Chris Tillman wanted to start today in the Orioles’ final game of the season.
He didn’t want the Red Sox to almost hit for the cycle against him in the first inning.
Jacoby Ellsbury hit his 10th career leadoff homer, and his third this season, for a quick 1-0 lead. David Ortiz singled and Mike Napoli doubled with one out, and Ortiz lumbered home on Mike Carp’s grounder to short.
Ortiz began the day 0-for-13 against Tillman, the most at-bats against a pitcher without a hit in his career. Ortiz is 1-for-20 with 12 strikeouts vs. Brian Matusz.
John McDonald, batting ninth today, hit a two-run homer in the second inning to give Boston a 4-0 lead and make the prospects of Tillman winning his 17th game seem pretty bleak. But hey, it’s still early.
Tillman has allowed 33 home runs this season, third-most in the majors.
Chris Davis recorded his 370th total base on Friday, breaking Brady Anderson’s club record of 369 set in 1996.
Davis drew a walk in the first inning today to win an 11-pitch battle with Red Sox starter Allen Webster. Steve Pearce swung at the first pitch and popped up with the bases loaded and one out. Nate McLouth grounded out, and the Orioles wasted a prime scoring opportunity.
Stop me if you’ve heard that one before.
Alexi Casilla had his right hand heavily wrapped this morning. His season is done. We’ll find out later whether the same is true of his Orioles career.
“There hasn’t been a better teammate in baseball than Alexi Casilla, from Day One,” said manager Buck Showalter. “I mean, he’s been a pleasure to be around. I think he’s the one guy I wish I had been able to play more. Whether it’s us or someone else, they’re going to get a good teammate and a good player next year.
“He’s allowed us to do a lot of things that we couldn’t have done because of his versatility. It may not have always showed up on the field, but he was as consistent a person as you could be. He’s got my respect.”
Showalter was asked today if every season is disappointing if it doesn’t include the playoffs.
“That’s our goal,” he said. “When you don’t reach the goal, it’s frustrating. Frustrating and disappointing sometimes are two different things. I’d be disappointed if we hadn’t had effort, if we hadn’t had wanted-to, if we hadn’t been sincere about it. I’ve been there, I’ve watched them. I’ve seen it when it’s not that way this time of the year. But I also know this is a bottom line business.”
The bottom line is the Red Sox were better this year and posted the best record in the American League.
“Our guys get it, what we have to do to bridge the gap,” Showalter said. “It’s very obvious that the Boston Red Sox during the regular season are the best team in the American League going into the playoffs. They’ve won more games and they played in a tough division.”