Coming off of a horrible start at the All-Star game in which he gave up five runs in one inning, Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers were able to rebound against the Baltimore Orioles on July 15, winning by the score of 4-0. Verlander picked up his tenth win of the year for the Tigers, while Miguel Gonzalez had his first loss.
Even though he was out shadowed for much of the game against Verlander, Gonzalez didn't do all that bad for the Orioles, going nearly six innings while giving up three runs on six hits to go along with three strikeouts as well. Miguel's command was a bit off on the day, as he gave up a season-high five walks in the game, but nonetheless he was able to keep Baltimore within reach, and that is all that the team can really hope for out of him right now.
The Orioles only had four total hits on the day against the Tigers, but three of them came from Jim Thome, who went 3 for 4 on the day with a double to his credit. When the Orioles originally made the move I honestly didn't think Thome had much left in him and wouldn't really contribute anything for the ball club aside from his "veteran presence." However, he has proven that he does indeed still have something left in the tank, as Jim has hits in four out of his past five games and looks to be in a groove at the plate. It will take more than just Thome's increased production, though, to get the team into contention as the end of the season nears, and I still think the Orioles need to go out and get at least one veteran starting pitcher in order for Baltimore to have a chance this year.
The Orioles will now go on a road trip starting with the Minnesota Twins on July 16, as Chris Tillman gets the nod against Scott Diamond. Tillman looked fantastic in his return to the Orioles against the Seattle Mariners, and I would expect for him to continue the momentum against another team that doesn't hit as well. Scott Diamond has pretty much been the only bright spot on Minnesota's starting rotation right now, with a 7-3 record and a 2.62 ERA. However, he has given up at least two runs in his past five starts and should be hittable for the Orioles lineup.
Ryan Kekoufski has been following the Baltimore Orioles since Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive games streak, and still enjoys watching games at Camden Yards from time to time.