Blessing in Disguise?

The announcement of Orioles starter Chris Tillman heading to the 15-day disabled list may not be as bad as O’s fans may think.

By Ryan Decker

An injury to a player is never a good thing. It means time away from the team; time not on the field; in some cases even time of not even being able to work out. Rust can set in.

To important players, an injury can have even bigger effects to his team. And at the root of it all, it means money being spent with no return value for the time the player isn’t playing.

With all of that said, though, sometimes players need a rest.

That very well could be the case with Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Chris Tillman, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday stemming from discomfort in his shoulder he has continued to feel over the past few days. Mike Wright was called up to replace him on the roster for the time being.

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Chris Tillman has been a workhorse once again for the Orioles this season. Maybe an extra week or so off was what he needed to get him fresh for a playoff push.   Photo via Orioles Twitter account.

With his 15-5 record and 3.76 ERA, Tillman has by far been the Orioles best starter this season. The club is 20-6 in games where he has been the starting pitcher and has never come out on the losing end of consecutive starts by Tillman.

In his eighth season in the big leagues, the Orioles ace has eclipsed 150 innings pitched for the fourth-straight season, after failing to reach 100 innings on the mound in each of his first four seasons. Even with his stint on the DL, Tillman will likely reach 170 IP by the end of the regular season, which if it ended today, the Orioles would be in the playoffs – meaning the possibility for more innings needed out of him.

Since the start of the 2013 season, Tillman has thrown the 10th-most innings (739.2) out of any pitcher currently in the American League (18th-most in all of baseball).

Not only this year have there been a good number of innings, but Tillman has pitched in a lot of tight ball games. Despite the big power numbers the Baltimore lineup is known for, the Orioles have only managed to score a total of six or more runs in 7 of Tillman’s 26 starts.

That’s added stress on the arm and mind.

As good as Tillman has been this year for Baltimore, his production has dropped off slightly as of late.

He has suffered the loss in three of his last four decisions, including giving up six runs on six hits in just two innings of work Saturday against Houston. After giving up just one run in four consecutive starts from July 5 – July 21, he has surrendered three or more runs in three of his last five appearances on the mound.

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All other Orioles starters have a combined record of 31-42 this season. That will certainly have to improve during Tillman’s absence.

Heading down the backstretch of the regular season, the Orioles need all of their pitchers to be at their best, especially Tillman, and especially in the type of playoff race they currently find themselves in.

Luckily for Baltimore and manager Buck Showalter, the bats are beginning to heat up for the Birds once again. Not only that, Baltimore is just a few days away from being done its grueling August schedule.

Plus, it gives Wright another chance to prove himself worthy of being on the big league roster, and gives Showalter and company the chance to see what they’re working with without Tillman on the bump every fifth game.

So, maybe, just maybe, this isn’t the worst time for Tillman to get an extended breather. The baseball gods sure know he needed it… not that he – or they – would ever admit that.



  1. Hate to rain on your parade but Orioles are 20-6 in games Tillman started and 51-53 when anyone else started. Time for the Orioles to start picking the best golfing courses for October.


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