Baltimore Orioles: Who Needs Brian Matusz or a 25-man Roster?


Jun 13, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado (13) celebrates after hitting a two run home run in the fifth inning against the New York Yankees at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

How many of you thought that the secret for the turnaround of the Baltimore Orioles’ season was to get rid of Brian Matusz and play with a 24-man roster? I can hear some of you saying, “We did,” And like the guy in the Navy Federal Credit Union commercial on MASN O’s games, I’ll say, “What, y’all knew?

Matusz is one of several favorite whipping boys for the Orioles, not that he hasn’t earned a good bit of it (and not that I haven’t chimed in at some points). But he has his place, and it is certainly out of the bullpen. He returns to the roster today after serving his eight-game suspension – over which the Orioles were 7-1 with a 24-man roster, including a 9-4 win over the Yankees Saturday night. That should help him feel less depressed about letting the team down by the infraction for which he has been punished.

But actually it is the upgrade in play by several Orioles that has propelled the recent streak – particularly Manny Machado. This was the theme of yesterday’s O’s article. On Saturday night Machado hit a two-run homer while also driving in another pair of runs on a weak grounder through the infield. Over these eight games we are discussing, Machado is a combined 14-for-35 (.400).

On the subject of playing with a roster of 24, it could be said that the Orioles have experience with doing that very thing when trying to keep Rule 5 Draftees on the roster.

A-Rod breaks through an all-time benchmark

The two-run homer by Alex Rodriguez moved him above 2,000 RBIs for his career. He ranks #4 on the all-time list. Ahead of him are Hank Aaron (2,297), Babe Ruth (2,214), and Cap Anson (2,075).  Not familiar with that last name? He played in the late 1800s in a career that began at age 19 and ended at age 45 – most of it for the Chicago White Stockings.

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We don’t tend to think about career RBIs in the same way we do about all-time career home runs and base hits leaders. Actually, the list of RBI leaders includes Eddie Murray at #10 (1,917), Frank Robinson at #20 (1,812), and Cal Ripken at #25 (1,695).

Rodriguez is also fourth all-time in career home runs, and he is within a handful of hits of breaking 3,000 and passing Roberto Clemente into 28th on that list. What impressive statistics, but what a flawed individual. Manny – look and learn!

What to expect from Wright as today’s starter

Mike Wright will indeed be the starter since the Orioles were able to make it through the past several games without having to use him. This will be his fifth start. You will recall that his first two against the Angels and Marlins were simply fantastic, but then he had a rougher experience against the White Sox and Astros.

His combined numbers for the four games are 2-1, with a 2.96 ERA in 24.1 innings, giving up 21 hits. He has struck out 16 while walking only four. Gotta love that!

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Since his rough outing against the Astros on June 2nd, he has pitched once for Norfolk on June 7th, giving up one run on four hits in six innings. So he is not really terribly off schedule to pitch at this point. I would anticipate him to be reasonably effective, and we are sure to see Matusz at some point in the game. The Yankees will have a lefty-dominated lineup against the 6’6” rookie starter.

Next: Machado and Davis putting it together