Of course, Tillman came over to the Orioles in the 2008 trade with the Mariners that also brought All-Star center fielder Adam Jones and three others for left-hander Erik Bedard — a move that is widely credited for being the watershed moment in the club’s return to prominence after 14 consecutive losing seasons.
So, it’s fair to ask — after he gave up four hits over seven shutout innings and improved to 6-0 with a 2.03 ERA in six career starts against his old organization — whether Tillman enjoys reminding the Mariners about what their fans consider one of the worst trades in team history.
Tillman claims he approaches the Mariners the same way as every other team.
“I don’t know. I wish I could do that every time. Just another team now,” Tillman said. “I had a good game plan. When I see them a seventh time, the catcher’s going to do a good job of putting together a game plan.”
How crazy is Tillman’s dominance against the Mariners? Consider that his six wins versus Seattle in six starts are his most against any team. He has beaten the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees five times each, but he has had 12 starts against the Yankees and 14 versus the Red Sox.
It may be tough to believe that it’s all just a coincidence, but Tillman said that he has no other explanation.
“I go out there with the same mindset every start,” he said, “so I can’t put a finger on it.”