Baltimore Orioles: Shock, awe, and a Chris Tillman gem
The Baltimore Orioles needed a win and a good perforance by Chris Tillman tonight – and badly at that. The good news is that they got both of those things. The bad news is…well, I suppose that there really isn’t any bad news on this night for the O’s. Tillman stepped up and delivered perhaps the best outing of his career in this evening’s 3-0 victory over Detroit.
This was a game in which Tillman retired the final 23 hitters of his outing before giving way to closer Zach Britton in the last of the ninth. Tillman’s line: 8 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K. I thought that Tillman was laboring a bit too much in the first inning, however he certainly rebounded. In fact, he kind of toe’d a fine line in a sense between a spectacular start and an average one in the first two or three innings. But he came out on top, and didn’t allow a base runner after the early part of the game.
Call to the Pen
It begins and ends with starting pitching; and Tillman proved that tonight.
Courtesy of Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
However once again, they struggled a bit with runners-in-scoring position, at one point going 0-for-4 in one inning. Granted that’s a statistical oddity given the fact that a Detroit error was figured in there, however it’s a part of the score book in tonight’s game. However the fact is that the Birds did what they needed to do to win this game – and it began and ended with Chris Tillman.
Manny Machado opened the scoring with an absolute bomb, which gave the Birds a 1-0 lead. They did have various other opportunities to pad that lead as the innings went on, however they couldn’t quite make it over the hump. But when a pitcher is as zoned in as Tillman was last night, doing just enough to win is fine by any manager.
Tillman’s true power pitch is his curveball – this in my view. He’s always had a decent fastball, and the fact is that if you can’t throw a big league fastball you’re not going to make it at the big league level. (I was told that by a former big league pitcher, and if you think about it there’s some sense to it.) That’s not usually a problem for Tillman, however his best games come when his offspeed and breaking pitches are dumping themselves into the zone and freezing hitters. That was happening all night during the course of this evening’s game.
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The O’s still held that slim 1-0 lead with two outs in the top of the ninth, and with two runners in scoring position. With a one-strike count, Caleb Joseph blooped a soft hit to center field, which scored both runners and gave the Birds a 3-0 lead. That gave them some padding and thus some room with which to manuever, however it wasn’t even necessary. They lifted Tillman after the eight innings, and Zach Britton sent Detroit down 1-2-3 to end the game.
The victory moved the Orioles back into third place and back to .500 on the year. They’re within four games of first place, after New York’s loss earlier today. The series in Detroit concludes tomorrow afternoon, with Miguel Gonzalez going to the mound for the Orioles. He’ll be opposed by none other than Justin Verlander of Detroit. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.
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