The 25-year-old left-hander was touched up again in the Orioles' 6-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night and has now dropped 12 consecutive decisions the longest active streak in the major leagues and second longest in the history of the franchise.
Matusz allowed base runners in five of the six innings in which he pitched, but actually headed into the sixth having given up just three runs. Then it got ugly.
He gave up an infield single and two walks to start the inning including a free pass to Erick Aybar, who was feverishly attempting to bunt and was pulled after his 100th pitch. Darren O'Day entered and surrendered a two-run double to Howie Kendrick. A third run scored on a throwing error by Adam Jones, the Orioles' third error of the game.
The Orioles originally were charged with four errors, but a scoring change late in the night turned an errant throw by Matt Wieters on a bunt into a single. It would have been the first time the Orioles had committed four errors in a game since Aug. 12, 2008, at Cleveland.
Still, it was another brutal defensive performance for the Orioles, who have made 13 errors during this eight-game road trip and are tied with the San Francisco Giants for the most errors in the majors with 16.
Second baseman Robert Andino made two throwing errors, including one on a tough play that could have been scored a hit.
"This is baseball," Andino said. "You are always going to have your ups and downs. But the plays for me I know I should have made them easy, so those errors are me, my fault. I'll take them. I should have made them. They're on me. My errors. I should have made them."
Is the defense pressing?
"We don't try to put no pressure on ourselves," Andino said. "We don't want the game to go like that, but it's baseball sometimes. The plays, I should have made mine, I'm pissed off."
The shoddy defense didn't make the night any easier on Matusz, who allowed six runs (four earned) on nine hits and three walks, one an intentional pass to Albert Pujols, while striking out a season-best six.
"The defense has been great behind me," Matusz said. "The guys made some good plays today too. It's out of my control. For me I need to pound the zone better and be able to throw up more zeros."
In three starts this season, Matusz has lasted just 14 2/3 innings, giving up 21 hits, 11 walks and 13 earned runs. His season ERA actually dropped Friday from 8.38 to 7.98. And that's better than his 2011 ERA of 10.69, which was the highest in the history of major league baseball for someone who made at least 10 starts.
Dating to June 10, 2011, a span of 13 starts, Matusz is 0-12 with an 11.64 ERA. The only stretch of losing longer than Matusz's was turned in by Mike Boddicker in 1987-1988, when he lost 14 consecutive.
"I made some good pitches today," he said. "But I also didn't make some pitches when I needed to. I tried to come inside with the fastball a few times and left it over the plate. And that hurt me. And then in the sixth inning that leadoff walk really killed. So I definitely need to go deeper in games."
Matusz believes he's getting closer to being better.
"I definitely made some improvements in this start over the last [time out]," he said. "[I] threw some nice changeups and some nice sliders down in the zone and felt like I had pretty good command of the fastball today I am just not putting it all together right now."
The Orioles' offense didn't sparkle either on Friday night. Angels pitcher Jerome Williams, who entered the game with a 16.87 ERA, allowed just three runs in 6 2/3 innings. He had given up just one run on a single by J.J. Hardy in the third before Nolan Reimold hit a two-run homer in the seventh to chase Williams.
It was Reimold's fifth homer, tying Adam Jones for the team lead, and his club-leading 10th RBI. Reimold also doubled and singled in five at-bats, an impressive return after missing a day because of neck spasms. Reimold is 12-for-25 (.480) with five homers on the trip