Baltimore Orioles

Chris Tillman knocking on the Orioles' door

After three straight quality outings at Triple-A Norfolk, right-hander pitcher Chris Tillman is knocking on the Orioles' door.

The Orioles need pitching, and Tillman has distanced himself from the competition in Norfolk, so is it time to give the 24-year-old a chance in the Orioles' rotation?

The club has a spot open on Saturday, but Orioles manager Buck Showalter has indicated that they'll likely fill it internally with either Dana Eveland or Tommy Hunter.

Tillman, however, won his fourth decision in his last five on Wednesday night in a 3-1 win over Columbus. He allowed just one run on five hits over 5 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts and one walk.

Over his last three starts, Tillman is 3-0 with a 1.06 ERA, having allowed just two earned runs in his last 17 innings.

His strikeout-to-walks ratio is back to where is was in 2010, just above 3.0, and over his last six starts, it is an eye-popping 7.16.

The knock is that Tillman still hasn't been able to show an ability to consistently pitch deep into games. He left Wednesday's game after 96 pitches and he's gone more than six innings just twice in his last 10 starts.

Left-hander Zach Britton is still at Norfolk and has shown flashes of dominance, but he hasn't been able to put together consecutive quality outings at Triple-A.

Right-hander Jason Berken (1-1, 2.32 ERA in 14 starts) has pitched well in Norfolk, too.

And right-hander Miguel Gonzalez continues to put up good numbers as a starter. He's pitched to a 2.28 ERA in five starts since being optioned to Norfolk to be stretched out. 

So maybe it's not Tillman's time quite yet, but he's quietly beginning to force the issue with the Orioles.