Tag Archive | "Chris Tillman"

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Orioles shut down Japanese pitcher Wada

Posted on 21 April 2012 by Luke Jones

With starting pitcher Brian Matusz struggling in his first three starts of 2012, it looked like the Orioles might eventually turn to Japanese newcomer Tsuyoshi Wada in the near future, but that will no longer be the case.

The club announced Saturday it has shut down Wada’s rehab assignment, and the left-handed pitcher will return to Baltimore to see team doctors. Wada has been on the 15-day disabled list with an elbow injury and reportedly was dealing with neck spasms during a disastrous rehab start for Triple-A Norfolk on Thursday. Wada gave up six earned runs and walked four in just 2 2/3 innings in his only start for the Tides.

Wada was considered the primary option to potentially replace Matusz at the major league level, but there is no timetable for the injured pitcher to resume throwing. Starters Brad Bergesen (8.49 earned run average in 11 2/3 innings) and Chris Tillman (4.73 ERA in 13 1/3 innings) haven’t exactly excelled in their first three starts in the starting rotation for the Tides, meaning manager Buck Showalter might be more inclined to turn to journeyman Dana Eveland (2.41 ERA in 18 2/3 innings) or Jason Berken (0.60 ERA in three starts covering 15 innings) if the Orioles decide to demote Matusz in the near future.

Even if the Orioles weren’t planning to replace Matusz with Wada in the starting rotation, the 31-year-old rookie was considered the most logical choice for a long-relief role in the bullpen, which currently lacks a pitcher who can throw multiple innings at a time.

 

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Orioles option RHP Tillman to Triple-A Norfolk, place Simon on waivers

Posted on 31 March 2012 by Luke Jones

With the start of the season less than a week away, the Orioles moved closer to shaping their pitching staff with a pair of moves over the last 24 hours.

Right-handed pitcher Chris Tillman has been optioned to Triple-A Norfolk where he will presumably be a member of the Tides’ starting rotation. Showing improved velocity, the 23-year-old Tillman posted a 2.92 earned run average in 12 1/3 innings over five outings this spring.

The Orioles likely view Triple A as a better fit for Tillman as he tries to build on a successful spring and extends himself as a starter. Though he was still a dark-horse candidate for the fifth starter job, Tillman likely would have found himself as a long reliever only pitching a few innings a week.

The club also reportedly placed right-handed pitcher Alfredo Simon on outright waivers despite his ability to pitch as either a starter or a reliever. Battling a groin injury during sprain training, Simon was lit up for six runs in two innings of relief work on Wednesday.

Simon’s impending removal from the 40-man roster will clear a spot for one of two non-roster invitees likely to make the 25-man roster heading north. First baseman Nick Johnson is expected to be part of the Orioles’ bench while catcher Ronny Paulino will be Matt Wieters’ backup with Taylor Teagarden heading to the 15-day disabled list.

 

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Here’s How I’d Put Together Orioles Roster At This Point

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Here’s How I’d Put Together Orioles Roster At This Point

Posted on 27 March 2012 by Glenn Clark

They’re not going to be good, but they’re going to play games anyway. Tuesday on “The Reality Check”, I offered my best educated guess on how to put together the Baltimore Orioles’ 25 man Opening Day roster.

A lot of this appears to be set in stone already. As a reminder, I’m not in Sarasota covering Spring Training. I’m in Towson looking out the window at the deer here at 1550 Hart Rd.

I’m not complaining by the way.

OUTFIELDERS (4):

Nolan Reimold
Adam Jones
Nick Markakis
Endy Chavez

INFIELDERS/DESIGNATED HITTER (7):
Mark Reynolds
JJ Hardy
Robert Andino
Ryan Flaherty
Chris Davis
Wilson Betemit
Nick Johnson

CATCHERS (2):
Matt Wieters

Ronny Paulino

STARTING ROTATION-IN ORDER (5):
Jake Arrieta
Jason Hammel
Wei-Yin Chen

Tommy Hunter
Dana Eveland

BULLPEN (7):
Kevin Gregg
Matt Lindstrom

Luis Ayala
Tsuyoshi Wada
Jim Johnson
Pedro Strop
Troy Patton

(DISABLED LIST: P Zach Britton, 2B Brian Roberts, P Darren O’Day & P Alfredo Simon)

ROSTER NOTES: The O’s will be able to add Johnson and Paulino to the roster by sampling moving OF Jai Miller and C Taylor Teagarden off the roster. I’m guessing the team will now choose to leave Brian Matusz in Norfolk to protect a rotation spot for Britton when he’s healthy. There are other roster options (including leaving Wada on the DL) that could open up a spot for a Chris Tillman, O’Day or Simon.

