Baltimore Orioles: Four-run first inning sinks Chris Tillman

Chris Tillman put the Baltimore Orioles in a pickle last night. Not just with regard to last night’s game, but moving forward as well. Series’ at Fenway Park aren’t easy on visiting teams. The fact that Tillman made an early exit from the game could tax the bullpen going forward. Tillman’s line: 2.0 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 0 K.

The O’s took an early 1-0 lead thanks to Adam Jones sac fly-RBI. But that’s as close as the Birds got. Boston would tie the game in the bottom of the first with a sac fly-RBI of their own, and then Nunez’s three-run homer would give them a quick 4-1 lead.

Betts’ RBI-double in the second would add to Boston’s lead, and after hitting a batter to load the bases with nobody out in the third, Tillman would hit the showers. A run would score after he left on a wild pitch, which closed the book on Chris Tillman for the game. Tillman wasn’t fooling anyone during his outing, and as a result was asked after the game if perhaps his problems  were stemming from issues with his mechanics (all quotes courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

I mean, there might be. It didn’t feel like it. I felt like my last start was worse mechanically than this one. It comes down to execution. When you miss with the first one, you’ve got to try to get back into the count and you fight an uphill battle at that point, especially against a team like this. You’ve got to stay ahead and work with the count in your favor.

The good news is that the Orioles’ ‘pen really stepped up and held Boston at bay after that. Boston would scorer once more on a wild pitch in the sixth, which really just drives home the point that if you get runners on base good things might happen. The Birds would net two more runs in the seventh on Machado’s two-RBI double, but Boston shut them down other than that.

To add injury to insult, the Orioles lifted Jonathan Schoop from the game in the seventh inning after he felt a twinge in his side while swinging. This according to manager Buck Showalter:

He had some discomfort in his side and we decided to get him out of there to be on the safe side. That last swing he took.

While Schoop is struggling a bit at the plate, the O’s don’t want to lose him. According to the Orioles last night, his status in the lineup today is very much in question. It’s definitely something to watch.

The series continues this afternoon at Fenway Park. Alex Cobb will make his Orioles’ debut and first start of the season, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Hector Velazquez. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

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