Please be okay, Chris Tillman's Elbow. We need you (and the rest of Chris Tillman) tonight. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
There are sixteen games remaining in the Orioles season, and the next thirteen of them are against non-contending teams. First up is the Mariners. 8-8 from here on out gets to 90 wins, but what does 90 wins get you? At the going rate, probably it gets you a one-game date in Oakland, a disastrous place for this Orioles team. Maybe if Oakland passes Texas it gets you one game there. So, they need to hope for better than 8-8, and that means they need to commence with the beatdowns of the teams that are full of guys who are not playing for anything more than pride.
A year ago, it was the Orioles who were playing the spoiler, and now they need to dodge the spoilers. Darth Vader is Luke's father, Aeris dies, Snape kills Dumbledore, the boat sinks, Rosebud is the sled and Soylent Green is people. It's hard to dodge spoilers. They have to do it anyway. Neo is the One. Oops, there goes another.
Playing the part of potential spoiler tonight is Hector Noesi. What do I know(esi) about him? He was the other guy who went to Seattle in the Jesus Montero trade. He has not been very good this year. 100.2 IP and a 5.54 ERA is positively Oriolesque. I should be careful about saying that now. Maybe a 5.54 ERA isn't Oriolesque any more, unless the Oriole is Tommy Hunter or Jake Arrieta. Anyway, this year the league is batting .257/.321/.491 off Noesi - although at home his ERA is a much more acceptable 4.03. Still, even in Safeco he's given up 10 home runs in 51.1 IP.
Noesi is a righty, and unlike what feels like the last half-dozen pitchers I've talked about, he does not have the opposite platoon splits you'd expect. Lefties hit to the tune of a .883 OPS off of Noesi. He does not strike out a lot of guys. Nate McLouth and Chris Davis and Matt Wieters, this is your night, maybe.
Is Chris Tillman's elbow healthy? I don't know, man. But he's starting tonight, so we'll find out. If there's anywhere you should feel good about Tillman it's a game in Safeco against the Mariners lineup. It's a very bad lineup. He has shown us how bad that Seattle lineup is before. He may do it again tonight, which would be good. If his elbow still hurts, then there will be no command and it will be a long night on the west coast. If his elbow is fine, he might still have a crappy night, because he's Chris Tillman, and Rick Peterson may not be as much of a Jedi mind tricker as we'd like to believe. Or he could be awesome tonight, and we'll say, wow, this is the Tillman that we always thought was lurking underneath all that suck. That would be cool.
P.S. Bruce Willis is actually dead.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||OAKLAND ATHLETICS|
|Nate McLouth - LF||Dustin Ackley - 2B|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Franklin Gutierrez - CF|
|Chris Davis - DH||Kyle Seager - 3B|
|Adam Jones - CF||Jesus Montero - C|
|Matt Wieters - C||John Jaso - DH|
|Mark Reynolds - 1B||Michael Saunders - LF|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Justin Smoak - 1B|
|Endy Chavez - RF||Eric Thames - RF|
|Robert Andino - 2B||Brendan Ryan - SS|