-G

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Roberts, Britton to begin year on 15-day DL; Orioles make more spring cuts

Posted on 26 March 2012 by Luke Jones

With Opening Day less than two weeks away, manager Buck Showalter and the Orioles continue to sort out which 25 players they’ll be taking north to open the season against the Minnesota Twins on April 6.

Second baseman Brian Roberts (concussion symptoms) and left-handed pitcher Zach Britton (left shoulder impingement) will begin the season on the 15-day disabled list. The veteran infielder continues to progress from the concussion symptoms he’s dealt with for the better part of 18 months but is not ready to resume his role as the Baltimore second baseman. Britton is currently receiving platelet rich plasma therapy in hopes of rebuilding strength in his pitching shoulder and will likely be out until at least May.

The decision to place Roberts on the 15-day disabled list means he will remain on the 40-man roster. Some speculated Roberts would be placed on the 60-day list, but it appears he will travel with the club to Baltimore to get re-acclimated to a major league environment before potentially going on a minor league rehab assignment.

The Orioles trimmed their spring roster to 35 on Monday by optioning infielder Matt Antonelli and pitchers Brad Bergesen and Jason Berken to Triple-A Norfolk. They also reassigned pitchers Dontrelle Willis and Armando Gallaraga, catcher John Hester, infielder Steve Tolleson, and outfielder Scott Beerer to minor league camp.

The demotions of Antonelli and Tolleson make it apparent that Showalter will keep Rule 5 selection Ryan Flaherty as his utility infielder since Robert Andino will be the starting second baseman. The 25-year-old Flaherty is hitting .279 in 43 spring at-bats with one home run and eight runs batted in.

As for the starting rotation, it appears Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen, and Tommy Hunter have locked up four of the five spots. Lefty Brian Matusz looks to be the favorite for the fifth spot, but Tsuyoshi Wada, Dana Eveland, and Chris Tillman remain in the mix over the final week and a half of spring training.

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Tillman Shaky But Orioles Top Twins

Posted on 16 March 2012 by WNST Staff

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I Answer Your Questions About O’s Rotation, Ravens Free Agency, Terrell Stoglin, More

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I Answer Your Questions About O’s Rotation, Ravens Free Agency, Terrell Stoglin, More

Posted on 13 March 2012 by Glenn Clark

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Excitement over Bundy painful reminder of Orioles’ underwhelming “cavalry”

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Excitement over Bundy painful reminder of Orioles’ underwhelming “cavalry”

Posted on 29 February 2012 by Luke Jones

With the Orioles beginning preparations in Sarasota ahead of their 20th anniversary at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, much of the buzz in camp has surrounded a young pitcher born seven months after the baseball cathedral first opened in downtown Baltimore.

Yes, let that marinate for a moment or two.

After being selected as the fourth overall pick of last June’s amateur draft, 19-year-old Dylan Bundy has drawn rave reviews from observers and teammates alike while displaying a plus-fastball in the mid to upper 90s and three other pitches that already have hitters shaking their heads during live batting practice, according to reports from Florida. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound right-hander will presumably begin his minor league career at Single-A Delmarva this season, but his track to the big leagues has the potential to be much shorter than the typical pitcher fresh out of high school.

“That kid Bundy is gonna be special….if he wants to,” center fielder Adam Jones said on his official Twitter account on Monday.

Never one to mince words, Jones tells it like he sees it.

Of course, before anyone proclaims him the future ace of the staff, Bundy has yet to throw a professional pitch — even if he appears to have more upside than any Baltimore pitching prospect in recent memory. Given their failed history in cultivating young hurlers over the years, the Orioles would be well served to protect their best pitching prospect in bubble wrap after the gushing about his potential since last June.

But the hype surrounding Bundy isn’t all that different than the anticipation for the famed “cavalry” of a couple years ago when then-manager Dave Trembley and many others were touting the potential of Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, Chris Tillman, and several others and how it would lead the Orioles from the abyss of losing season after losing season. It gave fans hope at the time, but the results have been mixed at best and generally regarded as disappointing when looking back at all the excitement.

