TORONTO — Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman said he's looking forward to facing the Toronto Blue Jays in Sunday afternoon's series finale at Rogers Centre. He concedes that the Jays lineup is also probably looking forward to facing him.
That's because Tillman has struggled mightily against the Blue Jays this season, going 0-3 with a 15.00 ERA in four starts against Toronto this season. In comparison, Tillman is 9-7 with a 3.66 ERA in his other 21 starts this season.
The Blue Jays are hitting .391 in those four starts against Tillman and their six homers off him are the most he has allowed to any opponent this season. No other team has more than two against Tillman this year.
Tillman also hasn't fared well in two starts this season at Rogers Centre, posting a 20.65 ERA (13 earned runs in 5 2/3 innings). He was unable to get out of the fifth inning in both starts, allowing seven runs over 4 1/3 in a 7-6 loss on April 23 and lasting just 1 1/3 innings, his shortest outing of the season, and allowing six runs in a 13-9 win on June 21.
"I haven't made very many good pitches against these guys," Tillman said. "I'm sure they're looking forward to Sunday and I am, too, to tell you the truth. I've just got to do what I know I can do. I've faced them a ton in my career and I feel like I've pitched decent against them except for maybe the last year and a half. Maybe they've got something [on me], but tomorrow, I'm looking to make some pitches."
The Blue Jays lineup has been upgraded since Tillman last faced Toronto in June, acquiring power-hitting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and speedy leadoff man Ben Revere at the trade deadline.
Tillman has lost his past five decisions against the Blue Jays and six of seven, but saw success against them from 2011 to 2013, going 3-1 with a 3.18 ERA in six starts against Toronto during that time.
"They're good and they hit the ball really hard," Tillman said. "You have to make your pitches and this team makes you do it. They'll try to put you in a position to where you have to throw a strike or a fastball. They're going to take 2-0 and try to get you to make a certain pitch. They're a big momentum team, they're a big energy team and they're going to do things to try to [tick] you off and get the fans involved and kind of back you into a corner. That's just how they play the game. You've got to go one pitch at a time and do your thing."