The best news and maybe the only real good news to come out of the Orioles’ 12-2 loss to the Astros tonight is Chris Tillman said he is fine. He said his shoulder is sound, but his command wasn’t tonight.
Tillman gave up six runs and six hits with five walks in two-plus innings, throwing 67 pitches, 33 strikes. His velocity was sitting at 88 and 89 mph for most of the first inning, but that was not because of any shoulder issue. Tillman’s start had been pushed back three days due to shoulder discomfort.
“I think I was a little timid early on,” he said. “There was some apprehension there. But the more I got into it, it started to come around. I had a pretty good feeling it wasn’t going to be a thing anymore. I felt really good at the end and felt like it was coming out a little better. Physically, I felt fine. Probably the only positive you can find, I felt good. But just couldn’t command the baseball.”
Was pitching on extra rest a challenge?
“I mean yeah, that is an excuse,” Tillman said. “You know what, I just couldn’t command the baseball. Was definitely rusty and not where I wanted to be with any of my pitches. That is a pretty good lineup to try and go out there and wing it on.
“My command was fine in the bullpen. With any injury there is a mental hurdle that you have to get past first and that was a big part of it. It’s gotten better every day and felt good tonight, just couldn’t make a pitch.”
Now 15-5 with an ERA of 3.76, Tillman did not record a strikeout for just the fourth time in his career. His team, meanwhile, has allowed 32 runs in this series, is 1-4 on this homestand and 9-15 the last 24 games.
“We’ve got to start playing good baseball again,” Tillman said. “We didn’t pitch particularly well recently. But you know what, you got to stick with it. We’re grinding. Not for any lack of effort. Have to show up tomorrow and have a good game.”
Adam Jones on Tillman: “He’s been the ace of our staff. I know he’s frustrated with his outing tonight. But it happens to the best of us. Just have to pick up the pieces tomorrow and come out and attack (Dallas) Keuchel. We have to come out tomorrow and be a little more energetic.”
Jones on concern about Tillman: “I’m not concerned unless someone says something. Everybody is dealing with something at this point of the season. If he is going to start, that means he’s feeling good enough to start. I know a guy like him, he doesn’t make excuses and I know he is probably beating himself up over the start and his location. Command is his bread and butter.”
Jones on O’s struggles and recent losses: “We have 40 games to play, it’s not four. Still have a lot of time and lot of division games to go. We just need to put all that stuff away, put the last two nights away and handle tomorrow.”
Ryan Flaherty on the last time he pitched: “High school. Wasn’t very good then and still not. I was a little bit nervous. You want to throw strikes and get out of there as quick as possible.”
Flaherty on wanting to pitch: “I think every position player wants to try it once. I secretly wanted a scoreless inning, but you have to wear it. After that didn’t happen, try to get the inning over with.”
Flaherty on homering off a position player (Philadelphia’s Jeff Francoeur) last year and giving up a homer tonight: “I think I had it coming for me after last year.”