Baltimore Orioles: Chris Tillman, pitching staff must improve
If the Baltimore Orioles aren’t going to drop totaly out of the playoff race early this month, they’ll need to have to have better games out of starters than what Chris Tillman provided today. Tillman’s line: 3 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 3 K. In fairness, Toronto starter Estrada was far from on the ball today – not even remotely close. He was everywhere expect in the strike zone in the first couple of innings – yet Oriole bats couldn’t get a hit until the fifth, and consistently let him off the hook.
Josh Donaldson got Toronto going in the first inning with an RBI-double, which was followed up by a two-run homer off the bat of Bautista. Troy Tulowitzki added a two-run homer of his own in the last of the third, and the O’s trailed 5-0. One inning later it was 6-0 after a solo shot off the bat of Pillar.
Call to the Pen
However the Orioles did mount a bit of a rally in the sixth inning. Ryan Flaherty smacked a two-run homer of his own to cut the lead to 6-2. Later in the inning Jimmy Paredes came up with Jones already on base. Paredes’ RBI-double cut the Toronto lead to 6-3. At that time, it appeared that the Birds might have a fighting chance. However Toronto shut the door almost immediately.
Donaldson struck again with a sac fly-RBI in the last of the sixth, and Bautista added an RBI-double down the line in left. Edwin Encarnacion‘s RBI-double ran the score to 9-3, and effectively put the game out of reach for the Orioles. Toronto would also add a sac fly-RBI off the bat of Carerra in the 8th. Nolan Reimold would add a solo homer for the O’s in the ninth, which would cut the final tally to 10-4.
Courtesy of Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
As I’ve said many times, both for good and for ill, it all begins and ends with starting pitching. Had Tillman been able to keep Toronto at bay, the Orioles would have had a better shot in this game. With the exception of Jimenez on Friday, that’s how it’s been of late for the most part. I’ve used the term tired bats with regard to the offense over time; I think there are also have some tired arms in the Orioles’ arsenal. While the rotation has long been a work in progress, that work has taken it’s toll in August and into September.
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But again as I said above, the Orioles let Toronto off the hook a bit in this game. Estrada was wild from the beginning, even having to resort to intentionally walking Davis in the first inning. Yet the O’s couldn’t muster anything. You have to take advantage when opportunities arise. Toronto certainly did, whether they were the Orioles’ “fault” or not. If you view mistakes by the opposition as an opportunity as opposed to a break, you’re going to be in good shape.
After dropping two-of-three in Toronto, the Birds now get to head back to the states. They’ll open up a three-game set in New York with a Labor Day matinee tomorrow. Wei-Yin Chen will get the ball for the Orioles at Yankee Stadium. He’ll be opposed by New York’s Michael Pineda. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.
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