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Orioles minor league recap 7/16: Chris Tillman still doesn’t look sharp

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Another lackluster Tillman start leaves the O’s with a difficult decision. Keegan Akin gets back on track and two Baltimore farmhands make Futures Game appearances.

MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles at Detroit Tigers Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

MLB Futures Game

3B Ryan Mountcastle and LHP Alex Wells represented the Orioles in yesterday’s Futures Game, a game in which U.S. Team beat World Team 10-6. Mountcastle entered the game as pinch hitter and went 0-2. He did not play in the field. Wells appeared in the game when it was tied 5-5 in the sixth inning. He retired the only two batters he faced.

Gwinnett (Braves) 9, Norfolks Tides 2

This was a close game for a while, with the score tied at two after six innings. The Stripers then blew up Norfolk’s bullpen. Chris Tillman made what could be his final minor league rehab start. On the surface, allowing two earned runs in 5.1 innings is decent enough. But he allowed eight base hits and one walk during that stretch. He struck out three, but his reports from Harbor Park indicate that his fastball was sitting in the upper 80’s. While this performance is better than many of his recent minor league outings, is it enough to get him back to Baltimore? That will be a popular point of discussion in Birdland over the All Star Break.

Both Tides runs were scored via solo home run off the bats of 2B Ruben Tejada and C Stuart Levy. Cedric Mullins went 1-5 and struck out twice. That leaves his batting average at .286. DJ Stewart went 1-4.

This game wrapped up the Tides’ first series after the International League All Star Break. Losing three games in a four game series against Gwinnett to start the second half isn’t what they wanted to do as they attempt to chase down the division leading Durham Bulls.

Bowie Baysox 7, Reading (Phillies) 1

It was the Keegan Akin show again, which has been a fairly common occurrence for Bowie this season. Following his shortest outing of the season (two innings), Akin responded yesterday. He allowed one earned run and three hits in five innings of work and collected his ninth win of the season, lowering his ERA to 2.91. Five Fightin Phils were strikeout victims of his. We can be concerned about his four walks, the third consecutive outing in which he’s allowed at least four free passes. Perhaps the O’s want to see him correct that before giving him a look in the majors.

The Baysox gave Akin some early breathing room, building a 3-0 lead after four innings. C Martin Cervenka led the way with a home run and three RBI. 1B Aderlin Rodriguez and LF Jaycob Brugman also homered for Bowie. Ryan McKenna only went 1-3, but did collect two walks. His OBP at Bowie is now .361. Corban Joseph collected a double and Anthony Santander went hitless.

Frederick Keys 5, Potomac (Nationals) 4

It was just another Sunday at the ballpark for Frederick’s hitters as they faced... Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg looked impressive during his rehab start, but the Keys took advantage of three Potomac errors and handed the former National League All Star a loss. CF Cole Billingsley went 3-4 with a homer and two RBI. 2B Preston Palmeiro didn’t collect a hit but scored twice. LF Jake Ring went 2-3 with a run scored.

Lucas Humpal pitched five innings of two-run ball to pick up his third win of the year. He can tell his grandkids that he beat Stephen Strasburg head to head. Elvis Araujo recorded five outs while giving up one run to record his first save of the season. Tyler Erwin gave up a run after five consecutive scoreless appearances.

Delmarva Shorebirds 6, West Virginia (Pirates) 3

The Shorebirds were up 5-0 at the seventh inning stretch and held off a West Virginia comeback. CF Jach Jarrett carried Delmarva offensively, clubbing two home runs and driving in four of his team’s five runs. The outfielder is slashing .300/.375/.492 this season. Not bad for a 28th round selection last year. The two hitters in front of him, SS Mason McCoy and DH Cadyn Grenier, did an excellent job of setting the table. They combined for four hits and three runs scored.

Starter Luis Perez continued the dominant season he is putting together. He pitched six scoreless inning while allowing four hits and one walk. His combined ERA in six games between Aberdeen and Delmarva is an impressive 1.09. Timothy Naughton and Cameron Ming each allowed runs in relief, but the lead was big enough to withstand the Power’s late charge.

After a strong start and a subsequent swoon, Delmarva is playing great baseball again. They’ve won nine out of their last twelve games.

Auburn (Nationals) 3, Aberdeen IronBirds 2

Jimmy Graham, a 2017 8th round selection, started for Aberdeen and pitched well. He allowed only one earned run (three overall) in a season high six innings pitched. All three of those runs came in the first two innings and Aberdeen’s offense couldn’t pick him up.

SS Adam Hall went 0-4 and committed the error that allowed unearned runs to score. Last year’s second round pick is now batting .219 with an OPS of .533. 1B Seamus Curran went 2-4 with an RBI and a double. LF Jaylen Ferguson added the other RBI.

Complete box scores from these games can be found here.

Today’s scheduled games:

Norfolk Tides at Buffalo, 7:05. Starter: David Hess

Bowie Baysox at Altoona, 7:00. Starter: Luis Ysla

Frederick Keys at Potomac, 12:05. Starter: Zac Lowther

Delmarva Shorebirds at West Virginia, 7:05. Starter: TBD

Aberdeen IronBirds vs. Auburn, 11:05AM. Starter: TBD