ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Not much to report before today’s series finale against the Rays, which also represents the final road game of the 2013 regular season.
Yes, I left the door open for the playoffs.
The Orioles are 39-41 on the road, assuring themselves of a losing record after leading the American League with 46 road wins in 2012.
As I wrote earlier, Chris Tillman said his ankle is fine following Sunday’s bullpen session, and he’s still scheduled to pitch Tuesday night against the Blue Jays at Camden Yards.
“I felt fine,” he said. “I didn’t feel it at all yesterday during the work day. I think I was being a little timid on it, just because it was there, but I didn’t feel anything, so that’s encouraging.”
Bud Norris will start Wednesday and Miguel Gonzalez on Thursday. The Blue Jays are countering with Todd Redmond, Esmil Rogers and Mark Buehrle.
Tillman has thrown 194 1/3 innings this season and should exceed 200 for the first time in his career. He totaled 266 2/3 innings in parts of four major league seasons before 2013, and registered 86 with the Orioles last season.
“I think the statistics snuck up on some people, but how well he’s pitching didn’t and how well he’s capable of it, in our circles,” said manager Buck Showalter. “It’s been quality. Some guys get 200 innings just by showing up. There are certain statistics you can accumulate in the major leagues just by playing every day and pitching every fifth day.
“Tilly’s just been, you can see it in his face. He’s pretty confident. I think he feels good that people feel good about him, if that makes any sense. If he gets in a little bind early in the game, he’s not feeling that, what’s going to happen now? He’s got a track record. More times than not, he’s going to work his way through this and give you a chance to win. He’s one of those guys on a given night, when he’s carrying command of three pitches, he can make it look easy, but it’s not.
“He’s got an unorthodox delivery, which you wouldn’t want to take away from him, but it’s also why he gets out of sync a little bit. But he’s closed the gap between the peaks and valleys. When he gets out of sync a little bit, it doesn’t last as long as it did. Sometimes, it wouldn’t get back into place.
“Sooner or later, guys do have to be their own coaches out there and know what works and what doesn’t work. And he’s gotten stronger, he’s gotten bigger. When you get a (butt), you’re on your way. I think he weighs more than he ever has in his life.”
The Orioles’ pitching staff has posted a 3.18 ERA in 21 games this month, third-lowest in the American League. Opponents are batting .222, lowest in the American League and second to the Reds (.220).
Fourteen of the Orioles’ last 15 games, and 17 of 19 have been decided by two runs or fewer.
Update: Chen has thrown 41 pitches in two innings and the Orioles are down 1-0.
Wil Myers led off the second with a single and Delmon Young walked. Yunel Escobar bounced to third, and Machado tried unsuccessfully to tag Myers before throwing to second for the force.
Myers scored on a sacrifice fly by Tim Beckham.
Machado probably could have gotten the 5-4-3 double play without attempting the tag and losing valuable time. Then again, Myers ran onto the grass and could have been called out.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: The Orioles don’t have a hit in three innings. Chris Davis walked with two outs in the first.