Chris Tillman, two starts removed from his shoulder problem, says he's full go for the Orioles' stretch run.
After making his second start since returning from a shoulder issue that limited him for nearly a month, Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman reported no problems and said he'd be progressing for the rest of the season without the shoulder being a consideration.
"I took that approach after the last start" Sunday, when the Orioles topped the Detroit Tigers, 3-1, Tillman said. "I was sore, but nothing that I'm not used to. Going forward, I'll have the same mentality: show up and do my work and take my same side day unless something changes."
After the Orioles fell, 5-2, to the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday, manager Buck Showalter said Tillman will be monitored like any other pitcher at this time of year.
"You look at all pitchers this time of year because of the wear and tear of the season, but Chris, as far as I know felt good tonight and presented himself pretty well," Showalter said. "I know he's probably disappointed with it some, but if you just look at it as a whole, the story is we just didn't solve much that they did from the pitching department."
Tillman allowed three runs on just four hits and a walk in 5 2/3 innings. The last batter he faced put the Rays ahead with a decisive run on a two-out, two-strike line drive off the center-field wall by rookie first baseman Richie Shaffer.
The sixth inning was where Tillman had the bulk of his troubles, entering it with only a run in on Evan Longoria's triple past a diving Michael Bourn and a ground ball by Brad Miller.
Longoria homered to open the sixth, and Tillman was on the verge of getting out of it after a single by Miller, but his final pitch of the night was the most costly.
"It was definitely not where I wanted," Tillman said. "I was trying to go away and missed in."
The pitch before could have been called strike three to end the inning, but Tillman said he didn't deserve a call like that Saturday.
"It was a pretty good pitch, but when you're not hitting your spots like I wasn't — I wasn't very sharp," Tillman said. "When you're missing, missing, missing then you make a pitch, you can't expect that."
Overall, he said the outing went "OK," acknowledging that Tampa Bay starter Matt Andriese and the Rays relievers did better Saturday.
"I felt good," Tillman said. "Physically I mean I felt good. Mechanically, I was so-so, could've been better. We made a lot of good pitches and not-so-good ones that they ended up squaring up. You'd like to do better, but we did a decent job tonight mixing pitches and making pitches when we had to."
"Chris pitched pretty well, as far as results," Showalter said. "He gave us a good chance to win. We just didn't do much against their pitching. We scored two runs. Andriese was pretty good. I thought Chris, usually second time out after a layoff you might have a little different result, but I thought if you look at the product as a whole, Chris gave us a chance there."
The loss dropped Tillman to 16-6 on the season, with a 3.72 ERA. His bid for a 20-win season was derailed by the shoulder bursitis that cost him nearly three weeks on the disabled list in August and early September, but his presence in the Orioles rotation is still important.
If Tillman remains on four days' rest as a top starter would the rest of the way, he's in line for three more starts, including the regular-season finale on Oct. 2 in New York.