6:05 Central Time start. Why is this night different from all others?
Happy Passover. Orioles are indeed kosher.
I for one have had about enough of bitter herbs this spring. Time to make some Hillel Sandwiches out of the opposition. Pass the matzot. And don't ask me what I am drinking in the third inning.
F-Bomb (0-3, 5.30 FIP, 5.02 xFIP, 104 tRA+, 12:9 K:BB in 14.3 innings)
Chris Tillman (0-1, 4.85 FIP, 4.81 xFIP, 103 tRA+, 11:6 K:BB in 12.3 innings)
Tillman is a big (6'5", 210 lb) 23-year old, making his 27th career start for the O's. He was drafted in the 2nd round by Seattle in 2006 out of Fountain Valley, CA high school. The O's acquired him in 2008 as part of the Erik Bedard deal, along with former closer George Sherrill and current center fielder Adam Jones. I'd say that one has turned out pretty well for Baltimore.
Tillman has right-handed Jeremy written all over him. Fastball/curve/changeup. According to PitchFx, his fastball is mediocre, averaging 90.6 MPH last year (53.67 innings with Balt.) and 88.6 so far this year, registering at -1.79 runs above average per 100 (-1.55 RAA for his career). His heat maps indicate that he's "not been keeping the ball down" to right-handed hitters with his fastball this year. Of course, that might be better than what he's done in the past, which is throw it right down the middle a lot of the time.
Gardy would love this guy, because he pitches to contact. So far, hitters have connected on 90.7 percent of swings, and he sports a miniscule 3.9 pct swinging strike rate (6.3 pct for his MLB career to date; the MLB average for starters is 7.8 pct). So, hey, tonight should be a good night for the boys to bolster their scoring average.
As for Franchise, here's what the Yahoo preview has to say:
The first time through the lineup, opponents are batting .083 against Liriano. Second time through the order, however, Liriano is allowing them to hit .545. He has a 2.00 ERA through the first three innings, but from the fourth inning on, his ERA balloons to 21.94.
PitchFx says he's been throwing a lot of fastballs, per Gardy's instruction -- to the tune of -2.30 Runs Above Average (-0.77 RAA for his career). I'm not ready to panic yet, however. Baltimore's offense has been almost as awful as ours so far. I'm seeing this series opener as a golden opportunity to turn things around for our guys. Let My People Go from first to third with regularity. Let them sacrifice the paschal bunt. Let the Chesapeake run red with Twins' runs.