BALTIMORE -- The Orioles optioned struggling starter Brian Matusz to Triple-A Norfolk following Sunday's 6-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians.
The 25-year-old Matusz has been marred in a tough stretch since making perhaps his best outing of the season June 2 against Tampa Bay, and continued that downturn Sunday in allowing five runs (four earned) on five hits in only four innings. In his last five outings, Matusz has pitched to an 8.44 ERA, failing to record an out in the sixth inning in any of them. He has given up 40 hits and 13 walks in that span, posting a 2.48 WHIP.
Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said Matusz -who suffered his fifth consecutive loss Sunday - is a few changes away from being a successful Major League pitcher and the club is hoping he can turn things around in the Minors. There was no immediate corresponding roster move, but Duquette said the club will recall a pitcher and try to bolster a struggling staff internally.
In the last six games, a streak spanning two Matusz starts, O's starters have pitched to an 11.42 ERA, allowing 48 hits and nine home runs in only 26 innings. Chris Tillman and lefty Zach Britton -who was slated to pitch for Norfolk Sunday night - are both options to take Matusz's start with long reliever Miguel Gonzalez not being considered for the rotation according to Duquette.
Matusz is 5-10 with a 5.42 ERA in 16 starts for Baltimore, on the heels of a disappointing 2011 in which he posted a 10.69 ERA, the highest ERA by a starter with 10 or more starts in baseball history.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.