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Game 99: Rays (51-47) @ Orioles (51-47), 12:35pm

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I have no idea what to say about Chris Tillman or any of the rest of these guys at this point. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
I have no idea what to say about Chris Tillman or any of the rest of these guys at this point. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

How quickly it all comes crashing down! Three straight games that have combined some occasionally shaky starting pitching with continually poor hitting will bring good feelings down to earth in a hurry. The Orioles are back to being the league leaders (as hitters) in GIDPs as well as strikeouts and sometimes you watch them and wonder how they have clung to a .500 or better record for as long as they have.

Can the flat and lifeless offense wake up for an early afternoon game on what is expected to be a scorching late July day? They will be up against James Shields, who is having a bit of a down year by his own standards - a 4.39 ERA as a down year, what a concept! Well, last year he threw 249.1 IP and had a 2.82 ERA, and this year he is not doing bad in the innings eating department although he's not on the same pace. Last year, Shields had 11 complete games and four of these were shutouts. He does not yet have a complete game this year - maybe today will be the day!

Shields has a 1.44 WHIP this year, so you can get on base against him and score runs - but, he strikes guys out a fair amount, 124 in his 131.1 IP, so, the potential is there for something quite poor.

Meanwhile, Chris Tillman... I don't know, man. If you want to be optimistic then you can believe he may have finally figured it all out. If you've watched the last three Orioles games you probably feel like the Rays are going to light up Tillman because this is the part of the season where the collapse happens. The truth is probably somewhere in between. Good luck to him, because he and the Orioles will need every possible bit of assistance that chance might give to them.