Written by Bruce Smith (VaTech1994)
By Bruce Smith (VaTech1994)
I wish a Happy Mother’s Day to mothers everywhere on this beautiful Sunday in May. I think we should focus there, because today’s game wasn’t a lot of fun for Orioles’ fans. Maybe it was the pink bats, maybe Chris Tillman and several other Orioles had yet to call their Mom’s or send them a gift and it weighed on them throughout the contest, or maybe it was just a bad game. Regardless of the reason, the Orioles lost to the Astros by a score of 5-2.
The loss prevented the Orioles from completing their second straight sweep and ended their season long winning streak at five games. The Orioles continue to lead the AL East with a record of 20-15.
Chris Tillman was the starting pitcher today. It was his normal turn in the rotation, but he appeared to be surprised to be out there in the first inning. He threw 8 of the first 10 pitches out of the strike zone to walk the first two hitters of the game. The third hitter of the game, Jason Castro, swung at the 11th pitch of the game and the first pitch he saw. It was a change up on the outside part of the plate about belt high. He lifted a high fly ball to center that I thought was a routine out. Adam Jones also thought it was routine based on the way he played it. We were both wrong. The ball kept carrying and settled just on the other side of the fence in right-center field. Jones may have had a chance to leap for it, but he wasn’t at the fence to make the leap. The home run wasn’t impressive, but none-the-less it was 3-0 after 11 pitches.
Tillman didn’t allow another run over five innings, but he struggled the entire way. His fastball command was non-existent throughout the outing. He was actually commanding the curveball better than any of his pitches which is not a good thing. He struggled with baserunners throughout his outing and was out of the game after five innings due to an elevated pitch count.
Tillman’s final line was 5.0 IP, 4 hits, 3 R, 3ER, 5 BB, 3 K, and the loss. Tillman came out throwing 87 mph to the first couple hitters and then jumped to 90-92 after the home run. It wasn’t a good outing and it reminded me of Tillman’s inconsistent starts in his first couple seasons.
TJ McFarland was able to provide three innings of relief to the Orioles’ worn out bullpen which should help in the Detroit series. He pitched fairly well, but did give up a long two-run homer to Marc Krauss in the 7th inning.
Troy Patton came in with a runner on first in the 9th inning. He was sharp getting two strikeouts and a weak pop up.
Nick Markakis extended his hitting streak with a 3rd inning single and also walked. Chris Davis returned to the lineup with a line drive single and line drive double. Adam Jones had nice single to left to drive in the only two runs scored on the day, but he had a poor at bat with runners on the next time up. Manny Machado had two weak singles.
The Orioles continue to be overaggressive at the plate. They swung at ball four at least four times and expanded the strike zone routinely throughout the game. The team needs to be more patient and take their walks where they can get them.
The Orioles played another solid game defensively. Ryan Flaherty had a particularly good game at 2nd base.
Key Moments In The Game
The game was basically over 11 pitches in when Castro hit the three run home run. However, Adam Jones struck out on three pitches with runners on 2nd and 3rd base in the 5th inning when it was a 3-2 game. Nelson Cruz failed to get a hit with two runners on in the 3rd inning and again in the 5th inning.
It was good to see Chris Davis back in the lineup on the first day he was eligible to return. He looked to be feeling great.
Matt Wieters was placed on the DL with a strained elbow to make room for Chris Davis.
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