With Tuesday’s postponement and manager Buck Showalter’s decision to push back everyone in the rotation, Chris Tillman gets the start for the Orioles tonight in the opener of a four-game series at Fenway Park.
That’s not a bad thing.
Tillman is 4-2 with a 2.67 ERA in 12 career starts against the Red Sox, and 1-1 with a 2.37 ERA in five starts in Boston, with eight walks and 27 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings.
There’s also his red-hot start to the 2014 season. Tillman has held opponents to two earned runs in 21 1/3 innings for a microscopic 0.84 ERA.
If it looks like an ace and acts like an ace ... it’s an ace.
You want consistency? Right-handers are batting .250 and left-handers .251 versus Tillman in his career.
Tillman’s 3.75 ERA in March/April is his lowest for any month. He’s the anti-Ubaldo Jimenez in that regard.
Mike Napoli is 5-for-15 with two doubles against Tillman. Dustin Pedroia is 9-for-30.
David Ortiz (2-for-19), Mike Carp (2-for-14) and Will Middlebrooks (0-for-16) are a combined 4-for-49 against Tillman.
The Red Sox sent Middlebrooks back to Boston yesterday due to an illness. The Orioles can feel his pain.
Going into last night’s games, John Lackey was tied for the American League lead with five home runs allowed. Nelson Cruz took him deep on April 2.
Lackey is 14-5 with a 3.33 ERA in 24 career starts against the Orioles. Chris Davis is 11-for-32 with three doubles and two home runs against him. Delmon Young is 6-for-19.
Matt Wieters is 6-for-32 and J.J. Hardy is 3-for-20. Adam Jones is 10-for-45, but that includes a triple and three home runs.
Too bad Manny Machado is on the disabled list. He’s 6-for-15 with a double and two home runs versus Lackey.
Machado has important business down in Sarasota. As I wrote yesterday, he’s going to perform sliding drills today for the first time as the final test before playing in extended spring training games this weekend.
There’s still no firm timetable for Machado’s return to the Orioles, but how does the first week in May grab you? It’s possible if the team is convinced that he doesn’t need the full 20 days on his injury rehab assignment.
I’m heading to the airport for my morning flight to Boston. It’s going to be an emotional weekend with the one-year anniversary of the Marathon bombings, but while the Orioles continue to support the city, they remain focused on winning this series.
“Athletes protect athletes and you never want anything bad to happen at an event that deals with athletes, but I think Boston healed pretty nicely from it by winning the World Series, so let’s go up there and beat them,” Jones said.
“That’s pretty much our goal. We’re not going up there with any sympathy. I think everyone around the league has said their prayers for the city of Boston for what happened last year, but baseball’s got to be played, so once we get at Fenway Park, we’re going to go up there and try to put up some runs.”