So, I wanted go back and look at a few innings of Tillman's performance since RZ already nailed the overall view of his performance. I saw bits and pieces and was rushed while working so at first glance I thought Chris didn't get the benefit of the doubt on some pitches that Tanaka clearly was getting.
As in the 1st inning when he is ahead of Ellsbury and walks him. He clearly doesn't not get a call that clearly shows up a strike in the box.
Later in the 4th now and Ellsbury is up again and Tillman gets ahead with a beautiful 82 mph CH that runs away from Ellsbury who swings and misses. He then dots a 92 mph FB on the outer half that was perfect. Well, Jacoby didn't think so. The third pitch he bounced a CU. Now I know Tony has a thread praising Caleb for his pitch calling abilities but I thought this was a curious call. It's not bad and Chris puts it in a great spot, (I always tell kids to miss down or bury the breaking stuff, never miss up with it) but he had been struggling with the command of the CU all day. I would have come back with the CH that he already got a swing and miss on. He came back with a FB after the CU that missed it's spot out and caught too much of the plate and Ellsbury ripped a double.
He goes 2-0 on Teixeira but then gets him to hit into the shift. And then up comes McCann with Ellsbury on 3rd and only one out. I can't tell you the feeling of immense pride I had at this point when I hear the crack of the bat and Palmer, realizing Tillman has just gotten McCann to weakly popup on a 92 mph FB moans,"Ohhh." Thorne says,"And enormously important out for the moment." And Jim chimes in with,"Well, it was an enormously great pitch, too." Made my day. Palmer said it was up out of the zone but it was actually at the very top of it and pretty tough to hit off Chris.
Beltran walks, which I didn't mind since he's one of the more clutch hitters of my generation. Base open and two outs, don't make a mistake. Kelly Johnson then gives me a scare but luckily Tillman "saves his own bacon." That's shorthand for fielding his position on a comebacker according to Gary.
Then to start off the 5th he had another comebacker hit right off his left wrist for an out. I thought it strange they didn't come out to check on him but I know he waved them off. Ichiro doinks one down the LF line in no man's land for a single.
Gardner has some really tough ABs, he's pesky. Kinda whines, too. Fits right in as a player for Girardi. So, at 1-2 he throws a 93 mph FB, a 92 mph FB, (and I'm thining what JP says,"You could throw a CH maybe on corner or just off the corner....") a 93 mph FB, AND finally the CH comes and it's a beaut! At 85 mph and tailing away from Gardner he had little to no chance of hitting that pitch where Chris threw it. Well executed pitch right there. And Captain Clutch gets a 2-0 count but does nothing with a 91 mph FB on the fists weakly grounded to Manny at third to end the inning.
There's more of course, but the upside of this is that Chris was much better today. With his comments about his delivery to the plate maybe he's figured something out that he can keep a close eye on or the coaching staff can monitor going forward. The nice thing is there is still room for him to improve.
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