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
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.