Myriad O's Thoughts: Tillman's command; Hart's mind at home; Jones' homering history - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Dan Connolly

Myriad O’s Thoughts: Tillman’s command; Hart’s mind at home; Jones’ homering history

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

It’s bizarre to think that a big league pitcher can give up six earned runs in fewer than six innings and still take a step forward.

Even the awful ERA suggests otherwise, going from 7.75 to 7.91 Monday.

But right-hander Chris Tillman did appear to be in a little better situation against the Seattle Mariners in the Orioles’ 7-6 win than he has in many of his outings this season.

OK, so I’m talking baby steps here.

Tillman still walked four – and all of those runners scored, including two inherited by Mychal Givens.

And Tillman still served up two homers, a solo shot to former teammate Danny Valencia and a three-run bomb by Ben Gamel, who had five RBIs.

So, yeah, it wasn’t good.

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But Tillman allowed just three hits total. He was averaging 10 pitches an inning for his first three frames. He threw 88 for his outing, which lasted 5 1/3 innings.

And, afterward, Tillman said that he felt his command Monday represented an improvement from the rest of this lost season.

“We were just talking about it. I feel like it was as good as it has been all year,” Tillman said after the game. “I felt like I made a lot of pitches, made a lot of pitches I wanted to make. Other than two of the walks, I feel like command was better, contact wasn’t nearly as firm, a lot of soft contact, a lot of ground balls. That’s the goal.”

Tillman’s a realistic guy. He knows Monday’s outing isn’t going on his free-agent promotional video. He knows it’s not acceptable in itself. But it wasn’t the complete disaster the line suggests.

“It got to the point in the game where I was trying to stay out of the big inning and I kind of pitched myself into trouble,” he said. “I feel like command was much, much better tonight. It was better than last game. You know, it’s getting there slowly but surely.”

When you’re having a season like Tillman has had in 2017, when there are a few positives, it’s probably worth noting when things are even a tick improved. Orioles manager Buck Showalter did the same thing post-game.

“That’s a good lineup and there’s not many breathing spots. He elevated some balls, hung a slider to Gamel. Trying to contain guys like (Robinson) Cano and (Nelson) Cruz, you drop your guard against the rest of them. It’s a challenge,” Showalter said. “But there was some good, too.”

Driving from Virginia; mind’s on Texas

Lefty reliever Donnie Hart received the call every minor leaguer wants: Head up to Baltimore on Monday and re-join the Orioles. But instead of being focused on getting back to the major leagues during his four-hour drive from Norfolk, Va., the lefty from Texas was preoccupied with something weightier.

“I’ve been pretty distracted,” Hart said. “I spent most of the ride up here form Norfolk today on the phone. Matter of fact, I had to plug in my phone because it had almost gone dead.”

Hart grew up in Katy, Texas, about 30 miles west of Houston, which has been hit hard by Hurricane Harvey.

Hart said his home is on higher ground, so it seems to be OK for now, but, “you get that much rain in a short period of time, there is no high ground. So, the water is moving where my parents are at and they are staying dry for the most part.”

He said his parents’ home is serving as a way station for friends, family and pets who have been displaced.

“My parents’ house is full right now. We don’t even own dogs and they’ve got five or so dogs in the house,” Hart said. “Both sisters and their families are in the house right now. Just because of the amount of water they are taking in (in their homes).”

He said one of his friends in Texas has an airboat, so he was trying to get him in touch with others who may need his help.

It’s another one of those reminders that these guys are professional athletes, but they are also sons and husbands and fathers, and have lives outside of baseball. And sometimes those lives are shaken by situations beyond their control.

“It’s kind of scary down there right now. But I can thankfully say my family is safe for the most part,” said Hart, who picked up the win Monday, but could go back to Norfolk on Tuesday when Dylan Bundy comes off the bereavement list.

“You just kind of cross your fingers and hope everybody can get out and go somewhere and be safe for the night.”

Jones hits 250th homer – and 25th homer for seventh straight season

With a fifth-inning home run Monday, Orioles center fielder Adam Jones captured another personal milestone and some more Orioles’ history.

It was the 250th homer of this career and 247th as an Oriole (fifth most in club history).

In addition, he is now the only modern-day Oriole to have seven straight seasons of 25 or more homers, snapping a tie with Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr., who had six straight from 1982 to 1987.

There probably should be an asterisk there, however.

Hall-of-Famer Eddie Murray had 25 or more homers in eight of nine seasons from 1977 to 1985. The only exception was in the strike-shortened 1981 season, when he was tied for the AL lead with 22, but the Orioles played only 105 games.

