Tillman had one of those games he is capable of throwing where his command is so good that he is in total control. He would only give up a solo home run and total of three hits over eight innings, while striking out nine and moving his record to 10-5, 3.55.
Hundley and Tillman fell into a good rhythm that included not only a high-velocity fastball, but the most deadly curve imaginable. As we’ve highlighted before, when Tillman has what pitching coaches call “depth” on his curve, it makes his arsenal just about unbeatable. Of course, this requires a fine touch to move the ball in the strike zone both laterally and vertically through the same space. Of late, Tillman has had control of that touch.
There is so much to like about the Orioles pitching right now. Over the past 27 innings, they have given up only four runs on eight hits and five walks. That is an ERA of 1.33 and WHIP of 0.481 – not bad!
Orioles catchers Caleb Joseph and Nick Hundley deserve a good percentage of the credit as well for this run of pitching success. It was Hundley’s turn on Tuesday night, and he contributed by not only calling a great game in synch with Tillman, he had two hits including a home run, AND, a stolen base. And we wondered where all the speed on the Orioles is at! There it is.
But even more refreshing than the discovery of Hundley’s blazing speed was the rediscovery of Chris Davis’ RBI bat. His two-out, two-run double in the sixth inning broke open the game to give the Orioles a 4-1 margin at that point. And with the way Tillman was pitching, that was the backbreaker for the Sox.
The final game of the series this evening features 12-4 Wei-Yin Chen against Chicago’s Hector Noesi, who threw seven good innings in June against the O’s – scattering nine hits and giving up two runs in a no-decision. Twice before that in 2012, the Orioles pounded him hard and put two losses upon him.
The current Baltimore Orioles lineup is 15-for-54 (.278) against Noesi with a home run each by Adam Jones and Nelson Cruz. Hundley is 2-for-5, so maybe he will be back tonight? Surely the Sox catcher will fear that … though … he likely had other problems and pains overnight – you had to see the game to know what I’m talking about there!
The Birds are now 8.5 games up on the Yankees and nine games ahead of the Jays. It really does have a nice look about it.
NO EXTRA CHARGE FOR THIS: Have you seen the Little League girl pitcher who has taken the baseball world by storm this past week? Look at her pitching style and tell me which Orioles hurler she most resembles. See if you think she looks a bit like one who has recently been sent to the bullpen. She’s throwing 71% strikes, so, yes, there’s where the resemblance stops.