Baltimore Orioles tab Chris Tillman to start on Opening Day

Courtesy of Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Courtesy of Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports /

For the third consecutive season the Baltimore Orioles will send Chris Tillman to the mound on Opening Day.

Perhaps the announcement was a mere formality, however the Baltimore Orioles will be starting Chris Tillman in next Monday’s Opening Day game against Minnesota at Camden Yards. This Buck Showalter confirmed yesterday; what’s not been confirmed as of yet is who else will be in the rotation. You can bank on Gallardo and Jimenez – the rest might have to work itself out.

Courtesy of Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Courtesy of Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports /

This will be the third consecutive Opening Day assignment for Tillman, however apparently Gallardo and Jimenez were in the mix also. Speaking for myself I would submit that this is the right move. And here’s the good news, at least for that one day…it’ll be an all hands on deck game for the bullpen (if need be). The Orioles are off on Tuesday of next week (as per usual after Opening Day)…

…meaning of course that if Tillman struggles the Birds don’t have to be overly concerned with using anyone in the bullpen for too long. Everyone will have a day to rest up in a sense. Furthermore, the bullpen has the ability to be expanded at first to eight men, as the O’s won’t need a fifth starter until week two.

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Baltimore Orioles: Chris Tillman attempting comeback
Baltimore Orioles: Chris Tillman attempting comeback /

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  • It would stand to reason of course that the fifth starter would be Kevin Gausman, who of course is beginning the season on the DL with shoulder tendinitis. Now with that said, keep in mind also that this doesn’t necessarily mean that Gausman will even miss too much time. If he’s ready to go by then, he’s expected to be available to come off the DL and start on April 10th when the Orioles close the season-opening homestand against Tampa.

    According to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports, tonight’s start against Atlanta is fairly important for Miguel Gonzalez. And I would tend to agree. Keep in mind that Gonzalez, with his 12.56 ERA this spring stil has a minor league option available. I would tend to still believe that he’s going to start the season in the Orioles’ rotation – just an opinion. However a solid start with a good line score would go a long way towards solidifying that this evening. 

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    The other white elephant in the room at this point is Hyun-Soo Kim. The Orioles have seemingly grown impatient with him overnight, as he’s had a tough spring in his own right. Again I say this merely as a matter of opinion, however there has to be more than meets the eye with Kim. Yes he’s been underwhelming, but in my view that’s to be expected given the cultural shift he’s undergoing (along with the baseball part). Is it his struggles combined perhaps with him not meshing in the clubhouse perhaps? Or maybe something else?

    At this point the O’s would probably prefer to carry Chris Rickart as opposed to Kim, that is if it has to be one or the other. And given Rickart’s performance this spring, nobody can really blame them. But it’ll be interesting to see what happens moving forward – does Kim get sent to the DL with a strained muscle or something like that? 

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    The Orioles begin their final few days in Sarasota with a home game this evening at 6 PM vs. Atlanta. Detroit comes into Ed Smtih Stadium at the same time tomorrow evening, with both games being shown on MASN. The Birds will close the home and the Florida portion of Grapefruit League play on Thursday afternoon at 3 PM against Atlanta once again, before making an appearance Friday evening at 6 PM at Citizens Bank Park for the final spring tuneup against Philadelphia.