Today is a big day in the life of an O’s fan. Although it doesn’t appear to be amongst the most exciting days in recent memory, several details of the 2010 season could very well be determined as night falls in Florida. There is currently a two-man war going on in the Baltimore Birds’ rotation, and Chris Tillman and David Hernandez are at its core.
Yesterday, Tillman pitched in what could be his final start of the Spring (although that is certainly not a guarantee), going 4 1/3 innings, giving up two runs on four hits. So far in 2010, Tillman is 0-3 with a 3.86 ERA, 10 Ks and an opponents’ batting average of .226 (These stats may fluctuate following his Friday start.). It has been a decent Spring Training for Tillman, to say the least. Is it enough, though, to win him that number five spot in the rotation?
Manager Dave Trembley hinted earlier that the final spot was an open competition, but let’s face facts; Tillman has been the front-runner all along. This could all change after today, though. Today, David Hernandez makes his final start of the offseason, and with him being Tillman’s only serious competition at this point in time, many O’s fans will be sure to keep an eye on his final line. Now the question becomes more complicated. If he performs well, do we begin to consider Hernandez as the new front-runner for the spot? Do we want Tillman starting off the year in the minors? How will the fan-base react to Hernandez being in the rotation rather than Tillman?
Here’s my personal opinion: Let Tillman take the spot. With the current state of the Orioles, the organization must continually look towards the future. Chris Tillman is a vital part of that future. Allow the kid to rack up the innings. I’ve always believed that the best way to teach a youngster is to stick him under the limelight, and allow him to begin to get adjusted to pitching a full season in the Majors. Besides, I’m sure we’ll see Hernandez at some point during the season, whether it is as a starter or middle reliever in the bullpen. I’m sure the fan-base wouldn’t mind a little more Tillman either. That way, everybody wins…well…sort of.
So what do you all think? Should Tillman win the spot even if Hernandez performs well? Leave your opinions in the comments section, and we will be sure to discuss the topic this upcoming Wednesday on the BirdsWatcher.com Podcast.