The Bowie Baysox (43-46) ended the month of June with a seven-game win streak, but after falling to the Akron Aeros (52-38) 4-2 on Monday the 'Sox sputtered into the All-Star break with a 2-7 record in the month of July.
As Baltimore Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis made his third and final rehab start with Bowie during Monday's 11:05 A.M. matchup with Akron, the 'Sox struggled to get runs in.
Throughout the game Bowie managed to get 13 runners on base, but failed to get timely hits and put runs on the board. The only two runs of the game came on a Rhyne Hughes solo homer in the fourth inning and an RBI sacrifice fly off the bat of third baseman Zelous Wheeler.
Stranding 12 of those 13 base runners, including two bases-loaded innings, the Baysox offense failed to get the job done despite out-hitting the Aeros 8-6.
Getting the call back down from Baltimore for an extra start prior to the All-Star break, a refreshed starting pitcher Chris Tillman lasted just 3.1 innings while surrendering three earned runs.
Tillman worked on his mechanics while making 15 starts with Triple-A Norfolk (3.63 ERA, 92 strikeouts in 89.1 innings pitched), and made his first 2012 start at the major league level on the fourth of July. In a near-complete game win over the Mariners, Tillman struck out seven while allowing just two unearned runs on a pair of hits.
His pitch control with Bowie on Monday, however, was not there and he made a much earlier exit than he had expected.
I didn't really think he had his command, Manager Gary Kendall said of Tillman's rough outing. His curveball just wasn't there for him.
It isn't expected that his tough day will impact a solid return to the bigs, as he appears to have reinvented himself while pitching for Norfolk.
Though the Baysox heading in to the second half of the season may be a totally different story.
When asked about the team's mindset or approach being any different heading in to the second half, Kendall said Nothing really different. We lost this game because we only scored two runs. If we can stay in games like we have been, then we'll win our fair share of games.
He did, however, express his concern about untimely, and unavoidable roster moves. In the second half the rosters may end up looking much different than the current rosters, especially if Baltimore expects to make a late playoff push and encounters more health issues.
Despite the recent struggles, things remain positive in Bowie. After all, they do happen to be sending five of their very own players to the Eastern League All-Star game in Reading, PA on Wednesday-Buck Britton, Jonathan Schoop, Robbie Widlansky, Zach Clark and Pedro Viola.