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Matusz stepping up for Orioles in new role


Matusz stepping up for Orioles in new role

Brian Matusz has re-invented himself in a short period of time.
He spent much of 2012 working as a struggling starter. The left-hander had a 5-10 record and a 5.42 ERA in 16 starts before being optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on July 1. Matusz worked on a lot with the Tides and when the Orioles recalled him on Aug. 24, they moved the left-hander into the bullpen.
Now, hes become a weapon for manager Buck Showalter. That showed up again Monday night as Matusz helped the Orioles edge the Yankees, 3-2, in Game 2 of their ALDS before a sold-out and rocking Camden Yards.
He came on with two outs in the seventh inning and got Nick Swisher to end the inning. Matusz had to intentionally walk Robinson Cano and threw a wild pitch that put runners on second and third before Swisher flied out. Matusz wound up throwing 1 13 scoreless innings.
Matusz said he now considers himself a relief pitcher. The left-hander now has pitched in both games versus the Yankees. Hes thrown 2 13 scoreless innings, struck out four and walked two (one intentionally) and been very effective throughout. Matusz ended the regular season with a 1.35 ERA in 18 games, stranding all 14 runners
Im just rolling with it and having fun with it, Matusz said. Right now, being in the playoffs, coming out with a big win here, doesnt get much more fun than that.
Matusz said that being a relief pitcher now makes him do some things differently, but it hasnt been any problem. He just comes to the park every day waiting to be ready to pitch if Showalter calls on him.
Im still the same guy, Matusz said. Just getting the work and the experience out there at the end of the regular season and just carrying it over to the post-season. I want to keep this thing rolling. Its nice to be able to have good outings. My focus is on the next game, to be ready when Buck calls on me.
Catcher Matt Wieters said Matusz really hasnt changed much. Hes just in a different situation now, which kind of makes him alter how he does some things, but the catcher likes what hes seen of Matusz in late innings.
He comes out there with the right mind-set, Wieters said. He comes out there ready to go, and sort of laying everything on the line for one inning. He's going out there and using all his stuff. Brian, even when he was starting and not throwing as well against everybody, still pitched well against left-handers.
Thats been the key role for Matusz, shutting down left-handers. Hes now also shutting down some right-handers, using his good control to make good pitches all the time and working with Darren ODay to kind of take over the set-up role from a struggling Pedro Strop.
Strop had been serving as the set-up guy for Jim Johnson for much of the season before having trouble in September. Now, the combination of ODay and Matusz has been working nicely for the Orioles in that spot in the several games last few weeks, especially during these early playoff games.
ODays been tough against right-handed batters like Alex Rodriguez, whom the submariner struck out again in this game. Matusz then comes in often against lefties and takes care of them.
As a reliever, my focus now is just come in, attack the zone, throw strikes and throw my best stuff, Matusz said. Its a lot more fun coming to work every day knowing I have the possibility of getting in.
And finding success.

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Orioles' Adam Jones purchases Cal Ripken Jr.'s former estate, per report

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Orioles' Adam Jones purchases Cal Ripken Jr.'s former estate, per report

Cal Ripken Jr.'s 25-acre, 8,545 square-foot home went up for auction this past Saturday and the highest bidder was......Adam Jones? 

The center fielder is purchasing the Orioles legend's former Reisterstown, Md. estate, according to The Athletic

Placed on the market in 2016 for $12.5 million, Ripken reduced the price to $9.7 million last year but was still unable to find a willing buyer. The estate was eventually put up for auction and sold to Jones for an undisclosed amount. 

The six bedroom home has 10 full bathrooms, a movie theater, a gym that overlooks an indoor basketball court, a pool and a baseball field with batting cages, a locker room and soaking tubs. One of the tubs was taken from Memorial Stadium and used by Johnny Unitas and Art Donovan, but Ripken is keeping that one. 

What makes this purchase even more interesting is that Jones will become a free agent at the end of the 2018 season, but that does not mean he plans on re-signing with the team. The 32-year old, who is in his last year of a six-year $85.5 million contract, is known to dip his toes in real estate investments and his wife, Audie Fugett, is a Baltimore native. 

The deal is scheduled to close on June 11. 


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David Price's complete game shuts down Baltimore's offense


David Price's complete game shuts down Baltimore's offense

BOSTON -- One strike away from a four-hit shutout, David Price happily settled for a complete game and his strongest outing of the season.

Price struck out eight and held Baltimore to five hits, including two in the ninth when the Orioles broke up the shutout before the Boston left-hander finished them off in a 6-2 victory for the Red Sox on Thursday night.

"He was amazing," Boston manager Alex Cora said. "He was outstanding. You saw it. Bad swings, up, down, in and out, changeup, cutter, sinkers ... that was fun to watch."

J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer in the first, and Xander Bogaerts homered with two on during a four-run fifth, giving Price more than enough cushion against the struggling Orioles.

Price (4-4) struck out eight and didn't walk a batter while winning consecutive starts for the first time this season. He cruised through the first eight innings before Andrew Susac led off the ninth with a double, the first Baltimore player to reach second base in the game.

Manny Machado spoiled the shutout bid with a two-out homer, but Price finished off Baltimore on Jonathan Schoop's pop-up to center as the Red Sox improved to 4-0 against Baltimore by taking the makeup game that was rained out on Patriots' Day.

"They're a free-swinging team," said Price, who threw just 95 pitches. "You can go out there and do that or you can go out there for three innings and give up a bunch of runs."

Danny Valencia had a pair of hits for the punchless Orioles, who have lost three of four and have the second-fewest wins in the American League. Valencia nearly had a double in the fifth, but got thrown out at second by left fielder Andrew Benintendi, one of several strong defensive plays that helped Price go the distance.

Hanley Ramirez also caught a foul pop on the top step of Boston's dugout in the second and Mookie Betts ran down a fly ball that was headed to the wall in right.

"The defensive plays that I had today, it makes everything a lot easier," Price said.

Kevin Gausman (3-3) went 4 2/3 innings for Baltimore, allowing six runs and eight hits while striking out six and walking two. He was pulled after Bogaerts drove a high fastball out to left with two men on during Boston's four-run fifth.

"We just got into some sticky situations where we just had to dig ourselves out of a hole and we just couldn't," Susac said.

The Orioles also weren't happy with the strike zone, which Susac said forced Gausman to throw some pitches the Red Sox pounced upon.

Manager Buck Showalter agreed with his catcher.

"I'm very biased, but I didn't think he got a fair shake tonight," Showalter said. "There were a lot of pitches that could have and should have gone his way."