Matusz? A disastrous 2011 season that included a 1-9 record and a 10.69 earned run average has made nearly everyone question the former first-round pick’s health, dedication to the game, and mental toughness.

Arrieta? He had been the steadiest of the original “Big Three” before elbow surgery cut his 2011 campaign short, but the tough right-hander still doesn’t show enough command to project as much better than a middle-of-the-rotation starter.

Tillman? The tall righty has never shown more than brief flashes of the ability the Orioles saw in him when acquiring him as part of the return for the Erik Bedard trade over four years ago. His future appears to be in the bullpen.

The most promising arrival of the crop, left-hander Zach Britton shows great upside after a solid rookie season, but a shoulder strain has caused fans to take pause in the early stages of spring training.

After a disappointing offseason void of any significant moves and the trade of veteran mainstay Jeremy Guthrie to the Colorado Rockies, the continued development of the young pitching will be even more critical in not only determining how the Orioles fare in 2012 but will also go a long way in deciding where the organization goes from here. With the current core of position players not getting any younger, the failure of Matusz, Britton, and Arrieta to take significant steps forward could entice executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette to begin selling off key pieces such as Jones and right fielder Nick Markakis to essentially begin the rebuilding process again.

And for a fan base devoid of a winning product since 1997, that’s a sobering proposition.

For Matusz (52 career starts) and Arrieta (40 career starts), the time is now to begin showing significant signs of maturity to prove the organization can pencil each into the rotation every fifth day without having to think twice. Britton needs to build upon his 4.61 ERA in 2011 and show why many scouts project him as a potential No. 2 starter in a major league rotation. If the trio makes major strides in 2012, it might be enough to push ownership to spend more aggressively at the big-league level while continuing to build the farm system behind the scenes next offseason.

Of course, manager Buck Showalter has issued the challenge for all starting candidates to be ready to perform in spring training as he tries to piece together a starting rotation. The Orioles skipper has said the days of young pitchers holding a spot by default are over, which means some combination of Matusz, Arrieta, and Britton could wind up at Triple-A Norfolk to begin the season while short-term options such as Jason Hammel and Dana Eveland fill rotation spots. Frankly, it’s an even more deflating scenario than the continued struggles of the young pitchers at the big-league level.

If those goals don’t come to fruition, the Orioles may be back to square one — admittedly, not a very long fall — as fans will hopelessly look ahead to the likes of Bundy and top infield prospects Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop to lead the club back to respectability.

It will be no different than two years ago.

Or six years ago.

Or nine years ago.

Waiting on exciting potential, but wondering if it will ever become reality.

It’s a mantra Orioles fans are all too familiar with.

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The End of the Andy MacPhail Era- The View from the Balcony

Posted on 16 October 2011 by Erich Hawbaker

Well, Andy is officially out as the Orioles General Manager. And by most accounts, he hasn’t left the team in any better shape than he found it. There’s plenty of talk now about the possibility of Buck Showalter being promoted to the front office, but we’ll see. I don’t expect anything will happen fast.

I, for one, suspected for some time that MacPhail would be bowing out as soon as he had the chance. Most of us know that he’s gunning for Bud Selig’s job. And, it became rather apparent to me that he reached the same conclusion so many of us have: Peter Angelos has absolutely no interest in fielding a winning team, and there is a 99.9% chance that the Orioles will not see the playoffs again or possibly even a .500 season as long as he still owns them.

Andy’s ‘grow the arms and buy the bats’ plan may have looked good on paper, but turned out to be a total bust. His “cavalry” of young pitchers (Matusz, Britton, Arietta, Tillman, Patton) fared about as well this season as General Custer’s cavalry did at the Battle of Little Bighorn. I will concede that sometimes prospects simply don’t pan out, and that is not entirely Andy’s fault.

But as far as buying the bats goes, he deserves every vile criticism we can throw at him and more. In 4 years time, what legitimate bats were bought? As far as free agents went, Andy’s tenure was marked by making joke offers to the likes of Adam Dunn and Mark Teixeira, and then settling for past-their-prime B-listers like Derrick Lee and Vlad Guerrero (and don’t hold your breath about Prince Fielder coming to Baltimore either). Of course, there’s only so much you can do when you have Peter Angelos keeping you on such a tight leash, but Andy doesn’t get a pass here. The Orioles haven’t been serious about signing free agents in over a decade, and MacPhail did nothing to reverse that trend.

