After Saturday’s thrilling win against the Detroit Tigers, things seem to have only gotten worse for the Orioles. They lost on Sunday, and figured their first stop on a weeklong road trip against the woeful Minnesota Twins might do some good.
Sadly, it would not go as planned. The Orioles were hoping for another good start from Chris Tillman and were optimistic in his abilities after throwing 8 1/3 highly effective innings against the Seattle Mariners right before the All-Star break.
Baltimore would get their you-know-what handed to them as Minnesota killed them by a score of 19-7.
It was ugly for Tillman as he only lasted 2/3 innings and gave up six runs. Then the bullpen came onboard, and the results were ugly for them too. Overall, it was an ugly night in the Midwest, and the Orioles would benefit from erasing the ugliness from Monday out of their system.
Pretty much every pitcher who came into the game – with the exception of Troy Patton and Matt Lindstrom – gave up a run and just looked taxed. Even Jim Johnson, the All-Star closer, gave up 5 runs in 1/3 of an inning (in the ninth) in mop-up duty and trying to get some work in.
Despite the horrific pitching, Mark Reynolds had three hits, homered and drove in four runs. Both Nick Markakis and Adam Jones had three hits, plus Endy Chavez plated in two runs.
On the other hand, the Twins treated the Orioles like garbage as Ben Revere had four hits and drove in three; meanwhile, Denard Span drove in five and Joe Mauer, Jamey Carroll along with Ryan Doumit plated in two runs reach.
However, the story of the night was Tillman for the Orioles. We’ve seen him struggle with inconsistency since he was traded from the Mariners to the Orioles. It seems while he has shown flashes of brilliance, Tillman can never figure himself out and looks like a different pitcher from start to start.
Many have called him a Four-A pitcher, and while down in Norfolk this season, according to the local media, he has improved his mechanics and succeeded.
I guess now we all have to wonder if his start two weeks ago was a fluke, or if Tillman can ever be the pitcher many envision him to be. I’m sure he will get another opportunity on the mound for Baltimore; however, for a team with a shaky pitching situation, who knows.
Tillman’s outing – although an extreme example – is emblematic as to how the Orioles have looked the past month and a half. Despite being able to hit home runs, they need pitching , and maybe two guys – Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez – are giving the Orioles quality outings. With Jason Hammel hurt, the Orioles need strong performances on the mound if they are even going to stay in the playoff hunt.
With the way things are going, the Orioles are going to fade. The signs are already there – it is the matter of now if things can be turned around? They need help, but it may not come from the trade market – it will have to be from within for now.
The Orioles are amazinglystill in second place in the American League East; albeit, they are now nine games behind the New York Yankees. Baltimore is now 46-43 on the season and are 4-6 in their last ten games.
They need a clutch performance from southpaw Zach Britton – in his first start of the year – if the Orioles are able to turn around their slide.