There were many in the baseball pundit world who were buying the Blue Jays before the season started. I am not a part of the pundit world, but I, too, was buying the Blue Jays. They looked so good! It's only been 19 games for them, true. Yet I wonder how a team with pretensions to contention can, in the middle of April, find itself having Munenori Kawasaki as its leadoff hitter. That is a thing that is happening.
There are other hitters on the team, good hitters. Some of them, like Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista, are highly likely to crush lifeless Chris Tillman fastballs into the seats.
Tillman might just find himself feeling a little nervous after the exile of Jake Arrieta to Norfolk today. Tillman is somewhat protected against that fate by virtue of being out of minor league options. However, he also sucks. In fact, his ERA so far is worse than that of Arrieta's - a 7.07. He has not even averaged five innings per start over his first three starts. More strikeouts than innings doesn't suck. 14 innings in three starts does suck.
Where is the potential for silver lining for Tillman? Maybe it's in his .390 BABIP, which is so high that it feels like it has to come down. Or it must come down if there is no other explanation for it. Maybe the explanation for that BABIP is that sometimes Tillman is just not fooling anybody and he's hurling meatballs into the wheelhouse. Yes, those will be slapped around. That will happen. But hopefully not tonight.
Orioles hitters will face off against J.A. Happ, who, with an ERA north of 5 to start out the season, is not exactly off to a hot start. If you want to talk about a guy having some bad luck, it may be Happ, against whom batters are slashing .200/.284/.383. That's a high slugging percentage when you consider the batting average against, which means that when batters are hitting Happ, they hit him hard.
By comparison, batters against Tillman so far: .333/.403/.544. Essentially, the 67 batters Tillman has faced so far have collectively been Miguel Cabrera. Here's a handkerchief. Now think about that for a second. Yeah. (The departed Arrieta, meanwhile, has opponents sporting a .224/.379/.403.)
If there's anyone out there in the world who can teach these lunkheads how to pitch, it seems like they don't work for the Orioles and never have worked for the Orioles. So tonight he will go out there and do what he does, which probably isn't good. Hold on to your butts.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||TORONTO BLUE JAYS|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Munenori Kawasaki - SS|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Melky Cabrera - LF|
|Adam Jones - CF||Jose Bautista - RF|
|Matt Wieters - C||Edwin Encarnacion - 1B|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Adam Lind - DH|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||J.P. Arencibia - C|
|Steve Pearce - DH||Colby Rasmus - CF|
|Nolan Reimold - LF||Brett Lawrie - 3B|
|Alexi Casilla - 2B||Emilio Bonifacio - 2B|