For awhile now, I’ve been thinking about how best to summarize the time Andy MacPhail spent in Baltimore, and I happened to stumble across the perfect illustration on Youtube. This will be a first for me, using visual aids in my columns. Now, when you go to the link below and watch the clip from the old classic Muppet Show, I want you to do something. Imagine that Milton Berle is Andy MacPhail, and that Statler and Waldorf (the two old men in the balcony) represent we, the disgruntled Orioles fans. And instead of talking about being funny, suppose the discussion centers around the ability to build a winning baseball team (you’ll have to copy and paste the address below into your browser, because for some reason WordPress won’t let me put a real link in here). Enjoy!

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGfx3QAV64M&feature=related

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So an Oriole walks into a bar…yes the Orioles have become a joke

Posted on 21 August 2011 by Tom Clayton

 Well the Orioles are finally on track…..on track to lose 100 games.  They have reached this once impossible feat after a terrible loss last night in which the Orioles “closer” blew a two-run lead in the bottom of the 12th; granted he wasn’t helped by the terrible defense behind him.  After the loss I jumped on to Facebook to see the outrage of Oriole fans after what can only be described as an appalling  loss and low and behold…not one post.  None, I mean a few months ago fans were ranting and raving that the team was awful, and Kevin Gregg was the antichrist but now the critics are silent and the fans have given up.  I have always found it fun to follow the reactions of Oriole fans on social media because I see such varied and passionate opinions but this “team” has sucked all of the fight and passion from everyone.

Let’s be honest the Orioles are a joke, and I mean that literally.  I remember watching SportsCenter and hearing the anchor say, “And we go to the highlights of the Blue Jays and Orioles….the Orioles are still in the majors?”  And then no less than twenty minutes later on ESPN News as they showed Mark Reynolds crush a homer into a completely empty second deck the anchor proclaimed, “plenty of good seats remain in Baltimore” and after a little girl came running into frame to grab the ball he continued, “Oh the Orioles still have a fan left”.  This is how the national media views the Orioles, we are a joke that doesn’t receive nor deserves any respect.

As I sit here and watch the Orioles boot the ball all around Anaheim and see Felix Pie rolling around in the outfield like one of the Keystone Cops I wonder, why do I put myself through this anymore?  Why would someone allow themselves to be punched in the stomach on a daily basis for a team that couldn’t give a damn about them?  And the sad answer is I don’t know anymore.

I look at Andy McPhail’s philosophy of “grow the arms and buy the bats” and I think, at least sticking to his flawed plan.  Maybe the plan would work in a functional organization but when you have a HORRIBLE scouting department that routinely misses on top draft picks and never finds a diamond in the rough in later rounds how can you possible grow the arms?  The arms that Andy and company have grown are quite simply not working out….take a look at the young cavalry of arms and their statistics heading into today’s game.

Brian Matusz – 1-5 8.63 ERA with a WHIP of 1.92 and an opponent batting average of .350.  Matusz’ WHIP of 1.92 means that ON AVERAGE he is allowing nearly two base runners per inning.

Jake Arrieta – 10-8 with a 5.22 ERA; sadly Arrieta is the only Orioles starter with a winning record even with and ERA well over 5.

Chris Tillman – 3-5 with a 5.52 ERA; Tillman was considered one of the top prospects in baseball two years ago now after working with Orioles instructors he is considered another in a long line of busts.

Zach Britton – 6-9 with a 4.66 ERA; honestly Zach pitched really well in the opening month of the season and looked like a potential Rookie of the Year candidate then the league caught up with him and he did nothing to make adjustments.

The Orioles pitchers seem to not only continue to fail they are shipped back and forth to the minors on a daily basis; in fact every one of these young arms has been sent back down to the minors except for Arrieta who is out for the season.  I honestly cannot remember the last time I turned on the Orioles pregame show and didn’t hear about a pending move or a player being sent back down to the minors.  The Orioles need to be honest with themselves and understand this team is going nowhere and nobody cares about anything they do anymore so why not let these pitchers stay in the rotation and let them try and make the adjustments needed heading into next season?

The Orioles are a team that is in a major need of a complete overhaul starting from the top on down; this rebuilding process didn’t work as the foundation has crumbled around it.  I think the organization needs to take a long hard look in the mirror and at the 40,000 empty seats in the stadium and make a tough decision.  Either blow this thing up COMPLETELY or continue to be a joke among major league baseball. 

