At some point you have to figure that the pendulum will swing back in the Baltimore Orioles’ direction. There’s A LOT of season to play – and by that, I mean there are 158 games left. However tonight wasn’t the time for the law of averages to even things out, and Chris Tillman apparently wasn’t the pitcher to do it. Tillman’s line: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 BB, 0 K.
Tillman was up in the strike zone for most of the night. And that’s a really dangerous place to be against a team that’s perfectly happy hitting the ball where it’s pitched. And that’s what Houston does. Now one thing that isn’t Chris Tillman’s fault is the Orioles’ offensive output – which was non-existent for the second straight game.
Back-to-back doubles in the first inning set the tone for the game, resulting in an RBI-double by Bregman. However Tillman showed some flashes of settling down after that point. He was still up in the zone, however he was also able to induce guys to chase some of those pitches. Tillman put up goose eggs in the runs column in both the second and third innings.
However the fourth did Tillman in. A Gaonzalez solo homer, a Fischer RBI-triple, and a Springer RBI-single gave Houston a 4-0 lead. Altuve would add an RBI-double in the sixth, and Fischer a sac fly-RBI in the seventh. At the end of the day, the Birds were almost shut out for the second consecutive game. I say almost, because the O’s did get on the board in the ninth on a Trey Mancini solo homer.
It’s tough to finger which is more pressing issue; pitching or hitting. I would submit…neither at this point. We’re four games in, folks. Consider that; four games in! Now I’m not going to suggest that those four games have been things of beauty (with the exception of perhaps the first one), however 2.5% of the year a season does not make.
This is not to say that the O’s don’t need to take notice of what’s going on. Four innings of shaky ball at best isn’t going to cut it out of the O’s. Now in fairness they did square some balls up against this Houston team tonight. The Houston defense just managed to make gold glove plays to rob the Birds of base hits.
Going back to Tillman, he needs to hit his spots. He also needs to work on his release point, which in my assessment was part of his issue. When he held onto the ball in his windup just a bit longer, he hit his spots perfectly. One positive point of this game was that at the tail end of the game we saw one or two things start to change. Chris Davis smacked his first hit of the season in the eighth, and of course Mancini’s aforementioned homer. But the Orioles will need more of this and then some to get things turned around.