The Orioles might have swept the Rangers back at Camden Yards just last week, but tonight’s Friday night matchup in Arlington was no repeat of the four-game home series. Texas grabbed the momentum early and never let go, sending the Orioles to 48-54 on the year in this one-sided summer ball game.
Below, the details of a series-opening loss, the third straight for the O’s.
Chris Tillman entered this game needing a good outing, to say the least. The struggles have been aplenty to start the year and a nice start to this one in Arlington would’ve provided a significant confidence boost to build on. It would’ve been the ideal way to start the game, but as has been the status quo for 2017, things didn’t exactly go in favor of the Orioles stater early.
The Rangers wasted no time posting a crooked number on the board early, putting their first two runners of the game on for three-hole hitter Nomar Mazara. On a 1-1 pitch, he roped a fastball that caught every bit of the plate to the gap in right-center, clearing the bases and giving Texas an early 2-0 lead.
Tillman ended up stranding Mazara, but the first inning cost him 32 pitches. Not quite the momentum-builder he might’ve hoped for.
Tillman gets a strikeout to end a 32-pitch inning. Has now allowed 17 runs in the first inning this year. 17 runs over 14 IP.— Steve Melewski (@masnSteve) July 29, 2017
Andrew Cashner took the hill for the Rangers on Friday night and had a relatively smooth ride to begin the game compared to Tillman’s struggles. He rolled through the first three innings against the Orioles lineup, keeping the Birds quiet and perhaps most importantly, giving the Texas lineup more momentum to keep doing its thing against Tillman.
Following a leadoff walk to Shin-Soo Choo in the third (the second of the night), Tillman left another fastball up in the zone to Elvis Andrus. Like Mazara’s shot, he didn’t miss any of it, launching it to left field for a big fly that was gone as soon as it left the home plate area.
That made it 4-0 Rangers — and as Tillman’s command continued to falter, Texas found a way to plate one more run and boost the pitch count to 71 after just a trio of innings.
To make matters worse, this game was absolutely dominated by Cashner on the other side. The Rangers starter was dealing with clear comfort from the start of this Friday night clash and hit all of the right notes throughout the outing. He was masterful throughout the innings, twirling a gem that Tillman just couldn’t counter. From the command in the zone to the stuff to everything in between, Cashner simply had Tillman out-matched.
The game’s turning point — or, perhaps better put, the moment in which it became clear there would be no comeback — came in the fifth inning after the Orioles left a pair of runners stranded in the top half. With one out, Tillman allowed a double-single-double sequence to the middle of the Texas lineup that made the score 6-0 and ran him from the game after tossing 101 pitches.
That gave Richard Bleier command of the game, and while the reliever didn’t allow any runs of his own, both inherited runners would cross the plate via a Carlos Gómez single up the middle. Just like that it was 8-0 Rangers and Tillman’s line was closed — 4.2 IP, 9 H, 8 ER, 2 BB, 6 K.
Through 14 starts, Tillman now has a 7.65 season ERA.
There might’ve been a sliver of hope for a comeback in the most optimistic minds throughout the Orioles fan base, but there wasn’t much late in this game that was going to make wipe away the eight earned runs allowed by Tillman. Sure, Jonathan Schoop’s solo home run in the sixth helped, as did an RBI single from Chris Davis — but they helped the final score become slightly more respectable, nothing more.
Cashner worked through the seventh inning and wrapped up his outing with a relatively quick one-two-three frame. He allowed just one earned run and five total hits, quite the dominant performance across from Tillman’s. Both starters earned their final results, Cashner emerging the clear winner.
Bleier didn’t allow a run of his own, Mychal Givens worked two thirds scoreless and Donnie Hart contributed a clean inning to help this game wrap up with even the slightest of positive notes. But ultimately, this game was all Rangers from the start and that didn’t change throughout.
Tomorrow will be a 3:05 p.m. eastern first pitch as Kevin Gausman will get the ball in the second game of the weekend series. The Rangers will send Austin Bibens-Dirkx to the hill.