 

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With 50 games remaining, Orioles are bound for worst record in 23 years ….

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With 50 games remaining, Orioles are bound for worst record in 23 years ….

Posted on 09 August 2011 by Rex Snider

When I reflect back on the final days of March and all the optimism that surrounded this 2011 edition of the Orioles, I come to one distinct conclusion:

ALL OF US WERE SNOOKERED ….

And, this includes every single soul who follows, loves and ultimately believes the beleaguered franchise will eventually improve.  On such a list, fans, media members and anyone with a related interest in the ballclub are all heaped together.

Not a single one of my brethren thought this team would be WORSE than last year’s product ….

Not a single listener called me and voiced a pessimistic view of the season, especially with Buck Showalter at the helm for a full 162 games ….

Indeed, we consumed and digested the potion pitched by Buck’s birds over the final couple months of 2010.  We chose to rally behind the Showalter energy, especially with the visual reminders on billboards around town and the corny commercials courtesy of MASN.

All of us were fooled, because we chose to believe our hearts.  And, to be quite honest, we chose to ignore the very basics of baseball; pitching is the root of winning at this very highest level of the game.

A year ago, today …. on August 9th, 2010, the Orioles rattled off their sixth victory in seven attempts under the guidance of a newly appointed Showalter.  Under his tutelage, they displayed a renewed vigor and devotion to the basics of winning baseball.

Today, the team is reeling.  They’ve lost eight of the last ten contests and it seems as if they invent ways of squandering leads and outcomes, just as they did last night.  Of course, this dilemma is compounded by a current starting corps of pitching that might be the most dismal witnessed in years.

And, this is exactly where ALL OF US took the bait and fooled ourselves in the context of conventional wisdom and history’s teachings, if nothing else …..

It’s easy to sit back and blame Vlad Guerrero for not living up to expectations.  Say what you will, he’s not the primary problem.  Vlad is hitting a disappointing .274, with 9 homers and 15 doubles, but the problems run much deeper than a lackluster effort from the designated hitter.

Yes, you can defer any blame headed Mark Reynolds’ way, as well.  He’s hitting .219, with 26 homers and a peutrid 26 errors.  But, he too, is not part of the root problem with this Orioles team.

The blunt truth is Andy MacPhail and Buck Showalter gambled the entire house on a young, inexperienced pitching staff ….

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Prior to the start of this 2011 season, Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton and Chris Tillman owned a combined 41 big league starts.  And, Britton claimed none of those numbers.  Yet, each of these young pitchers had a spot in the rotation to start the season.

Of course, Britton’s inclusion was necessitated by an injury to Brian Matusz – which surfaced just hours before the season opener. 

Yes, this is the same Brian Matusz who has not returned to his 2010 form.  Heck, he probably hasn’t found a repertoire consistent to 2008, when he starred in the rotation at the University of San Diego.

As for the others, we know where they’re hanging their hats these days …..

Jake Arrieta is done for the season, due to injury.

Zach Britton also finds himself on the disabled list.

And, Chris Tillman is in the current rotation, because there isn’t a body to challenge for the spot.

In vivid honesty, MacPhail obviously overestimated the durability and overall readiness of the organization’s young pitching prospects – and we bought in !!!!

Call it blind faith or a belief in what Buck Showlater produced in last season’s abbreviated window …. or a hope that things couldn’t get much worse.  But, just like the Orioles’ President of Baseball Operations, we too, overrated the inexperienced and largely untested pitching prospects.

Following last night’s loss, the Orioles find themselves at 44-68, which is just 6.5 games ahead of last year’s team.  And, remember that’s a team that mounted a 28-22 record over its fnal 50 games.

This current edition of the Orioles also has 50 games remaining.  They’re a team that has lost 9 out of 12, as well as 27 of its last 36 contests.  The starting pitching staff bears one name that would merit a spot in most rotations around the game.

They need to win 20 of the final 50 games to avoid suffering the worst organizational record since the trainwrecked 1988 season.

I’m betting they won’t do it.  I’m just being honest – I don’t see how this team wins 2 of 5 games throughout the remainder of the schedule. 

Is this team worse than 2010?  Heck yeah …. it’s going to be the worst Orioles team in the last 23 years. 

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