Today was supposed to be the day that we unleashed our beasts. Chris Tillman was slated to start the annual Futures Game in St. Louis, and expectations were high. With Brian Matusz waiting in the wings, this was going to be the day that we as members of Birdland served notice to the rest of the league! And then they actually played the game...
Tillman took the hill under dark skies with impending rain, which I like to think may have had a negative effect on him. Chris labored through the first before rain halted play, throwing 29 pitches. He struggled with his control, as only 16 of his pitches found the zone and included a hit batsman. In all, Tillman gave up two earned runs on two hits, putting the U.S. Futures in an early hole.
Brian Matusz entered the game in the third inning, and found it difficult to find the strike zone as well. Brian was able to limit the damage though after 13 pitches, allowing one earned run on one hit and a walk.
To top the day off, the Norfolk Tides' Jake Arrieta was given a beating by the Durham Bulls. Jake gave up two solo home runs early on, then appeared to settle down. The sixth inning would prove fatal however for Arrieta. His final line: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 6 ER, 5 K, 3 BB. Jake has struggled thus far in AAA, as he is now sporting a 4.42 ERA.
I understand that in the big picture, this was only one day. I can't help but feel slightly let down though. My hopes were high that it would be a bright day for our young arms...I guess it just wasn't to be.