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Orioles fall to Angels 5-4 in Tillman’s return to rotation

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Chris Tillman returned to the starting rotation today, and he was just as bad as when he left. The O’s couldn’t complete a comeback, and ultimately lost 5-4 on Sunday afternoon.

Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Despite a close-looking score of 5-4, the Orioles actually got walloped on Sunday afternoon. Chris Tillman came back into the starting rotation presumably so that Dylan Bundy can get some extra rest between starts, and the outcome was not pretty.

With today’s loss, the Orioles fall to 60-64 on the 2017 season.

For those with relatively short memories, Chris Tillman was finally yanked from the O’s starting rotation after a disastrous start against Detroit on August 3rd where he surrendered seven runs in two innings pitched. Since then he’d only thrown 2.1IP out of the bullpen across two scoreless appearances.

Starting opposite Chris Tillman today was Paker Bridwell, who despite similar outcomes, far out-pitched Tillman. Neither pitcher earned a decision in the game, because ultimately the winning run was scored off of the bullpen that blinked first—that of the Orioles.

Tillmaaaannnn *sigh*

So, Chris Tillman actually came out and threw a clean first inning. Weird, right? Any early optimism that may have inspired was quickly erased in the second.

Kole Calhoun led off the second with a home run, and suddenly things were back to normal. Tillman was missing his spots and issuing walks in between hard-hit balls. C.J. Cron hit a two-out drive that looked like another homer off the bat, but ended up being caught by AJ on the warning track.

The Angels kept chugging in the third. Ben Revere picked-up a one out walk, and stole second base on a pitch that struck out Mike Trout. Who knows if CaJo would’ve had a shot at cutting down Revere, because the ball actually popped out of his hand on the transfer.

With two down, Albert Pujols reached for a low and outside pitch, pulling it sharply into left, and scoring Revere. After issuing another walk, Tillman escaped the inning with the score still only 2-0 at that point.

Tillman threw passable fourth and fith innings, aided by GiDPs in both. He didn’t look dominant by any stretch of the imagination, but kept the Angels off of the scoreboard. Through the end of fifth, the Angles and Orioles had combined to ground into four double plays on the afternoon.

In the sixth inning, with one down, Chris Tillman issued a walk to Kole Calhoun. This was good for Chris’s fifth walk of the game. Andrelton Simmons followed by crushing the 17th home run of the three game series. Suddenly a game that had been close for more than half of the affair didn’t look it any longer. 4-1 Angels.

Following the big blow, Tillman made good by issuing his sixth walk of the game to Luis Valbuena, and Buck Showalter cried “mercy!” Darren O’Day came on to pitch in favor of Tillman and got two quick outs to end the inning,

This sealed Tillman’s final line at a cringe-worthy 5.1IP, 4H 4ER, 6BB, 2SO. Honestly, it really could have been much worse as far as results. 10 base runners allowed over just-over half those many innings. That’s like, what? A ~2 WHIP? Nothing seems to have changed in Tillmanland.

A growing sample size for a growing boy

Up until this point, any discussion of Parker Bridwell’s success has come with a caveat of small sample size. With each passing start, that caveat becomes less and less relevant. Bridwell is now sporting a 2.92 ERA over 12 starts for the Angels—and his team is 11-1 in those games.

The Orioles scored their only pre-sixth inning run off of Bridwell in the third when Chris Davis led off with a display of his signature opposite field power.

Also of interest in the third, CaJo struck out on what replays proved to be a foul tip into the ground. Eric Cooper, today’s home plate umpire, didn’t agree and Caleb was sort of lucky to not get tossed when he angrily turned around and pointed to the exact spot where the ball made a mark in the dirt. He was right, but as a general rule, it’s not okay to show up an umpire like that.

There was a brief intermission where Showalter conferenced with the men in blue, but these plays don’t ever actually get overturned—especially because for some reason questions of foul tips are not subject to video review.

With Tillman freshly knocked out of the game, the O’s begun their half of the sixth with CaJo reaching on a single that deflected off of Angel’s second baseman, Cliff Pennington’s glove. It looked like it could have been called an error, but I’m not an official scorer for a reason. Tim Beckham followed by reaching on what was actually ruled an error by Cliff Pennington.

With two runners on and nobody down, Jim Hunter (for MASN) excitedly announced that there was a rally underway. Turns out he is possibly prophetic in his undying homerism. Manny Machado extended his hitting streak to nine straight games, going the other way, and loading the bases.

As so often happens when Manny reaches in front of him, adorable bestie, Jonathan Schoop came through with a big hit. Schoop blasted a long single that plated CaJo and Beckham. This chased Parker Bridwell from the game with a final line of 5.0IP, 6H, 4R (2ER), 1BB, 3SO.

With Keynan Middleton on to throw, and runners then on first and third, Adam Jones hit a sharp grounder to short. Manny was off towards home on contact, but got cut-down easily. Manny didn’t go quietly, forcing a rundown, but was visually upset when Schoop didn’t advance to third on his efforts to buy time.

Mark Trumbo came up to the plate and woke up with a ground-rule double. Had the ball not bounced off the warning track into the stands, both Schoop and Jones would have scored. Things being as they were, only Schoop scored, and the score was knotted 4-4 rather than the O’s taking a late lead.

Chris Davis came up next and struck out swinging, as he tends to do. The rally in the sixth was over, but there was a whole new ballgame with a tie now reflecting on the scoreboard.

Battle of the bullpens

Brad Brach ended up earning the loss for the Orioles, and damn, he deserved the you-know-what out of that “L.” The seventh was rocky, no thanks to a fielding error by Manny Machado, but Brach escaped with a GiDP by Albert Pujols. That was fine.

What was not “fine” was that Brach started the eighth by issuing a walk to Kole Calhoun, striking out Andrelton Simmons, and then issuing another walk to Luis Valbuena. No bueno. Buck agreed, and swiftly brought Mychal Givens in to pitch.

After getting C.J. Cron to fly out, Givens allowed Cameron Maybin to single to Craig Gentry, scoring Kole Calhoun. I’m not even going to mention that the relay throw was close, and it was almost a job well-done. That doesn’t matter. What mattered was a leadoff walk by a late inning guy came around to score—the Orioles third walk to score of the game.

The Orioles went 1-2-3 in the seventh, mustered only one hit (thanks to a phenomenal defensive play by Andrelton Simmons) in the eighth, and managed only a single and a walk in the ninth. Bud Norris notched the save for the Angels, and the Orioles lost a heartbreaking 5-4 match.

The O’s are back in action tomorrow at home, welcoming Oakland to the yard for the first of three. Wade Miley will go against Chris Smith at 7:05pm ET.