Tigers 6, Orioles 2: Familiar bullpen meltdowns

If I were not feeling charitable, I would sum up today's game by posting the nuclear explosion with the O's logo in the middle. That's pretty much what happened in the game today once the bullpen became involved. But though the 6-2 loss denied us the sweep, I'm still in a good mood, so let's look at the positives first.

Chris Tillman started for the Orioles today, and he made it through 6.2 innings and threw 107 pitches, in which time he only allowed one run. The one run scored on what I thought could have been an inning-ending double play, except Brian Roberts and Brandon Snyder (making his first ever MLB start) couldn't make the connection on the relay throw - Roberts threw wide and pulled Snyder off the bag. The fact that Tillman only allowed the one run when he walked six batters either means he got insanely lucky or he was able to reach into his bag of tricks and pitch confidently even in a jam. Maybe a little of both - but I want to believe it was Tillman showing off some stuff that we can look forward to seeing for the next few years.

Tillman left with a 2-1 lead, so he was in place to get the win on a day where he certainly earned it. Unfortunately for him, there were two circumstances that didn't work in his favor. One, he was pitching against Justin Verlander, who mowed down 11 Orioles batters while going 8 innings and only allowing six baserunners. There's no cap-tipping around here, but let's acknowledge the reality that Verlander's a good pitcher, and good pitchers are going to beat you some days.

That said, we still could have won the game if it wasn't for a coordinated effort to suck all joy out of our hearts by Mike Gonzalez (0.1 IP, 2 ER), David Hernandez (0.2 IP, 2 ER) and Alfredo Simon (0.1 IP, 1 ER, and the real dagger-in-the-heart, now-it's-not-even-a-save-situation home run allowed). These runs all scored in a 5-run 8th inning for the Tigers. This would have hurt a lot more earlier in the season because we would have probably been coming off a five-game losing streak and looking to turn it around.

Let's end on a positive note: in compiling a 4-2 record on this six-game road trip, the Orioles saw their starters record six consecutive quality starts. That's something great to take forward  - which the O's will definitely need as the Blue Jays come to Baltimore for a three-game series starting tomorrow. The Orioles have yet to beat the Blue Jays this year, but the Blue Jays have yet to beat Buck Showalter this year. In the opening game, Brian Matusz takes on Marc Rzepczynski, whose name I would never want to have to pronounce. I like our chances.

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