Trying times for Tillman

I have only one question regarding the Barry Bonds verdict: Is this another intentional walk?

An Orioles-related question: Does it feel like they've lost three in a row? I have to remind myself because the first loss came in Game 2 of Saturday's doubleheader. Monday's open date and Tuesday's postponement have broken up the streak, but it does exist.

I walked away from my television numerous times last night, and not just because I was doing laundry, washing dishes, straightening up and heating leftovers for the kid. I couldn't sit through all nine innings when the game took such an ugly turn in the first two and A.J. Burnett was absolutely dealing.

Unfortunately, I missed Matt Wieters' two-run homer, his first of the season, but I made sure to catch the replay and read all the tweets. And I missed Brian Roberts' two-run homer in the same inning, but I made sure to...

You get the idea.

Roberts leads the Orioles in home runs and RBIs. Just what you'd expect from your leadoff hitter, right?

Chris Tillman raised more questions about his immediate and long-term future in the rotation after allowing six runs and nine hits in 1 2/3 innings. His next turn is Monday night against the Twins at Camden Yards.

Who's the alternative?

Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton, Jeremy Guthrie and Brad Bergesen will make the next four starts. At the same time that Tillman was being abused in the Bronx, Triple-A Norfolk's Ryan Drese was surrendering eight runs and 10 hits, and walking three batters, in five innings at Gwinnett.

The Tides' rotation also includes Rick VandenHurk, Chris George, Chorye Spoone and an injured Troy Patton.

Before anyone else suggests Jason Berken, he hasn't been stretched out enough. Getting three innings out of him would be the maximum unless he's ridiculously economical with his pitches.

Tillman's fastball rarely breaks 90 mph, but he says it isn't a health issue. Trouble getting loose? Taking something off it to improve his command?

Tillman often pitches up in the strike zone. It's not often recommended at 94 mph. It's definitely frowned upon at 86-89 mph.

I projected over the winter that Tillman and Zach Britton would begin the season at Norfolk. They're both in the majors, but only one of them is thriving. They're both here because Brian Matusz and Justin Duchscherer are on the disabled list.

Only one of them is thriving, and it isn't Chris Tillman.

What to do?

Shameless plug alert: I'm filling in for Dave Johnson today on The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report that airs from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on MASN.

Meanwhile, MASNsports.com's Steve Melewski and Pete Kerzel will be taking questions from fans at Hightopps Backstage Grille in Timonium beginning at 6 p.m. and continuing until first pitch. I'll join them after I leave the MASN studio.

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