June 11, 2014

Game 63: Workman Stymies O's

The O's entered the night 5.5 games behind Toronto after a shutout win led by Bud Norris.  Toronto's resiliency was on full force last night as they had squandered a two-run lead in the top of the 9th, only to win the game on a bloop single by Kevin Pillar (???). Exactly, who knows who Pillar is? Regardless, it seems like anyone and everyone that suits up for the Jays has thrived. Looks like it's all clicking for Toronto. Here's to an inevitable collapse!

As the rain loomed over Baltimore, the game started on time with each pitcher tossing up scoreless first innings. Tillman was refreshing to see since he's struggled heavily in the first two innings this year.  He's posted an ERA over 10 this season in the first two innings while the next 7 innings hovers around 2.60. Truly remarkable splits for both Tillman and Jimenez this season. After Big Papi flew out to start the 2nd, the rain began to fall heavily (buzz kill) and prompted both teams to retreat to their dugouts. Tillman would immediately walk Napoli when play resumed as he was unable to get his curveball over the plate in addition to keeping his fastball elevated. When Tillman had struggled in the past, it is due to his inability to keep the ball low. Additionally, his flyball to groundball ratio is much higher than the league average.

As the rain started to fall yet again, Tillman lost control of the strike as he allowed a single to AJ Pierzynski and a walk to Daniel Nava. With the bases loaded, Tilly fought back to strike out Johnathan Herrera to end what looked like another nightmare second inning. Next inning however, Tillman would allow his first and only run of the inning in the 3rd as he was unable get the third out of the inning, walking Ortiz to put runners on 1st and 2nd.  Next batter, Mike Napoli blooped a single to right field in front of Markakis to break the scoreless tie. From that point on, Tillman was able to navigate through the order to keep the deficit at 1, working out of a bases loaded jam with no outs in the 4th.  Although it wasn't his best start, it was a great bounce back start for Tillman as he scattered 7 hits and 3 walks over 6 innings. His opposing starter, Brandon Workman had baffled the Orioles hitters all game as he remained perfect through 4.1 innings until issuing a questionable walk to Nelson Cruz, only to get JJ Hardy to pop out into an inning ending double play. Cruz, lost track of the game situation and was easily doubled up at first.

Workman continued his dominance into the seventh inning and with two outs, new reliever Andrew Miller fanned Chris Davis to end the inning. Junichi Tazawa shutdown the Orioles in the 8th while Brian Matusz pitched two scoreless inning in relief.  Matusz, who had a shaky performance on Saturday, allowed one hit to keep the score 1-0. In the bottom of the 9th, Koji Uehara was called upon by John Farrell to close yet another game.  Pinch hitting for Caleb Joseph, Steve Pearce got the O's their 3rd base runner on a single to left.  Ryan Flaherty, in an attempt to sacrifice Pearce to second, bunted straight back to Uehara, allowing him to get the force out at second. After a collective groan from the crowd and myself, watching on my phone, it was apparent that Flaherty had wasted their best chance of tying the game.  We were right, as Uehara was able to strike out Markakis and Machado to end the game. A frustrating loss for the Orioles as they were caught in yet another pitcher's duel with the Sox.  Tonight's game looks to be another duel as Wei-Yin Chen faces Rubby De La Rosa in attempt to win the series. The game will be on ESPN (finally) as the O's need some much needed exposure that doesn't involve Manny Machado.

Machado, was handed a well-deserved 5 game suspension from the MLB, which he's planning on appealing. In my opinion, Manny should take the suspension right now and get this entire situation over with. He's struggled at the plate since this incident and I believe that he can use the rest. Start Flaherty at second and let Schoop play third as both have started to hit the ball well of late.

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