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Game 78: Indians (39-36) @ Orioles (42-35), 7:05

Chris Tillman has a 4.60 ERA at home and Justin Masterson holds righty batters to a .503 OPS. Hello, five-game losing streak.


The last game that the Orioles won was started by Chris Tillman. That is who will be starting tonight. This may be a good sign. If nothing else, maybe he can go six innings. He only went five innings in his last start. So much for feeling good. But he does still have a lower ERA than Justin Verlander - which says more about Verlander's performance this year than it does Tillman's.

Anyway, this is the part of the season where we cry and wail and pretend like we're going to abandon all hope. The starting pitching sucks, the bullpen sucks, the hot hitters are cooling off a little and the cool hitters aren't heating up a little. The fielding... actually, that part's okay. But everything else sucks. Even I'm writing sucky game thread posts, because the Orioles don't suck enough to inspire the desperate gallows comedy of years past, but they aren't good enough to bring on genuine excitement, either.

So, Justin Masterson. Strikes out over a batter per inning. Gets ground balls 57% of the time. The ERA and the FIP and the xFIP are all close to one another. He is what he is. He also walks a few guys, not quite at a Stropian pace but a few. Hitters are .223/.310/.316 off of him this season. That is a disastrous slash line (and still better than Orioles second basemen). Right-handed batters, as you would expect, are batting even worse: .182/.267/.236, with a 3.29 K/BB.

In other words, don't expect a whole lot from the likes of Manny Machado, Adam Jones, and J.J. Hardy today. Actually, don't expect a lot from the likes of anyone today. Don't be surprised if there is a no-hitter with 27 groundouts to the second baseman. Last night's plan of "hit it to Mark Reynolds" isn't even in effect today because he is the designated hitter.

Speaking of Reynolds, he's due to hit a home run or three in this series, kind of waving the bird at the team that spurned him. Also, Tillman gives up like one million home runs. You know how this works. 16 home runs surrendered in 87.1 IP doesn't happen by accident. Especially at home: 12 home runs in 45 innings pitched. Tillman has a 4.60 ERA at home compared to a 2.76 ERA on the road. Batters are slugging .503 off of him at Camden Yards this year.

Now I've gone and bummed myself out, and probably you as well. Sorry about that.

Nate McLouth - LF Michael Bourn - CF
Manny Machado - 3B Mike Aviles - SS
Nick Markakis - RF Jason Kipnis - 2B
Adam Jones - CF Nick Swisher - 1B
Chris Davis - 1B Michael Brantley - LF
Matt Wieters - C Carlos Santana - C
J.J. Hardy - SS Mark Reynolds - DH
Chris Dickerson - DH Lonnie Chisenhall - 3B
Alexi Casilla - 2B Drew Stubbs - RF