With Camden Yards rocking, ESPN cameras filming and a million or so Americans watching, Chris Tillman took the mound for the Orioles against the New York Yankees, pitching them to a win Sunday night and a sweep.
Tillman struggled with his command in the first two innings, but the 25-year-old allowed two earned runs and five hits in six innings, winning his sixth straight start and lowering his rotation-leading ERA to 3.68.
Tillman has been making a strong push for All-Star Game consideration, but has he made his move too late?
Depending on your perspective, you might feel his numbers are good enough for Jim Leyland to make him a manager's pick.
Tillman, who has a 10-2 record, is tied for fifth in the major leagues with wins. Tillman won all six of his starts in June, compiling a 2.68 ERA in the month, and he hasn’t lost since May 19. He has allowed more than three earned runs in just one start since the middle of April. And with 11 quality starts in 17 appearances, he has been Baltimore’s most reliable starter.
But Tillman's 3.68 ERA, while solid, doesn't rank in the top 40 of qualifying MLB pitchers. His 1.30 WHIP isn't in the top 40, either, nor is his 1.9 WAR. He is 40th in baseball with 81 strikeouts.
Leyland is an old-school guy, so maybe the wins will sway him.
Still, not many people outside of Baltimore are talking about Tillman. Perhaps it is because he was underwhelming in April, posting a 1-1 record and a 4.73 ERA, and has flown under the radar. But Tillman has been pitching like an All-Star since June 25, 2012. He is 18-5 since then with one of the best winning percentages among American League starters over that span.
Maybe Tillman will get acknowledged more after beating the Yankees with a national TV audience watching on Sunday night.