Orioles left-hander Brian Matusz continues to make case for rotation spot

The Baltimore Sun

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Despite a rocky start, Orioles left-hander Brian Matusz continued to make a case for himself to be the team’s No. 5 starter in Tuesday's Grapefruit League game against the Boston Red Sox at JetBlue Park

Matusz allowed just one run on six hits through five innings, walking one and striking out two. His five-inning start is the longest of any Orioles pitcher this spring. Matusz threw 75 pitches, 58 strikes.

Over his past two starts, Matusz has allowed just one run over nine innings with six hits, nine strikeouts and two walks. In five Grapefruit League outings, he’s pitched to a 2.40 ERA, allowing four earned runs on 12 hits and a 4.33 strikeout-to-walk ratio (13 strikeouts, 3 walks).

“For me, I’m taking the ball when I get it and I’m trying to take advantage of every opportunity,” Matusz said. “I’m going out making pitches and trying to take it start by start. For me, I have the mentality of wanting to build pitches and innings to be a starter this year and that’s my mentality and I’m taking advantage of the opportunity when Buck gives me the ball.”

Five of the first nine Red Sox batters reached base against Matusz – the only run plated against him came in the first inning on a Mike Napoli sacrifice fly  – but after a rare 4-5 double play ball in the second inning, Matusz went on to retire seven of the next eight batters.

“The first couple innings, I was trying to do too much,” Matusz said. “I felt like my command was pretty good for the most part. I was able to get into a good rythym as the game went on and working the curveball and changeup really well and just being able to get outs in big situations.”

In the fifth inning, Boston had runners at first and third with one out, but Matusz escaped the jam by inducing a pop up to first from Shane Victorino and striking out Dustin Pedroia.

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