Brian Matusz is making a case to come back to Baltimore.
The lefty was named the International League Pitcher of the Week today after his first start in Triple-A Norfolk on Friday. Tides outfielder Nate McLouth took the honors for Batter of the Week.
Matusz tossed a complete game shutout in a 4-0 win over Charlotte, surrendering four hits and a walk while striking out four. Eighty-one of his 114 pitches were strikes, and he outdueled rehabbing Phillip Humber, who threw a perfect game for the Chicago White Sox earlier this season.
The 25-year-old Matusz had struggled mightily with the Orioles in June, losing six of his last seven starts, including his final five outings, before being sent down.
Matusz’s numbers in Baltimore had been anything but stellar -- 5-10 with a 5.42 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP in 2012. After opening the year 0-3, he settled down in May, winning four of his next six starts. He gave up more than three runs just once in that time to claw back to 4-5.
After perhaps his finest start of the season, a 2-1 win over Tampa where he surrendered just a run and two hits in 7 1/3 innings, it all went south for Matusz. He didn’t last a full six innings in his next five outings, giving up 20 earned runs, 41 hits and 13 walks in 21 1/3 innings of work, and was sent down to Norfolk.
It's just one start, but if he continues to be efficient in Triple-A, Matusz will likely get another shot with the Orioles this season. He still has a long way to go before he reaches the level Baltimore management hoped he would when they selected him fourth overall in 2008, but Matusz's first start in Triple-A proves he's poised to show his worth on the field and not let getting sent down affect him.