Game Preview 06/25: Reds vs. Orioles


In their first ever trip to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the Reds are here for Interleague Play. I know I missed the first game of the weekend series and I apologize for that (actually it’s going on right now and it’s tied at the top of the 9th). Brian Matusz is slated to make the start despite coming out of his last game early with a hamstring strain. The Reds are countering with Bronson Arroyo. Here’s some information on both.

1. He has his OWN website. so I guess he’s pretty well-liked among Reds fans because not many baseball players have their own site. At least, not to my knowledge.
2. Apparently being a major league pitcher making millions isn’t enough. He’s an aspiring musician and I saw his CD at the Dollar Store a while back hence why he’s still “aspiring.” His album is entitled Covering the Bases where he covers songs by Pearl Jam, Incubus, Alice in Chains, etc. He also has the Red Sox victory song on his CD joined by Johnny Damon, Kevin Youkilis, and Lenny DiNardo. He ALSO taught Kevin Millar (remember when he played for the O’s?) how to play the guitar.
3. Onto his pitching since that’s what matters…he was drafted by the Pirates in 1995 (yep, he’s been around for a while) and made his major league debut with them in 2000. He went to the Red Sox in 2003 off waivers. In 2004, he moved from middle relief to the number 5 starter on the rotation. He made 2 starts and 4 relief appearances in the playoffs and had a 0-0 record and 2 holds with a 7.82 ERA for the eventual 2004 World Series Champions Red Sox. He went 10-9 with a 4.03 ERA. Before the 2006 season, he signed a 3-year $11.25 million (“hometown discount” as he called it) contract with the Red Sox but was traded to the Reds during spring training in 2006. He signed a contract with them through 2010 with an option for 2011, which they obviously exercised. After that, they signed him to another contract through 2013.
4. He has a very weird wind-up/release when he pitches. I also am a Phillies fan and have seen him pitch quite a few times and when he pitches, all I can focus on is that damn leg of his (see below). It’s quite distracting and annoying, which may be a strategy of his, I’m not sure.

5. This season, he’s 6-6 with a 4.86 ERA. His last outing was against fellow AL East-er Toronto where he pitched 8 innings giving up only 5 hits and 1 run, a homer, with 5 strikeouts and a walk. He is also coming off of 2 consecutive wins.

Matusz and more after the jump.

1. He went to the University of San Diego and was named to the West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year honors.
2. He was selected 4th overall in the 2008 draft and was named by Baseball America 9th best overall prospect in mid-season 2009. Before the 2010 season, they named him the 5th best prospect in all of baseball.
3. He made his major league debut on August 4, 2009 against the Detroit Tigers in which he pitched 5 innings giving up 6 hits, one earned run, and striking out 5 to get the win. But, the O’s shut him down on September 14 for the rest of the season in fear of overextending him.
4. As you probably know, he was on the DL for the first 2 months of this season and has disappointed in his first few starts off the DL. His velocity is down from low to mid-90s fastball to a high-80s fastball. Even Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon said there’s no way he’s 100% healthy because he’s not performing as well. So, that’s definitely not good.
5. He’s 1-2 this season with a 5.60 ERA. Not what you want out of your ace. His last outing was against the Nats where he went 5 1/3 innings (pulled out early because of the hamstring cramps). He gave up 6 hits and 4 runs in the loss along with 3 walks. He struck out 5, a season high.

As for a few bits of info on the offensive side:
Mark Reynolds has hits in 12 of his last 14 games going 18 for 43 (.419) with 3 doubles, 4 homers, and 8 RBIs in that span. He also has 13 homers on the year, which leads the team.

Our O’s pitching staff has been dominating at the plate. They seem to love hitting. They’re hitting .466 this season, going 7 for 15, while all other American League pitchers were a combined 9 for 120, a .075 average. That’s pretty damn impressive if you ask me.

Nick Markakis is on a 14-game hitting streak (including tonight).

Jonny Gomes will serve as the DH for the Reds since he’s had experience while he played for the Rays for 6 seasons as a DH. He’s served as their DH during Interleague Play since 2009 where he went 11 for 32 (.344) with 3 doubles and 3 homers. Last season, he only hit .179 going 5 for 28 and this season he’s 1 for 12, or .083.

Joey Votto leads the team in batting average at .317 and Jay Bruce leads them in homers with 17 but both have been pretty cold in the last week.