Chris Tillman has his own prediction to uphold when he starts for the Orioles this afternoon against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The right-hander was the club’s Opening Day starter in March and was expected to develop into an ace after a 16-win, All-Star season in 2013.
Instead, Tillman is 5-3 with a 4.91 ERA nearing the midway point of the season. His past five games have been even worse, having allowed a combined 21 earned runs in 20 1/3 innings (9.30 ERA).
While Tillman has struggled with inconsistency, starters such as left-hander Wei-Yin Chen and right-hander Bud Norris have established themselves as the Orioles’ most reliable pitchers.
But there’s one thing Tillman did exceptionally well. Before the Orioles’ game against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday, he said the entire club’s pitching staff was due for a turnaround. The Orioles have since surrendered just nine runs in six games.
“We’re all out there to help each other and get better,” right-hander Bud Norris said after Saturday’s 3-2 win over the Blue Jays. “It carries into the next guy, and so forth.”
The Orioles’ sudden pitching dominance includes Tillman's own strong performance Tuesday, in which he surrendered just one run and seven hits. Despite a pair of rain delays, Tillman reached 100 pitches in six innings of an eventual loss.
It has been that kind of year for Orioles starters, who have turned in quality starts in each of the club’s past six games and are 4-2 to show for it.
“I’m going to pass the rock off to Tilly [Sunday], and he’s going to go out there and do his thing,” Norris said. “We understand that we need to keep working and keep getting better, but right now, we’re kind of cruising, and we’ve got to keep going at it."