run game in the eighth. But of all the disturbing images in the Orioles' dreadful 9-6 loss Sunday in front of an announced 22,032 at Camden Yards, none came close to topping Brian Matusz's jog off the mound after just 1 1/3 innings. Not even giving his teammates a chance to capture a series victory and end an otherwise solid homestand with a win, Matusz retired just three of the 13 hitters he faced, allowing four runs on five hits and four walks before forcing the Orioles' bullpen to cover 7 2/3 innings. "They were able to find some holes and get some things going early, and I just wasn't able to get on track today," Matusz said, in easily one of the bigger understatements of the season. In his third start since coming off the disabled list, where he spent two months because of a strained left intercostal muscle, Matusz did nothing right, further raising concern from team officials who are left to wonder whether the young left-hander is healthy -- he says he's 100 percent -- and if he is, what happened to his velocity and command? Orioles manager Buck Showalter clearly didn't have the answers to those questions after the game, and he also didn't commit to the 24-year-old's making his next start Saturday against the Washington Nationals. "I don't know. We'll sit down. I haven't talked to him yet since he pitched. Brian's a very confident guy. We'll see where he is with it," Showalter said. It was, however, pretty obvious to the Rays that Matusz wasn't the same pitcher they've seen in the past. Of his 52 pitches, only 28 of them were strikes, and he walked four of the final six hitters he faced. His fastball velocity again sagged, topping out at 88 mph, but that was more the exception than the norm. "I think there might be something not quite right about Matusz," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He's not throwing as hard as he used to, so I'm certain he's not 100percent. That's what I saw."
Early exit for Matusz in Orioles' 9-6 loss to Rays
Baltimore Sun | Jun 13