Manager Buck Showalter began his postgame session with the media by talking about Chris Tillman’s poor performance in a 6-3 loss to the White Sox. It wasn’t until about halfway through that he mentioned a roster move.
Tillman was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk, and Showalter said a reliever would fill the roster spot. He didn’t mention anyone by name, but it’s Willie Eyre.
Tillman allowed six runs and eight hits in 2 2/3 innings. He threw 77 pitches, 47 for strikes.
“It’s frustrating,” Showalter said. “It happens with young pitchers at this level. It’s a big jump. Just wasn’t very crisp. Location of his fastball wasn’t very good. Didn’t get any counts and didn’t really establish anything. Tilly just never got anything going his way. I thought he might settle in and give us some innings, but even the second inning, you could tell it was going to be a struggle. It was just a matter of how much we could get out of him.”
The Orioles need Tillman to become more consistent, rather than offer brief flashes of his potential.
“I’m sure it’s frustrating for him, too,” Showalter said. “There’s just so many opportunities here to establish yourself and he hasn’t been able to do it on a consistent basis. Keep in mind he’s 23 years old. We’ve got guys pitching in the Carolina League his age. Everybody does. It’s just staying together with his delivery and maturing about certain things that go into being a good pitcher at this level.
“You see (Mark) Buehrle out there, and as soon as it goes 4- and 6-0, it just plays right into his hands. He takes your aggressiveness and uses it against you. He has so many things to speed you up and slow you down. If you had to pick a guy to pitch when you get in that situation, he’s a blueprint.”
Turning his attention to the roster move, Showalter said, “We’re going to have to turn Tilly around tonight for a relief pitcher because of the shortened outing. We basically have got Troy (Patton) and that’s about it. I feel real lucky we were able to stay away from him. It was tough. Bergy (Brad Bergesen) was the key to that. If we’re able to win tomorrow, a lot of that will have to do with the job Brad did tonight.”
Nick Markakis hit his 100th career home run tonight, accounting for the Orioles’ last two runs.
“Nicky, I tell you what, as you know, he’s a tinkerer and does a lot of adjusting,” Showalter said. “He’s made another little adjustment, one that the ball’s really coming off his bat pretty solid. He got us back thinking we can get back in that. The bullpen did its job. We just didn’t do much off Buehrle after the third run.”
In case you missed it, pitcher Dan Klein will be examined again by Dr. Lewis Yocum on Aug. 15. He tried throwing Monday and yesterday, and he continues to have discomfort in his right shoulder.