With Dylan Bundy the second pitcher in as many days starting on extended rest out of the All-Star break, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said the key to coming out strong the way right-hander Chris Tillman did was to take the work in between seriously.
“Chris was diligent about his three sides” between his start June 30 and Monday night, Showalter said. “Those were very important for him to try to work on some things and get a consistent delivery.
"Even the walks he had last night, it wasn’t some of those no-competitive, four-pitch walks that we’ve seen some, not just from him, where you’ve got four pitches that are balls right out of your hands. Guys that are really good pitchers, competitive pitches is a ball that 1-2, 0-2 , 2-2 is not a ball right out of your hand. You don’t really gain anything from a hitter. He didn’t have many of those last night where he had some counts in his favor, then wasted some counts by throwing a pitch that’s a ball right out of his hand.”
Tillman allowed a run on two hits with four walks and three strikeouts in six innings, and was followed in the rotation by right-hander Bundy, who got 11 days off between starts on either side of the All-Star break.
Showalter said Bundy didn’t get as much work in between because the team really wanted him to rest, but the possibility of a physical boost is there for him, too. Tillman’s average fastball velocity of 92.4 mph was his highest of any game this season, and all his pitches were firmer Monday.
Showalter didn’t know the impact the rest would have on Bundy, though.
“I wish I knew,” Showalter said. “Some guys really benefit from it. Some guys don’t. … I know physically it usually does them some good. Some guys, it takes awhile to get back in the saddle.”
Wright still a starter
Right-hander Mike Wright is rehabilitating a shoulder injury in the Gulf Coast League, a physical problem exacerbated when the club used him in relief in early June.
However, Showalter said he still sees Wright as a starter once he returns.
“Everybody’s need, including us for the most part, is for starters,” Showalter said. “You want to go down that road as long as you can. I think Mike has shown that he can fill that other role. I feel like we could take most starting pitchers and do that. Somebody has got to start. That’s always a priority. It’s five innings compared to one or two. It’s pretty easy to do the math for that. I’m hoping that Mike can still be an option for us there."
Around the horn
Center fielder Adam Jones was named the Orioles’ winner of the Heart and Hustle Award from the MLB Players Alumni Association, given to a player “who demonstrates a passion for the game of baseball and best embodies the values, spirit, and tradition of the game.” … Shortstop Adam Hall, the Orioles’ second-round pick in this year’s draft, debuted in the Gulf Coast League on Monday and has six hits in nine at-bats over his first two games. Showalter said he didn’t know when first-round left-hander DL Hall would debut in a game. … With their 3-1 win Monday over the Texas Rangers, the Orioles are tied with the Washington Nationals for the major league lead with 11 wins when scoring three runs or fewer, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.