O’s game blog: Chris Tillman faces Cleveland at Camden Yards

The Orioles have won back-to-back games just once this season. They beat the Yankees on April 5-6 at Yankee Stadium. A win today over Cleveland and they would double that total.

The Orioles (6-14) host Cleveland (9-8) at Camden Yards in Game 2 of a four-game series and 10-game homestand. Baltimore won 3-1 last night behind right-hander Dylan Bundy.

Tillman-Throws-Orange-Sidebar.jpgToday, Chris Tillman is set to make his fourth start. The right-hander has faced three teams that made the playoffs last season in his first three outings. Today he adds a fourth team to the list.

Tillman has gone 0-3 with an ERA of 11.91 against Houston, New York and Boston. Tillman allowed four runs in his season debut, five in his next start and six in his last one. That was on April 13 at Fenway Park when he allowed seven hits in two-plus innings

He has given up 22 hits and 15 runs over 11 1/3 innings with 10 walks and just three strikeouts. His average fastball velocity has been 89.8 mph, 89.0 mph and 89.7 mph in his games. Lefty batters are hitting .550 (11-for-20) against him and right-handers are batting .344 (11-for-32). His ERA is 15.00 in the first inning this year.

In the 2016 season, Tillman made 30 starts for Baltimore and the Orioles went 22-8. Since the beginning of last year, he is 1-10 with a 8.28 ERA and the Orioles are 8-14 in his 22 starts.

Earlier in the week at Detroit, manager Buck Showalter announced that Tillman would get the start today. He was asked then what will have to be different for Tillman in this game to finally pitch better?

“Chris and I talked and we talk some every day,” Showalter said. “Got to get back to being Chris. He understands the seriousness of it. Falls underneath the Captain Obvious. Chris knows when it is right and when it’s not. Time for him to take a step forward.”

Maybe a Cleveland offense that has yet to get going will be the team against which Tillman can put together a solid start.

Right-hander Mike Clevinger (1-0, 2.70 ERA) will make his fourth start for the Tribe. In his first two games he yielded one run over 12 2/3 innings. In his most recent start he gave up four runs in four innings versus Toronto.

In two 2017 starts against the Orioles, he went 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA. In three career games he is 2-0 with a 3.60 ERA. Cleveland pitching has allowed just 26 runs over the last 12 games, good for an ERA of 1.86.

Farm notes: Outfielder Joey Rickard had five hits in Triple-A Norfolk’s win last night. The five hits were all singles and produced a new career-high for Rickard. The last Tides player to register five hits was Dariel Álvarez, who did so on June 2, 2016.

Double-A Bowie outfielder Ademar Rifaela has hit safely in six of his last seven games, batting .360 (9-for-25) with three RBIs and five runs. Outfielder Austin Hays drew a career-high three walks Friday night.

Single-A Frederick is playing Wilmington this afternoon after losing 2-0 last night for a fifth straight loss.

Single-A Delmarva has its first two-game losing streak, after a loss Friday to Lakewood. Right-hander Matthias Dietz allowed four runs on three hits, with a career-high seven walks and three strikeouts over 3 1/3 innings.

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