* Chris Tillman had a decent first major league start of the year. He gave up a lead-off double, but then struck out the side in the first and finished with a line of 5.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 HR. It wasn’t all that good of a start though, given his single-game FIP of about 8.00.
Tillman gave up quite a few flyballs though (and those two longablls), which one would expect given that his fastball is still pretty straight, of the high riding variety, and gets thrown up in the zone. He used the pitch a lot, and didn’t seem to throw a real cutter. Off-speed wise, his curveball is still awesome and the change-up looks good, though he only threw the latter s7 times.
I have real concerns about Tillman’s ceiling, given that he’s a flyball pitcher without a particularly overpowering fastball. I really like his other stuff, but even if he shows above average control I’m worried that he won’t be able to miss enough bats* to make up for the inevitable home runs. If his control becomes elite and he starts to strike out more batters, then he could still pitch at the top of the rotation. Otherwise he’s probably just a league average starter, which is certainly valuable but not exactly exciting.
* Kevin Goldstein from Baseball Prospectus thinks he’ll be OK though, saying 7 to 8 K/9 when I asked him about it.
* Jason Berken looked pretty good out of the pen, striking out 4. His final line wasn’t so nice though; 2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR. The home run was on a breaking-ball that he hung about as much as you can hang one – belt high in the middle of the plate – and it was crushed. His second run actually scored on someone else’s watch.
* The O’s offense managed a grand total of 5 baserunners, all on hits. They did pick up their first extra-base hit in a while, with a soft double down the right-field line by Cesar Izturis. The rest were singles. Amazed that they weren’t shut out, with the 0 walks and 8 K’s.
* Alberto Castillo relieved Berken, and gave up a home run to a lefty batter on the first pitch he threw. Then he walked the next batter. Should have just let Berken finish the game, even if he had thrown almost 50 pitches.
A pretty pathetic game, that the O’s really didn’t even have any business being in at the end. They lose 5-2. Think I need to take a couple days off from the team, because I’m getting a little despondent. Enjoy the rest of the Memorial Day weekend everyone.