You know what Orioles fans were thinking on Monday night. Only an O’s pitching prospect can dominate a team one game like Chris Tillman did in 8 1/3 innings against Seattle and not make it through the first inning the next start.
Tillman gave up seven runs, with just one earned, in two-thirds of an inning Monday at Minnesota. I’ll give him a mulligan for that outing. A Mark Reynolds error opened the door for the big inning and, had he recorded the out, would have ended that inning with just one run scoring.
Tillman seemed to be unable to command his curveball in the short time he was on the mound Monday against the Twins. He needs that pitch and can’t just pump fastball after fastball past any big league club.
But it’s encouraging to see Tillman average 94.8 mph on his fastball in the majors this year when that figure was 90.2 in 2010 and 89.3 last year.
In two career starts against the Tribe, both in 2009, Tillman is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA (7.0IP, 7ER). He was tagged with the loss in his only start at Progressive Field as he allowed six runs on six hits and a walk while striking out two over six innings on Sept. 27, 2009.
But you need to command all your pitches with some consistency to win at this level. Tillman didn’t do that on Monday, error or no error. Let’s see tonight if he can provide the Orioles with their fourth straight quality start and put the Monday memory in the rear-view mirror.
Tillman through four: Tillman got ahead of the first batter he faced tonight, but then Shin-Soo Choo hit a 1-2 pitch for a homer to right to give Cleveland a 1-0 lead. But Tillman hasn’t given up much since that point and the Orioles trail the Tribe 1-0 after four innings.
Tillman has allowed just two hits with one walk and two strikeouts, throwing 63 pitches so far.
Meanwhile, Ryan Adams moved from the Gulf Coast League to Aberdeen to continue his injury-rehab assignment tonight and walked his first time up for the IronBirds.
Jake Arrieta has pitched three shutout innings for Triple-A Norfolk tonight so far at Syracuse.
Thome’s homer: Jim Thome hit a two-run homer in the top of the seventh to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead. It was a line shot and was his second O’s homer in two games and No. 611 of his career. Thome now has nine hits over his last 25 O’s at-bats with three doubles and two homers.
We’ll see if the O’s can hang on to win tonight. They have the best one-run record in the majors at 18-6 but Cleveland ranks second at 14-5.