Jun 15, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Chris Tillman (30) pitches during the fourth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Toronto Blue Jays defeats the Baltimore Orioles 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Tillman Must be a Difference Maker for 2014 Orioles


Projected ace starting pitcher Chris Tillman has not been a consistent piece of the Orioles’ rotation following solid, if not stellar, 2012 and 2013 campaigns.

Today, Tillman racked up the Orioles’ seventh straight quality start (and his second) pitching seven innings allowing three earned runs on eight hits as the Orioles lost to the Blue Jays 5-3.

While not spectacular, compared to the Chris Tillman we saw two short weeks ago when he gave up five runs in just one full inning pitched, the Orioles will take it.

Tillman came into today’s game toting an ERA approaching five and the third-worst WHIP in the majors. As a team, the Orioles entered today’s game ninth in the American League in ERA. If the Orioles are going to contend for a playoff spot, that figure must improve. Tillman, from whom so much was expected at the beginning of this year, must play huge role in that.

The Orioles rotation, as it has for the better part of the last decade, still does not contain a true ace. At the beginning of this year, some fans may have said that this year’s team may have two in Tillman and Jimenez, but both have failed to live up to expectations so far.

Tillman’s M.O. throughout the last two years have been consistency and giving his team a chance to win. Too many times this year, Tillman has failed to do exactly that, giving up the majority of his runs in the first two innings of his start.

In order to catch the division-leading Blue Jays with whom the Orioles just split a four-game series with, Tillman needs to replicate his 2013 form. Without him on top of his game, the Orioles are a team with very average starting pitching. With the same guy that we’ve seen the last two years, the Orioles have a chance to rise above an increasingly shallow-looking AL East.

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  • John Fenton

    Anybody who considers Tillman the O’s Ace either is living in a fantasy world or doesn’t understand baseball. Gausman WILL BE the ace when he gets a year or two more experience…..

    • http://www.birdswatcher.com Scott

      Thanks for the read, John. Coming into this season, I think everyone considered Tillman the O’s ace, including Buck Showalter who named him the Opening Day starter. So far this season, he has not been that guy. If you HAD to pick someone to carry the ace title now, it would probably have to be Norris, although Gausman is making a strong push a year ahead of schedule. With Dylan Bundy also in the pipeline, I don’t think the Orioles need are going to question who the ace is 2015 and 2016 — but for now, it would be really nice to see someone step up and take that role. Here’s hoping that Gausman is on his way to doing just that.

      • John Fenton

        Hi Scott, the challenge for Buck was he had to have someone pitch the opener and “everyone” started referring to him as the Ace, instead of the guy who was coming off a decent year. I thought he was the only choice among a very shaky bunch. He was the logical choice to open the season but here’s a flash for baseball – EVERY team does not have an ace – they have someone who is the best pitcher on the staff but an ACE is made of sterner stuff. I would say there are a but a dozen so true aces in all of MLB. But if teams want to call their opening day pitchers their ace, who am I to complain about it? Enjoyed your article….
        Best, John