Chris Tillman only went five innings on Opening Day against the Red Sox, but I was encouraged by what I saw from the Orioles number one starter. Despite going two innings less than Jon Lester, Tillman threw the same amount of pitches (104) and just two less strikes (71 compared to Lester’s 73). That’s 68 percent.
Tillman issued just one free pass, which means Boston’s lineup fouled off a ton of pitches. Mike Napoli saw 5.50 pitches per plate appearance, Grady Sizemore saw 5.25, Dustin Pedroia saw 5.20 and Mike Carp saw 4.50.
Tonight, Ubaldo Jimenez makes his O’s debut and will face a similar challenge against the patient Boston lineup. With the Indians, 62 percent of Jimenez’s pitches were strikes compared to 59 percent in 2013.
He walked 3.94 per nine last year, almost a batter less than the previous season (4.84).
Buck Showalter used four relievers on Monday (Zach Britton, Evan Meek, Brian Matusz and closer Tommy Hunter), but managed to avoid using Darren O’Day and Ryan Webb. It sounds simple, but in order to succeed against the Red Sox, Jimenez will have to stay in the Tuesday night