If you’re wondering about the title; I come from an Italian family, of course I’m a Sinatra fan! That said, thus far Chicago has been the type of town that’s been kind to the Baltimore Orioles, as they came off another victory there last night to the tune of 5-1 over the ChiSox. It would stand to reason that the Birds should become comfortable in Chicago given the fact that when all’s said and done they’ll have been there for a week. And they certainly made themselves right at home last night.
Chris Tillman put out perhaps his best outing of the season thus far last night. Tillman’s line: 8 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 9 K.
about that for a moment; nine strikeouts! It’s debatable as to whether or not that or any start was his best of the season. But it has to rank up there. Tillman’s at his best when he’s getting his off speed pitches (especially his curve ball) over for strikes. He was doing tha masterfully last night.
The Birds took an early 1-0 lead when Adam Jones singled Steve Pearce home in the first inning. But as I said, Tillman was getting his off speed pitches over for strikes; and Jose Abreu hit one of those strikes out of the ballpark in the last of the first to tie the game at one. But the result doesn’t necessarily mean that was a bad pitch; if it was, it was the only one he threw all night.
The game remained knotted at one through the sixth inning. And just as the thought of a marathon extra-inning game was starting to creep into one’s mind, the Baltimore Orioles struck. Following a one-out double by Jones, Delmon Young smacked an RBI-single and the O’s held a 2-1 lead. Young, mind you not really a risk to steal, got ansy at first base and took off on an apparent hit-and-run later in the inning with two gone an Hardy at the plate. Both Hardy and Young seemed to get the sign, as Hardy swung through and lined a seeing-eye single into center to put runners at the corners.
That small aspect of the game was a huge factor. I personally didn’t expect to see Young in motion, and neither did Chicago. But as a result of that, Chris Davis‘ subsequent double plated two runs and gave the Birds a 4-1 lead. Throw in a Nick Hundley solo homer which seemed to say “fly with me” (yeah, I know…weak Sinatra reference there!) as it went deep into the Chicago night, and the O’s had a 5-1 lead which turned into a 5-1 victory.
I’m not sure that many fans and analysts would have predicted earlier this year that Oriole pitching would take such a lead at this stage of the year. However the starters have been dominant in a sense, with a few exceptions. Buck Showalter is attempting to shore up that rotation even more, and bearing that in mind he announced before the game that Ubaldo Jimenez was going to be working primarily out of the bullpen moving forward. At the same time, he told the media that Miguel Gonzalez would be making the start in the final game at Wrigley Field this coming Sunday. That means that at some point between then and now, someone will be optioned to make room for Gonzalez – probably a reliever.