On the same night that left-hander Brian Matusz was apparently making his last injury rehab start at Triple-A Norfolk, his good friend Chris Tillman couldn’t get out of the fifth inning in Oakland.
Tillman has allowed one earned run or fewer in four consecutive starts and five of six. However, his rising pitch counts continue to force him out of games in the middle innings and lead to a parade of relievers. He threw 102 tonight before heading to the bench for good.
This is the third-shortest outing for Tillman among his 10 starts. He went 1 2/3 innings April 13 in New York and 3 2/3 innings May 5 in Kansas City.
Tillman also went 4 2/3 innings in his second start in Detroit and has gone five innings in three other starts.
The Athletics scored twice against Tillman, but one run was unearned following a Mark Reynolds error. Tillman allowed six hits, walked three and hit a batter.
Considering that the Orioles played 12 innings on Thursday, having a starter leave after 4 1/3 innings tonight isn’t ideal.
We’ll find out tomorrow whether Pedro Viola is being recalled or just hanging in the clubhouse. Either way, he’ll bring a fresh arm.
Manager Buck Showalter will have to decide whether Tillman or Brad Bergesen step aside for Matusz, who is expected to start Wednesday in Seattle. Room must be created in the rotation. A pitcher could move to the bullpen or be optioned to Norfolk.
Matt Wieters caught two third-strike foul tips in the fifth inning, the second with Alfredo Simon on the mound. Showalter most certainly noticed.
Simon struck out two batters to leave the bases loaded after replacing Tillman.
It’s been a game of missed opportunities. The Orioles loaded the bases with no outs in the second inning, and Gio Gonzalez walked Reynolds to force in a run.
Given a chance to break open the game, the Orioles did nothing else. J.J. Hardy struck out and Jake Fox grounded into a double play.
The Orioles have hit into four double plays in six innings.
Update: The bullpen had strung together 15 consecutive scoreless innings before tonight, but you can toss that statistic out the window. Simon allowed three runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Why is it so tough for the Orioles to win in Oakland?