After another quality start Monday night, Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman again gave credit to catcher Nick Hundley for being “right on with every pitch.”
It has become a trend now. Hundley has caught Tillman’s last six starts, and their numbers together have been fantastic.
In 12 games with Hundley behind the plate, Tillman has a 2.67 ERA and opponents have hit just .205 against him. In seven starts with Caleb Joseph catching, Tillman’s ERA is to 5.29 and opposing batters have a .287 average.
It’s obvious that Orioles manager Buck Showalter likes the Hundley-Tillman combo, but he’s not going to say it publicly. In theory, Showalter said he does not believe in having personal catchers for specific starting pitchers.
“I want everybody to be comfortable with everybody, and sometimes it’s used as an excuse,” Showalter said.
Showalter also said his starting catching assignments sometimes have more to do with offensive matchups against opposing pitchers. The fortunate thing, Showalter said, is that his pitchers feel good with whoever is catching.
“Sometimes you’ll see Nick catch two, three games in a row and then Caleb catch two or three in a row. It’s kind of a matchup,” Showalter said. “It tells you how comfortable we feel with catching either one of them.
“We are real lucky to have them, because I can catch either one of them with any pitcher and there would be no worries from the pitcher.”
Around the horn
Showalter said right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez is still preparing to pitch out of the bullpen, as he did Saturday when he threw four innings of relief. But the manager has not ruled him out of the starting rotation after the group’s upcoming turn. Prior to his last outing, Jimenez hadn’t pitched out of the bullpen since his major league debut in 2006. … The Orioles have spent all 26 days of August in first place in the AL East. From 1998-2013, the Orioles spent nine total days in the lead from Aug. 1 until the end of the season. … The Oriole Advocates will host their annual cardboard to leather collection before Saturday’s 7:05 p.m. game. Fans are encouraged to bring new or gently used baseball equipment, which will be distributed to youth throughout the world. Financial donations also will be accepted. … Country music star Phil Vassar, an Orioles fan, attended Tuesday’s game.