TORONTO -- Orioles lefty Brian Matusz admitted Saturday he got caught up in the moment a little bit in Monday's debut and was "trying to blow guys away" with his fastball rather than pitch his game. So the emphasis heading into his second start of the season on Sunday against the Blue Jays is for the 25-year-old Matusz to do what he does best: locate.
"It's just being able to stay calm, get those nerves down and go out with confidence and attack the zone and try not to do too much," Matusz said. "In that Yankees game [on Monday], I was just trying to throw it by guys, [trying to] do a little bit more than I had in Spring Training. So for me, it's just settling in and making the pitches."
Matusz lasted just four innings in his first start of the season, allowing four runs on six hits and four walks, and he's looking to put that outing behind him as well as reverse the trend when it comes to Toronto. In three career starts against the Blue Jays, Matusz is 0-2 with a 18.56 ERA. He has not completed three innings in any of those starts, although one of them was injury-shortened, skewing some of the stats.
"I remember the second start of my career was against Toronto here against Roy Halladay," Matusz said of his only career start at Rogers Centre on August 9, 2009. "That other start I had against Toronto, I was hit by a line drive in the first inning, came out of the game. But that's the goal -- to go deep in the game and take it inning by inning."
What Matusz has taken from each outing this year, Spring Training included, is his physical strength, which is much improved over last season and has kept him from tiring on the hill. His velocity has been steady since he reported to camp, and Matusz's fastball was still clocked at a steady 92 mph during his final inning Monday.
"It definitely helps out a lot, not having to try to do too much because of that strength," he said. "Even that last game against the Yankees, I threw 96 pitches and wasn't even sore the next day. Physically, I felt good, and that definitely helps."