Chris Tillman pitched a gem as the Baltimore Orioles salvaged a game in Tampa.
The Baltimore Orioles got perhaps the best starting pitching performance of the young season out of Chris Tillman last night, as they defeated Tampa 3-1. Tillman’s line: 6.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K. Yes folks, nine strikeouts. Tillman pulled a lot of strings last night and worked his off speed pitches very well. His fastball wasn’t too shabby either.
At one point during last night’s game I tweeted that the O’s needed to be careful. Once again Tampa was forcing them into playing “their game” (Tampa’s that it). Tampa’s not a team that can win games in a shootout. However they will win their share of pitcher’s duels, and in most cases they’ll beat you with experience in that sense.
So here the Orioles were in another pitcher’s duel in Tampa last night, however this time their starter didn’t throw one bad pitch or remain in the game for perhaps one batter too many. Everything seemed to flow properly in a sense, which is part of what has to happen in order to win games. That’s not to say that Tampa wasn’t up to their normal tricks – wherever the O’s seemed to hit the ball, there would be a Tampa fielder there to make an amazing play.
Call to the Pen
That was the case until the fifth inning, at least. Tampa issued a two-out walk and then allowed a single, bringing Joey Rickard to the plate. And Rickard hit the ball where it was impossible for a Tampa fielder to get to it, that being into the stands. And there’s also a lesson in that for every team, one that we already know and have heard time and time again…
…nothing good ever happens after a walk. I would submit that a lot of pitchers don’t feel too badly about walking someone with two outs, because it’s only one base runner and you just have to record one out before that guy can come around to score. And in many cases that’s true. However a walk here and a single there…and suddenly you have a big inning on your hands.
I’ll grant that you’d rather walk someone after recording to quick outs than you would to lead off an inning. That certainly goes without saying. However the idea is not to put yourself into that situation to begin with. Anytime someone’s on base, you just never know what could happen. A wild pitch, pass ball, etc…and suddenly that guy’s in scoring position or worse yet he scores.
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Tampa would net a run late in the game – about as late as you could possibly get, that is. With two outs in the last of the ninth Pearce’s RBI-single cut the Orioles’ lead to 3-1. However Britton was able to close the game without any further threat, allowing the Birds to salvage one game in Tampa.
The O’s will now mercifully head home, after seemingly playing nothing but road games thus far. To add insult to injury on that front, they of course had a short three-game homestand last week with their series against Toronto. It’s tough to come home from the road only to pick right back up and go out again. But starting tonight they open up a ten-game homestand, which includes a day off next Monday.
It’ll be the hot ChiSox coming into to Camden Yards this evening to open the homestand for the Birds. Tyler Wilson will head to the mound for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s John Danks. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.