28 May 2011

Game Wrap and Morning Links: May 28, 2011

Oakland 6, Baltimore 2
Box Score / Play-By-Play / AP Recap

Baltimore had their winning* streak snapped in Oakland, as the A's pushed across three runs in the 6th to go ahead for good. Chris Tillman once again kept Baltimore in the game, but averaged just under 25 pitches per inning before being lifted in the fifth with one out. This season has been a mixed bag for Tillman, who has seen an overhaul in his mechanics that has lead to more consistency in his secondaries, but a drop-off in his fastball velocity. A polling of the die hard fans populating the message boards would likewise turn-up mixed feelings, with a number encouraged by his progress and plenty of others turned-off by the upper-80 velocity readings.

The takeaway for the fanbase has to be that prospect development is seldom linear -- particularly for a pitcher who pushed his way to the Majors just a couple months past his 21st birthday. Tillman is doing what every promising young arm needs to do: adjusting. The game that allowed him to carve-up A/AA/AAA hitters as a teen did not translate perfectly to the Major League level, and the young arm is making the tweaks he needs to make to tackle this next challenge. This season his curve is less recognizable out of the hand, and his change is finding more consistence in its fade and late tumble. It is a testament to the Orioles front office that they are finally giving Tillman the extended time he needs to tackle Major League hitters and work through his adjustments. The sooner Orioles fans understand and accept this process, the sooner they will, as a group, be able to better enjoy Tillman's starts (which have been some of my favorite to watch throughout the year).

Stat of the game


The number of extra base hits Baltimore was able to muster against five innings of less-than-stellar Gio Gonzalez and four innings of Oakland bullpen.

Orioles Game ball

Matt Wieters (2-4, triple-slash on the season now sits .272/.339/.404)

MiLB game balls

Norfolk (Box) - Brian Matusz, LHP (5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO) Next stop, Baltimore!
Bowie (Box) - Xavier Avery, CF (2-3); Last 10, 16-36, .444/.512/.667, 2 2B, 1 3B, 5 BB/3 SO
Frederick (Box Game 1) - Steven Bumbry, CF (2-3, 2B (9), HR (3), 2 BB)
Frederick (Box Game 2) - Clayton Schrader, RHP (2 IP, 1 BB, 2 SO); through 36 IP, 56 SO
Delmarva (Box) - DJ Fergusen, RHP (3 IP, 1 H, 3 SO, W (1))

Three Morning Links

Jim Callis at Baseball America has Baltimore selecting Dylan Bundy (rhp, Owasso HS, Owasso, Okla.) in his lastest mock draft (list only here; list with comments -- subscription required -- here).

Is Brian Matusz ready for his 2011 MLB debut? Jeff Zrebiec of The Sun weighs in.

Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com gets Matt Wieters's thoughts on the Posey injury and potential rule changes regarding home plate collisions, and touches on a potential Matusz return.

Up Next

Brad Bergesen (143 ERA-, 98 FIP-, 4.48 xFIP) will attempt to even the series against Josh Outman (35 ERA-, 96 FIP-, 5.57 xFIP).

* - the original article accidentally wrote that the losing streak was broken instead of the winning streak


Jon Shepherd said...

I have been critical of Tillman's inability to go deep into any games and how his place in the rotation is not beneficial to the bullpen. That said, he continues to show spurts where he is just not giving up runs. He also is showing more touch, but is learning.

The way the rotation is constructed, I think more emphasis on players who could go 2+ innings would have been the way to construct the roster. Maybe with Matusz coming back, they could just plan to have Tillman and Bergie pitch on the same day. I don't know.

I think that potential is still there in Tillman. I no longer think he can be a 1/2, but he could be a solid 3. I still am quite enamored with that curve ball and he is beginning to get guys to swing at it.

Nick J Faleris said...

I think he needs to make big strides in 2011 to keep that #2/#3 door open, but I generally like what I have seen. We know the arm strength is there, so now it's a question of whether the mechanics/style that help his CB/CH/CT to play-up can also facilitate the energy transfer that gave him the velo we saw at AAA last year (and obviously earlier).

For now, I have no issue with continued optimism he's still relatively young. We should have a pretty good idea by October (provided he continues to get ML innings) as to how likely it is we see the growth in stuff we need for him to top out.

Rather than a plus FB, plus CB guy, it's possible Baltimore ends up with an average FB, plus CB, plus CH guy (talking ceilings, here). That's fine with me.

Anonymous said...

Don't you mean their four game winning streak got snapped in Oakland?

Jon Shepherd said...

Ha! Nice catch. Sometimes we all take the losses too hard.