Post-game Samuel and Tillman

Not surprisingly, pitcher Chris Tillman was a popular subject after tonight’s 8-1 loss.

“For a couple nights in a row, we haven’t seen good pitching from our young guys. Very inconsistent,” said interim manager Juan Samuel, also referencing left-hander Brian Matusz. “Tillman tonight missed his spots tremendously. His command was very, very bad. He was a different guy than what we saw in Texas. We were hoping that he would build on that, but we did not see that tonight.

“It’s getting to the point where we don’t know which guy is going to show, whether that’s inexperience of these guys to follow up on a good outing and build from there, or pitching through some tough times when they don’t feel that they have their good stuff. I think that’s what some of the good ones do, make some adjustments on the fly. We know these guys are young, but I still think they could do that.”

Juan Samuel meets with the media after the O’s 8-1 loss to Tampa Bay

So what can you do?

“Those guys are scheduled to make their next start, and right now we are going to give them their next start,” Samuel said. “You don’t want them to take a beating, and that’s why we were very careful with some of these young guys and pulling them on time so they wouldn’t take a beating.”

Is he concerned that the young starters could lose confidence?

“There comes a time when you wonder if maybe they worked too hard,” Samuel said. “Maybe early in the season they worked too hard against some tough opponents. Hopefully, that was not the case, but you have to wonder and be concerned a little bit.”

Here’s what Tillman had to say about tonight’s outing:

“I think the main thing is the command. It just wasn’t there tonight. I think that’s obviously first and foremost with me. That’s what I’ve been working on every time I’ve gone down this season. Tonight, it just wasn’t there and you can’t get too many outs when you can’t command the baseball.

“I didn’t feel it until about the third inning. I felt strong, I felt good. This team needed a pick-me-up after last night’s performance and it didn’t happen, bottom line.”

Asked about his cutter, Tillman replied, “I went to it a few times tonight, and every time I went to it I threw it for a ball. I might have had one guy chasing, but other than that it was for a ball down or up out of the zone. It wasn’t a pitch I could throw for a strike tonight, or even get guys to attempt at, so I had to stick that in my back pocket and stick with my main three pitches.”

How would Tillman measure his level of frustration?

“It’s huge,” he said. “Going off that strong start into the All-Star break, I just came in on a high. We played so well going into the All-Star break, and the last couple have been tough games, but we’ve got a few more here at home and I’m looking forward to it.

“Confidence is no problem. It’s more mechanically getting back in tune. I had some time off. I just have to get back in the swing of things here again and back in a routine.”

I’m getting back in my car, cranking up the air conditioning until I turn blue, and driving home.

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