You can count on August and September being more competitive than in previous years. Buck’s O’s aren’t going down without a fight. Last night the Birds evened up the three game series against the Chicago White Sox with a 4-2 win against Mark Buehrle.
Brian Matusz pitched another gem and recorded his 111th strikeout of the season, tying him for the league lead in rookie k’s this season. Matusz surrendered just three hits in 7 innings of work, striking out five while walking just one. The only run he gave up came from a solo home run surrendered to Gordan Beckham.
This outing marks Brian Matusz’s first back to back wins of the season improving his record to 6-12 on the season and lowering the ERA to 4.79. This month Matusz has pitched to a 2-1 record with a 2.63 ERA in five starts.
One of the over looked factors in the Orioles success under Buck Showalter is the Oriole manager’s continued under use of the bullpen. With over 100 pitches in last night’s game, Matusz was sent back out to the mound for the 7th inning, in which he recorded three straight fly ball outs to the 4, 5 and 6 hitters. Showalter seems to have found his new set up man and closer during his 13 wins this season.
Following a hold by Mike Gonzalez, Koji Uehara came in to close his second game of his career. Despite giving up an RBI triple to Carlos Quentin, Uehara got the job done with another solid performance out of the pen. Koji snapped an 10 inning scoreless streak he had dating back to July 30. Going into last night Uehara had one save, three holds, three walks, 23 strikeouts and a 1.71 ERA since returning to Baltimore off the D.L. on June 29.
Showalter may have found his closer, though he has yet to make any formal announcement. Whatever the case may be, it makes for interesting baseball for O’s fans in August and September.