Showalter tabs Chris Tillman to start pivotal regular season finale

The Baltimore Sun

ST. PETERSBURG -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter has selected right-hander Chris Tillman to start Wednesday night's pivotal regular season finale against Tampa Bay.

The Orioles enter Wednesday one game back of the division-leading Yankees in the AL East. A win, combined with a New York loss, would force a tiebreaker for the division title on Thursday at Camden Yards.

Even if the Yankees win Wednesday, an Orioles win would at least clinch a AL wild-card home game against either Texas or Oakland.

"At the very worst, we're one down and one to play," Showalter said before learning of the Yankees' 12-inning win over Boston. "And he's the best we have available to go tomorrow. There were some things that could have happened that would have changed that, though."

Tillman (9-2, 2.78 ERA), who was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on July 4, has been the Orioles' best pitcher in the second half.

"It's a big deal and I think any one of these guys could have gotten the ball on that day," Tillman said. "We've all been throwing well. It's exciting for all of us. We kind of pick each other up and kind of fuel off each other's efforts. It's a lot of fun."

He's won eight of his last nine decisions and has nine quality starts in 14 outings this season. Since coming out of a game after three innings on Sept. 2 with a sore right elbow, he's allowed just two earned runs in 20 innings over three starts and pitched to an 0.90 ERA.  

"I'm happy with what I've achieved so far this year, but like we've been saying all year, we're not done yet," Tillman said. "We've got a long way to go. It's an exciting time for all of us. I can't tell you how happy I am with this team and the way things have been going, playing good baseball. We've just got to keep it going."



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