By Matt Snyder
Orioles starting pitcher Brian Matusz had a bad night Thursday. The 24-year-old lefty continued to suffer from a velocity drop and was hammered by the visiting Cardinals. Then, almost immediately after the game concluded, news broke that the Orioles had optioned Matusz to Triple-A (Baltimore Sun via Twitter).
In the loss to the Cardinals, Matusz only made it through 3 1/3 innings, giving up nine hits and eight earned runs before being mercifully removed. He gave up home runs to Lance Berkman and Jon Jay -- and it was the first home run of Jay's major-league career against a left-handed pitcher.
The outing was just another in a line of horrible starts for Matusz. In his three previous games, he was 0-3 with an 11.12 ERA and had given up six home runs in 11 1/3 innings. In that three-game stretch -- which doesn't include the Thursday-night debacle -- Matusz was allowing opponents to hit .392 with a 1.271 OPS against him. To be more succinct: He's just getting crushed by major leaguers. A noticeable dip in velocity will do that, and now Matusz can work on things in the minors.
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