Who’s to say why on some nights starting pitchers just “don’t have it.” However be it for one reason or another, Chris Tillman didn’t have it last night in Texas. Tillman’s line: 1 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 1 K. In a nutshell, Tillman struggled to get strike one against most hitters. Those hitters would then turn around and end up with lengthy at-bats, which drove up Tillman’s pitch count.
Texas jumped on Tillman early by putting up two runs in the first inning off of an RBI-single by Mitch Moreland. Michael Choice would shoot a two-run homer into the seats an inning later, and Elvis Andrus would tack on an RBI-single. That chased Tillman and Buck Showalter called for Brad Bach out of the ‘pen.
However there are two ways to look at being down that big so early; one is that you wonder how many more runs the opponent might score in the seven or eight innings left in the game. The second is to convince yourself that you yourself have plenty of time to come back in the game. Luckily for the Baltimore Orioles, they chose the latter option last night.
The Orioles chipped away in the third when Nick Markakis followed a David Lough double with a two-run homer. That put the O’s back in the game, but it wasn’t until the fifth that they started to take over control of it. Adam Jones‘ two-RBI double brought the Orioles to within one, and Chris Davis‘ RBI-double tied the O’s at five.
Tillman of course benefited from the Orioles’ comeback, as he was off the hook for the loss. The unsung hero of last night’s game was reliever Brad Brach, who held things right where they were for 3.1 innings. Unfortunately for Brach that might also signal a trip back to the minors (since he has options), as the O’s might have to make another roster move due to the bullpen being taxed before tonight’s game. As for Tillman, the questions continue to mount regarding his health. Both he and Showalter claim that he’s healthy; fans should have no reason to believe otherwise, especially considering that the Texas humidity has humbled many decent pitchers.
We also saw a rarity last night in that J.J. Hardy committed three errors in the field. Chalk that up once again to it happens. However that unfortunately helped Texas to re-take the lead in the seventh, as Odor reached second after an infield single and an error by Hardy. Elvis Andrus also reached first base on a Hardy error, which allowed Odor to score and give Texas a 6-5 lead. Texas would add two further RBI-singles in the inning, which left the O’s down 8-5.
The O’s would attempt to make a comeback as Adam Jones homered in the top of the eighth, cutting the Texas lead to 8-6. However every dog has it’s day as the saying goes, and this was to be Texas’. The Orioles completed the ten-game road swing at 5-5, although they certainly came on in the second half of the road trip. Even last night in a losing effort, they managed to put six runs on the board. The good news for the Birds is that they’ll get 20 of their next 26 at home. While the going’s been tough at the yard this year, it helps to get into a routine to have long home stands.
We’ll see where things stand with the bullpen later today, however I wouldn’t be surprised to see a roster move of some sort made. For what it’s worth, Kevin Gausman’s listed as the Orioles’ starter tomorrow night. The Oakland A’s come to town this weekend in what should be a great series. Wei-Yin Chen will get the ball tonight, and he’ll be opposed by Oakland’s Tommy Milone.