If we’ve said it once we’ve said it a million times – good pitching will shut down good hitting. We saw that across the board in yesterday’s 1-0 victory for the Baltimore Orioles over Seattle. And when I say across the board, I mean on both sides. Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma matched Chris Tillman point-for-point. While Iwakuma nearly pitched a complete game, Tillman (who only pitched seven innings) was just a hair better.
Tillman gave the Orioles all that he had yesterday, and at one point retired 14 consecutive Seattle hitters. Tillman’s line: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K. Needless to say, that’s about as “on one’s game” as a guy can be – whether it occur on “Tillman Island” or not. Tillman obviously was pitching well enough to go the entire game, however he was lifted after those solid seven innings due to high pitch count.
So here we are, less than 150 words into this morning’s game recap, and I’m going to report the first and only scoring play of the game. When Nick Markakis sent a 3-2 pitch over the scoreboard in right field to lead off the game, nobody in attendance thought that would be the only run of the game. Quite frankly, had someone told me that the O’s would be kept off the scoreboard for the rest of the day, I would have predicted a loss – and a big one at that.
However the fact that the lone run off the bat of Markakis stood up and delivered the Orioles to
a game and series victory over Seattle is a testament to Chris Tillman and to the bullpen of the Baltimore Orioles. As I said, Tillman went through the middle innings by retiring 14 consecutive Seattle hitters.
Tillman came out of the game after the seventh inning, and Orioles fans got their second look at Andrew Miller who was traded to the Birds of course on Thursday from Boston. Miller retired Seattle 1-2-3, and bridging the gap from Tillman to the ninth inning. Zach Britton retired the first two ninth inning batters with east, but then walked Robinson Cano and took Kendrys Morales to a full count before striking him out looking to end the game.
While it goes down in the scorebook as just a simple 1-2-3 inning, I think we’ve seen thus far why the Orioles were so hot on Andrew Miller. Certainly it’s not always going to be that easy, however Miller’s answered the call each time it’s come thus far. And we shouldn’t forget that the whole deal of going from the team you’ve known all year long and being traded to a new team mid-year isn’t easy.
The other side of this game is of course the fact that the O’s could only muster the one run. I would submit that run-scoring can in fact be cyclical. There were several games last month whereby the O’s were consistently scoring 5+ runs in games. Now it seems the bats have gone quiet for some time. Luckily for the O’s, the pitching has really stepped up as the bats have quieted down. Again, all of this is cyclical.
After taking two-of-three from Seattle, the Orioles will tonight head down the pike to DC where they’ll make up the game that was rained out on July 8th. It’ll be interesting to see who sits tonight, as with the O’s playing in Nationals Park they’ll have to surrender their DH. Might it be Chris Davis, with Steve Pearce playing first base? Time will tell. Kevin Gausman will get the ball tonight, and he’ll be opposed by Washington’s Tanner Roark.