Friday, April 23, 2010
Low Tide in Durham
Final score: Bulls 10 - Tides 1 (box score).
And to think, this was supposed to provide me some relief from the Orioles' early struggles.
Rhyne Hughes' bat has remained hot following a solid Spring Training. On Sunday, he extended what ended up being an 11-game hit streak to open the International League season with a home run and a double for Norfolk.
Meanwhile, Chris George provided four solid innings of relief work for the Tides.
Otherwise, the highlights were few and far between down on the farm.
One of the prospects I was most excited to see, Josh Bell, went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts.
Most baffling at first glance was the performance of Chris Tillman, who many presumed would be the Orioles' fifth starter this season.
In a first inning that saw the Bulls bat around, Tillman uncorked two wild pitches, walked two, hit one, and allowed four runs. That's not to mention other pitches that Tillman bounced to the plate.
Clearly something was amiss with the young righty, whose struggles to get his off-speed stuff over the plate turned his low-90s fastball into red meat for the Bulls.
Steve Melewski's conversation this week with Norfolk pitching coach Mike Griffin sheds some light on Tillman's struggles.
Griffin discusses Tillman's efforts to develop a cut fastball and improve some of his other pitches along the way. Definitely worth a read as it helps go beyond the easy theories of sulking and shattered confidence. Often times we fans have little to go on other than guess work. Melewski's article provides some depth.
More ballpark pictures below, including my personal favorite of Robert Andino channeling the Ratpack: "Me and My Shadow."
at 2:50 PM