If there had been a full season in 1981, it’s not a stretch to think Murray would have hit three more homers and ended up with a total of nine consecutive seasons with 25 or more.

As it is, though, Jones owns the record.

He’s third in team history with 25 or more homers in seven total seasons. Murray did it 10 times for the Orioles and Ripken, eight.

Every time Jones reaches one of these marks, I basically write the same thing: This guy is one of the best players in franchise history It’s hard to argue otherwise.

“I’ve said many times, you couldn’t ask for a more consistent personality, a more consistent player,” Showalter said. “I know I appreciate him every day. I think he’s one of those guys that everybody does appreciate, because he does a lot of things other people can’t do.”

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Mau

    August 29, 2017 at 7:41 am

    Team suddenly seems…formidable despite the oft shaky starting pitching. Now that the O’s have a genuine leadoff hitter it is helping make the rest of the lineup more productive. Even Davis is waking up. Still bothers me seeing Davis and Trumbo back to back. I imagine that will change when Alvarez returns. The Beckham-Manny 1-2 punch is a formidable one.

    Oh, I work with one of Manny’s cousins. He won’t touch the subject of Manny’s plans but I do know that he and others want Manny as a Marlin. If he has to go somewhere so do I. Would hate to see him in pinstripes.

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    August 29, 2017 at 8:24 am

    Not to take anything away from Adam, but if Eddie Murray had played in Camden, it’s also not a stretch to think that those 25+ home runs seasons would have been more like 30 to 35+ home run seasons.

  3. Mr Will

    August 29, 2017 at 9:49 am

    Should have been a 4-6 run margin but now I am getting greedy. Looking at offense, I still see Davis and Trumbo back to back…if your readers see this why not Buck? The Os finally got that leadoff hitter they have looked for…hard to see why the RAYS let him go but as Os have seen too often a change of scenery helps many players. Did you see who is top NL winning pitcher at this point? I think Beckhan has in some way helped the entire squad as the lineup is pretty solid top to bottom. Will Alvarez come north to keep Trumbo out of lineup?
    This recent surge to me was most unexpected especially a sweep in Beantown….only hope starting pitching can kick in with good Ubaldo and a more “controllin” Miley as I do not see Tillman in their future at least not this year. Go Os and keep the surprises coming
    Mr Will

    • Os_Skins

      August 29, 2017 at 11:59 am

      Will Alvarez return? I thought so too…but he isn’t on the 40 man. Not sure who you are bumping to place a lefty DH on the 40 man, especially considering Buck said yesterday that he wants to add a third catcher and currently the only catchers on the 40 are Cabob and Beef. So that would be another addition to the 40 man. Then there’s JJ, who is currently on the 60 day, which means you need to remove one more person from the 40 in order to activate him. I’m not sure there’s room on the 40 for what Pedro brings.

      Leaving the issue of the 40 aside for a second, I don’t think Buck has been the biggest fan of September roster expansions, and I wonder if he would limit it to the necessities, pitching, injuries and overflow. By that I mean, Wright, Wilson, Asher, Yacabonis as pitching depth…then Joey as he was only made so they didn’t have to DFA Gentry…then the activation of JJ…and your third catcher. Just those moves bring you up to 32 people on your active roster. I’m not seeing a spot for Pedro, but it would be nice to have what he offers in a PH role or to spell a tired looking Trumbo.

      I’d be curious to see Dan’s thoughts on roster expansion candidates. This also isn’t taking into account what will surely be a move or two by Duquette right before the waiver deadline (he just can’t seem to help himself).

  4. Osfan73

    August 29, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Good job Adam Jones, leading quietly by example.
    Don’t know what to think about Tillman. He had the help of good run support last night. Better be all hands on deck in the bullpen during his and Ubaldo’s starts, and hopefully get to rest the pen when the other 3 start.

    • pedro

      August 29, 2017 at 3:51 pm

      Other 3? Wiley is a 5 inning guy.

      • Birdman

        August 29, 2017 at 5:30 pm

        guess “the other 3” are Bundy, Gausman, and Hellickson

  5. GSISDANNO

    August 29, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Chris Tillman is not his old self, not by any means. He had a couple of tworun leads and couldn’t hold them. I feel badly for him because he has been a good MLB pitcher for a long time.

  6. Raymo

    August 29, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    I went back and read the August 5 posting about re-signing Tillman now at a reduced price and I must say I agree. I don’t expect anything from him this year, but I bet he rebounds next year after an off-season of rest.

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