Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Orioles 2012: Top of the 3rd
2012 has been an amazing season for the Orioles so far. Even with the disappointment of losing a home series to the Red Sox, the Birds have the best record in the American League nearly two months into the season. So many things are going right for the team at the moment, as is often the case for a club on a hot streak. The season is still young and there's plenty of time for everything to fall apart.
Photo via Pro Sports Blogging
That said, the franchise got a fantastic jolt on Tuesday night from a pitcher who has to make a solid contribution if the run of success is to continue. Brian Matusz pitched magnificently against a powerful Boston lineup, allowing only one earned run over 6 1/3 innings. He was drafted 4th overall by the O's in 2008. His career has been a terrifying roller coaster since. He skyrocketed to the Majors, finishing 5th in Rookie of the Year voting in 2010.
Then in 2011, the bottom fell out. He missed the first two months due to injury and simply wasn't the same upon his return to the mound. The zip on his fastball disappeared and opposing batters shelled him. He finished the season at 1-9 with a whopping 10.39 ERA. The once future ace had the look of an albatross ready to drag the whole franchise down with him - yet another early draft pick wasted.
2012 didn't begin well. Matusz didn't get his first quality start until late April. On May 7th, the Rangers tagged him for 7 runs over 5 innings. But now, with June approaching, he seems to have pulled things together. Tuesday night was his second quality start in a row and his third victory in three starts. The Camden faithful gave him a standing ovation as he left the mound. Perhaps we all sense that if Matusz's resurgence is for real, the stars may genuinely be aligned for this long-suffering ball club.