Originally posted on Oriole Post  |  Last updated 2/26/12

If the Orioles are going to start to climb out of the basement, the organization will need to rely on their pitching corps.

With the season starting in a little bit more than a month, everyone is keeping a keen eye on southpaw Brian Matusz.

As the team is still in a rebuilding phase, despite the addition of talent onto the roster – how they will do next season and beyond will depend on their pitching. Well, Matusz is an essential part of that; therefore, everyone is hoping for the best for him and the young supply of arms in the organization.

It is no secret that 2011 was rough on the young pitcher. He started the season on the disabled list and made a few rehab starts in the minors until he came back to the majors in June.

From there, it was a disaster. Matusz shuffled between the majors and minors; alas, the results were not good. He finished the year with a 1-9 record and a 10.69 ERA.

It was awful to see Matusz suffer through that'; therefore, I’m sure the Orioles had doubts whether or not he could climb out of his struggles.

Matusz – by media reports in the past week or so – looks better that he did last year in camp so far down in camp. He seems to be in a lot better frame of mind, healthier, and has given a lot of credit to working with Brady Anderson and pitching coach Rick Adair.

Hopefully, his arm and confidence comes back. If it does not, Matusz will need to locate his pitches effectively and realize that the margin for error may become razor thin. I do not see that much reason to worry unless he starts getting shelled on a regular basis.

There’s a reason why the Orioles made him their number one pick in 2008 and he jumped through several levels of the minor league system – skipping Triple-A entirely – before debuting as a big leaguer in August 2009.

Despite his struggles, Matusz probably still has what made him remarkable on the mound within his pitching arsenal. He just needs to find it and get back on track. Matusz may start the season in on the major league roster or in the minors; however, hopefully he has learned a lot over the past few years.

As it is, the Orioles will only get better if the pitching situation improves. Let’s hope Matusz is still part of the solution.

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