Baltimore Orioles, Chris Tillman Let Houston Off The Hook


Houston, we might have a problem. It’s tough to look Chris Tillman in the eye and “hold him accountable” for tonight’s 4-1 loss to Houston at Camden Yards. Tillman’s line: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 5 K. Tillman lowered his ERA from over six coming in, to 5.59.  However once again, he was failed by Baltimore Orioles’ bats.

It’s tough to pinpoint why the Orioles are struggling so much at the plate. They aren’t the most patient of teams, however they don’t hack, hack, and hack more, either. However it shouldn’t be lost on fans that every shift seems to work out for opposing teams, and as I said yesterday there are times when fielders nary have to move. That should tell someone that something needs to change or be shaken up.

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We did see some very good defense from the Orioles in this game however, as several hits and runs were saved early on. In the top of the fouth Luis Valbuena sent a double to David Lough in left field, with Preston Tucker at second. Lough relayed to J.J. Hardy at short, who threw Tucker out at home plate to preserve a scoreless draw.

However the Orioles had runners on base in this game, and they allowed Houston starter Scott Feldman to pitch out of jams. They grounded into three double-plays in the first three innings. And that in and of itself might be the theme of some of the Orioles’ struggles: they let people off the hook.

Courtesy of Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Buck Showalter is big on not providing excuses for why things aren’t going right. However opposing teams don’t even need to attest to that, as they keep getting let off the hook by the Orioles. The Birds did have a brief lead in this game, as Jimmy Paredes scored on Chris Davis’ sac fly-RBI in the sixth. It was another tough night at the plate for Davis, but he did drive in the Birds’ lone run.

With two outs in the seventh, Chris Carter’s RBI-single tied the game at one. Juan Castro would later come to the plate with Carter still on first, and double him home to give Houston a 2-1 lead. One inning later Valbuena’s two-RBI single would put Houston ahead for good at 4-1.

You never want to look back on your life feeling like you left opportunities on the table. That’s exactly what the O’s are doing in the first part of this season, as they’re leaving small armies of men on base. One has to hope that things change as some of the players start coming off the DL in the coming days. And in fairness, with so many injuries most people said all along that if the O’s can keep their heads above water they’ll have a chance.

If nothing else, the O’s might consider trying to bunt their way on base and around starting with tomorrow afternoon’s rubber match. Houston played a massive number of shifts, all of which seemed to work. This goes for getting guys on, getting them over, and…what the heck, even getting them in.

The series concludes late tomorrow afternoon with Ubaldo Jimenez on the mound for the Orioles. He’ll be opposed by Collin McHugh of Houston. Game time is set for just after 4:30, a start time which is a rarity for a mid-week game. Presumably, the O’s scheduled things as such so as to accomodate Houston, who’s traveling home after the game.

Next: Baltimore Orioles: Time to change philosophy?