Ladies and gentlemen, Chris Tillman. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
You know things are getting bad when the people around here are asking questions like whether or not the Orioles will still be above .500 at the conclusion of the eight-game road trip upon which they have now embarked. That would require a 1-7 record on the trip to Minneapolis and Cleveland. That's pretty bad. I don't think things are quite that bad.
Tonight marks the return of Chris Tillman to the majors, which everyone knew all along would be happening. He mucked around for one game in Bowie and didn't get good results. Does that mean anything? Who knows? Will he do worse against a lineup that is better than the one he faced in Seattle? Again, who knows? Even pitchers who have figured out the whole pitching thing can have bad nights. He did indeed look like a different pitcher when we saw him against Seattle. That may even carry over tonight. That'd be something.
The horror act that is the Orioles offense will be up against Scott Diamond in tonight's game. What is a Scott Diamond? The main thing to know about him is that he is a soft-tossing lefty. If you just flinched uncontrollably, then you have probably watched the O's in recent years against these sorts of junk ball pitchers. They flail away pathetically. It doesn't matter who is on the team. They suck against these guys. I don't know why. They just do. We saw this most recently with Brad Mills in Anaheim.
Diamond is not having a bad year, which is one difference. He's started 12 games and has a 2.62 ERA. He does not get many strikeouts and he does not give up many walks. He is Canadian. That last does not imply any kind of immutable quality about him as a pitcher, as far as I am aware. I'm just letting you know, eh.
Your infield for the Orioles tonight consists of Mark Reynolds, Steve Tolleson, J.J. Hardy and Wilson Betemit. This may not constitute a tragic flaw in the classic Greek sense, but it is both tragic and a flaw. Whether this will come to the fore at a key junction of the game - in the vein of, say, a routine grounder to defensive replacement Ryan Flaherty that could be a game-ending GIDP - is another question entirely. Mostly I just hope that they don't leave me wanting to stab out my own eyes.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||MINNESOTA TWINS|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Denard Span - CF|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Ben Revere - RF|
|Adam Jones - CF||Joe Mauer - C|
|Matt Wieters - C||Josh Willingham - LF|
|Mark Reynolds - 1B||Justin Morneau - 1B|
|Steve Pearce - LF||Trevor Plouffe - 3B|
|Chris Davis - DH||Ryan Doumit - DH|
|Wilson Betemit - 3B||Brian Dozier - SS|
|Steve Tolleson - 2B||Jamey Carroll - 2B|