It was truly inspiring to see Brian Matusz depart to a standing ovation at Camden Yards Tuesday, after he pitched an outstanding 6 1/3-innings in Baltimore’s 4-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
On the hill Matusz oozed confidence. He commanded his pitches and pounded the strike zone in a very Greg Maddux like fashion. But what was most impressive, was that Matusz never wavered in the gritty face of an imposing Red Sox lineup.
Matusz’s performance was spectacular, if not dominant. He surrendered just one earned run on two hits, and also had nine strikeouts to just one walk.
Acclaim for Matusz was well-deserved. His performance was a culmination of hard-work by him and his pitching coach Rick Adair. It was also a byproduct of great patience expressed by Baltimore’s GM Dan Duquette and team manager Buck Showalter.
Nobody ever argued Matusz did not have great stuff.
But what was truly frustrating for Orioles’ leaders and fans (and I am sure Matusz himself) was his inability to string everything together into consistently solid performances. In Some innings this season Matusz looked like the brilliant star he was drafted to be. Yet this brilliance had tendency to unravel at any given point in a ballgame.
But not Tuesday.
Tuesday Matusz locked his pitching demons in the closet and put forth a great performance.
As a baseball fan, it is these grinding it out to greatness stories that make the game truly great. Hopefully the Orioles got to see what is a sign of great things to come.