Orioles starters have gone more than five innings only once in the last seven games.
That starter is on the mound today.
Chris Tillman held the Padres to one run over seven innings Tuesday night, allowing four hits, walking two and striking out seven. The Orioles lost 3-2 when Jim Johnson blew the save - the beginning of a four-game losing streak that they will try to stamp out this afternoon.
Tillman has to play the role of stopper today. He’s registered five straight quality starts in a rotation battered by injuries and ineffectiveness.
Jason Hammel is struggling. Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez are on the disabled list. Freddy Garcia has labored in his last two outings after a stellar debut in Anaheim. Jair Jurrjens was a mixed bag yesterday and may not get another start.
At this point, Tillman is the only certainty. We don’t know whether Garcia or Jake Arrieta will start on Monday. It’s assumed that Gonzalez will come off the disabled list Tuesday.
Tillman is 1-4 with a 5.06 ERA in eight career starts against the Rays. He’s 1-2 with a 6.31 ERA against them at Camden Yards.
No one suggested that the job of stopper is an easy one.
Rays third baseman Evan Longoria is 7-for-15 with a double, three home runs and three walks lifetime against Tillman. Ben Zobrist is only 3-for-21, but that includes a double and two home runs.
Matt Wieters is 6-for-11 with two homers lifetime against Tampa Bay left-hander Matt Moore. Does Wieters catch all three games of this series? He often sits on Sundays, but the Orioles played an afternoon game on Saturday.
Adam Jones is 5-for-13 with a homer and four RBIs vs. Moore.
It’s interesting that left-handers actually hit Moore better than right-handers, which goes against the usual percentages. Lefties are batting .220 against Moore this year and .237 lifetime. Right-handers are batting .151 this year and .222 lifetime.