Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Over the Hill

Rich Hill turned in another poor start last night, yielding 5 ER in 3+ innings pitched while allowing 3 hits and 4 walks. As the Sun speculates this morning, and as we speculated last night at the bar while watching the game, his time in the rotation--and on the ballclub--could be up. It's now official: the Chris Tillman rumblings have become a full blown roar. Could we see him in Baltimore soon?

Tillman is scheduled to pitch tonight at Gwinnett, and Jason Berken will pitch for the O's in New York. The Orioles then have an off-day before visiting the Red Sox this weekend and hosting the Royals starting Monday. Here's how the O's rotation currently aligns:

Tonight: Jason Berken
Friday: Brad Bergesen
Saturday: TBA
Sunday: David Hernandez
Monday: Rich Hill

That TBA should be Jeremy Guthrie, assuming he bounces back from his last outing when he threw 108 pitches while still battling the lingering effects of a viral infection. It does, however, raise the intriguing possibility of bumping Tillman from his start tonight and flying him to Boston for his Major League debut on Saturday. Even if Tillman pitches tonight for Norfolk, however, he's lined up perfectly to take Hill's slot in the rotation on Monday. Given that evidence, I really think we've seen the last of Rich Hill in the rotation and the only question becomes whether or not he moves to the bullpen or is designated for assignment. The Orioles are already carrying a dozen pitchers, so moving Hill to the bullpen would necessitate another pitching move. Unless MacPhail can move Sherrill or Baez or is willing to part ways with the surprisingly effective Mark Hendrickson, I don't see how the roster can accomodate Hill moving to the bullpen. As much as it pains me to write this, it's time for the O's to give up on the Rich Hill experiment. If he's going to recapture the glory, it will have to be with another club.

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