Chris Tillman makes his return to the Major Leagues today for the Orioles and he has a good chance to succeed vs. a weak Seattle lineup, while Mariners’ starter Hector Noesi is 0-7 in his last 10 starts. Fly with the Orioles Wednesday.
The 4th of July means lot of afternoon action, and one of the afternoon contests Wednesday marks the return to the Major Leagues of what was once a highly regarded pitcher when Chris Tillman makes his return for the Baltimore Orioles (43-37 overall, 21-17 away) against Hector Noesi and the Seattle Mariners (35-48 overall, 16-24 home) as the teams play the final game of a three-game series from Safeco Field in Seattle, WA at 4:10 ET.MLB Pick
The money line at 5 Dimes has Baltimore as a tiny road favorite for this contest at current odds of -104.
The Orioles were the biggest surprise in the American League for much of the early season, and the fact that they are still six games over the .500 mark with today marking the midway point of the season is still a nice accomplishment. They are still in second place in the American League East and a reasonable five games behind the New York Yankees.
The Mariners won the series opener here on Monday, but the Orioles rebounded to win 5-4 last night to break a three-game losing streak. That marked just Baltimore’s second win in the last eight games, but we like its chances to make it two straight wins today vs. a Seattle team that ranks second to last in the Major Leagues in batting at .232, leading only the punchless Oakland Athletics (.224).
Tillman was in fact drafted by the Mariners in the second round in 2006, but was traded to the Orioles along with Adam Jones and a couple of other players in exchange for Erik Bedard. Tillman has always been highly regarded but for whatever reason has not panned out at the Major League level, where he is just 7-15 with a 5.58 ERA over three seasons.
Tillman was sent to the minors this season despite posting a 2.92 ERA in spring training, but the extra seasoning may have served him well as he has a 2.88 ERA in his last 10 starts at the AAA level with 66 strikeouts in 69.1 innings. The Orioles certainly picked a nice park for Tillman to make his return to the Major Leagues, as Safeco Field is one of the most pitcher-friendly stadiums in the American League with games here averaging just 6.25 runs combined this year.
Tillman also pitched well in his only career start vs. Seattle last year, allowing only one run and three hits in six innings with five strikeouts in Baltimore.
The Mariners are in last place in the American League West, sitting a whopping 16 games behind the division leading Texas Rangers as we approach the All-Star break, and they have not done a good job of protecting their home field going just 16-24 here, which in fact is worse than their 19-24 roam mark.
Pitching half his games in such a pitcher-friendly park has not helped Noesi all that much, as he is a dismal 2-10 with 5.69 ERA overall while going winless (0-7) in his last 10 starts. Yes, Noesi has had some bad luck losses where he pitched well, but he has been very erratic for the most part.
He has allowed at least five earned runs in four of his last six starts, including surrendering five runs on seven hits in just five innings here at Safeco vs. the Boston Red Sox in his last start Friday,. Granted this is his first start ever vs. the Orioles, which is usually to the pitcher’s advantage, but he is in such bad current form that we do not see that helping him much, and probably not at all after his first time through the Baltimore lineup.
Baltimore is a good 21-17 on the road this season and look for the Orioles to build on that mark in Tillman’s return in Seattle on Wednesday.
: Orioles -104