Game 2 preview: Miguel Gonzalez, Brian Matusz

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

A scouting report.

The Starter

Like Chris Tillman, who pitched yesterday, Miguel Gonzalez is a pitcher overperforming his peripherals (3.57 ERA, 4.29 SIERA). I find his repertoire slightly more interesting, although it's not overwhelming.

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via pitchfx.texasleaguers.com

The not that young (29) but second year Mexican pitcher's fastball and sinker both average 91 mph, his changeup (splitter?) averages 83 mph, his slider is in mid 80s and his, tight (read: not a lot of break) curve is in the high 70s.

The pitch to watch out for is the splitter. He throws it 23% of the time to lefties (opposite handers), but only 9% of the time to righties (according to Brooks Baseball). Against either, though, it's his most whiff-inducing pitch. The fact that he's either posted neutral or reverse splits throughout his career might have something to do with him going away from his best pitch in favor of his inferior slider and curve against righties.

A Reliever

When a right handed pitcher starts for the Orioles and Matt Joyce starts for the Rays, it is a safe bet to say that at some point later on in the game, Brian Matusz will come on to face Joyce. At that point, Joyce will either be pulled for a right handed bat or will strike out.

Matusz was once considered a part of the future Orioles rotation. In 2009, he dominated double-A before being jumped straight to the majors, where he made hay as a 22 year old with a 4.08 FIP. He was nearly the same in 2010, before suffering an intercostal strain to start the 2011 season. He never regained his effectiveness. The Orioles have salvaged some value, though, by turning him into one of the league's premier LOOGYs.

Now he attacks the top left handed bats in the league with slider after slider, and with great success, although he is especially susceptible to righties. Since assuming his new role, Matusz has posted an xFIP against lefties under three, and an xFIP against righties over five.

4510852013050120130819aaaaamovement_medium

via pitchfx.texasleaguers.com

His heater hovers just above 90 mph, but has good bump. His slider comes in fast by comparison, averaging around 85 mph. The changeup is in the low 80s and the curve in the high 70s. He might make Joyce look bad tonight, and while it will be tempting to snarl at Joyce for his one dimensionality as we often do, this is not a matchup he, or any other of the top lefty sluggers in the league, is likely to win.

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