Contrary to what his numbers state, Chris Tillman turned in his best outing of the season yesterday. And no, that’s not said with sarcasm – he put the O’s in a position to win. Tillman’s line: 5.1 IP, 11 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 6 K. Again, the numbers don’t indicate that; but it’s true.
Tillman ended up a hard-luck loser yesterday in my book. The bad news is that the Orioles fell to 1-7 on what was a disasterous road trip. The good news is that the rotation has actually gotten better, as has the bullpen. After Tillman exited yesterday the ‘pen didn’t give up any runs.
Tillman kept Chicago off the board until the last of the fourth when Davidson smacked a solo home run. They say however that solo homers won’t beat you for the most part, and that was certainly true yesterday. One inning later Caleb Joseph‘s RBI-double tied the game at one. However despite having numerous runners on base, that’s all the Orioles could muster.
And incidentally, that’s my argument against small ball right there. If you think small, you’re going to be small. Granted at the time, that was a big hit by Joseph because it tied the game. But with the power of which this Orioles team is capable, they should have gotten more than one run in that inning.
With nobody gone in the sixth, Tillman had runners at first and second with Smith coming to bat. Conventional wisdom said that this could be a bunt situation, however Smith’s a guy who had never laid down a sac bunt in his life. Furthermore Chicago had Garcia, a young player, on deck. Would he be able to get those runners home?
In fact, Chicago disregarded those factors and had the sac bunt on. And go figure, Smith still doesn’t have a sac bunt to his name…because he froze the Oriole infield when he laid the bunt down, and it ended up being an infield single. That’s why I say that Tillman is a hard-luck loser, because the defense behind him failed him in that instance. It doesn’t happen a lot, but when the Oriole infield makes mistakes other teams take advantage.
Tillman struck out Garcia, however that brought Cabrera to the plate and his two-RBI single gave Chicago a 3-1 lead and chased Tillman. Abreu would later walk in a run and Garcia would add a sac fly-RBI to run the score to 5-1. Throughout this bad stretch for the Orioles, opponents have always taken advantage of every Oriole miscue like clockwork. Yet, the O’s seem to invent ways to let their opponents off the hook – like only netting the one run in the fifth inning.
Castillo would smack a solo homer for the O’s in the top of the ninth, but this goes as another loss at 5-2. Again, opponents are really getting rich off of mistakes that the Orioles are making. And they’re rare mistakes at that, such as balls dropping in the outfield, errors in the infield, and so forth. They’re probably made out of frustration and an overwhelming sense of urgency, but other teams are making the Orioles pay for every mistake they make. The Birds need to find a way to flip that script – and quick.
The Orioles will now come home in hopes that some home cooking will give them some help – they’ll open up a three-game interleague series against St. Louis. Kevin Gausman will get the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by St. Louis’ Carlos Martinez. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.