The famously hot and cold Jake Arrieta sent his evil twin to the mound at Angel Stadium last night, but he won’t see the inside of a major league stadium again for a while. The Orioles gave him a 7-3 lead in the fourth inning, and he surrendered two runs before being relieved in the bottom half. The Angels went on to score three more against Luis Ayala, and never trailed after that.
It seemed as though, for the rest of the game, after scoring 7 runs in four at-bats, the Orioles’ hitters were trying to hit it all the way to the Pacific Ocean instead of just getting on base.
Buck Showalter had already sent Chris Tillman to Bowie to get in a start and stay on normal rest during the All-Star break. It looked a lot like Arrieta needs the same thing, although for much different reasons. Indeed it was announced after the game that he has been sent to Norfolk, the destination most observers had been arguing for a couple of weeks ago, the last time he caved in during a start.
The Orioles are expecting Nick Markakis, Endy Chavez and Brian Roberts back after the break. In theory, bringing them back with some of July left to go gives them a little time to get their timing back before the last two months. The same holds true for Jim Thome, whose acquisition came at a good time, giving him most of July to get his timing up to standard, before the whole lineup is able to get back on the field.
It may not do much good if the pitching doesn’t pull it together.
While Tillman is in Bowie, Norfolk first baseman Joe Mahoney has been recalled. Mahoney has been known for his power, but also his battle with injuries, for most of his career in the organization, and it will be intriguing to see the 6-foot-6 power hitter get a shot, although a brief one, at some point this weekend. Seeing an infielder catch and then throw a ball will also be intriguing.
Anyone’s guess is as good as mine on whether Dan Duquette will use the improved Tillman as a trade chip, or just make him the sorely needed, No. 3 starter. It depends on what quality of player Duquette can get for him, not that it takes any particular brilliance to point that out.