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April 13, 2011

Showalter, Tillman comment on starter's bad outing

Orioles manager Buck Showalter was pretty succint in summing up Chris Tillman's outing tonight in the Orioles 7-4 loss to the New York Yankees.

"Not good, not good enough," Showalter said.

On this night, that may have even been an understatement. Tillman allowed six earned runs on nine hits and a walk in just 1 2/3 innings. I was a little surprised to hear both him and catcher Matt Wieters say that Tillman had pretty good stuff and just made a few bad pitches in hitter counts.

I take what Wieters says with a grain of salt because I'm sure the catcher, who got TIllman one of his five outs by throwing out Brett Gardner trying to steal second in the first inning, doesn't want to further bury the confidence of the 22-year-old pitcher.

What I saw was a pitcher who fell behind too often, didn't have a put-away pitch when he got two strikes and was leaving too many pitches over the heart of the plate. Apparently, Showalter agreed.

"The big thing is three out of the first 17 hitters were all he got strike one on," Showalter said. "That’s tough to do with any team, especially with these hitters. I don’t care who you are. He’s obviously a guy that doesn’t have a lot of experience. You’re going to have some innings. You just can’t let them get away from you and keep the team in the game. It was 6-0 there, 3-0 you take. But he didn’t make a lot of good pitches and he paid for it."

Asked if Tillman will make his next scheduled start on Monday, Showalter was non-commital, saying, "There’s always options if you have to make an adjustment. We hope not. I’m not at that point now. We just go through a game. He pitched one good game statistically, so-so in the other one and struggled tonight."

Tillman was lamenting his poor two-strike pitches more than anything.

“The results are results. I think anybody would be disappointed in this, you know?,” said Tillman who has made 26 career big league starts. “I’m more disappointed that I made some good pitches and when it counted, I didn’t make those pitches. I missed middle almost every single one of those pitches whether it was up or down. It just goes to show, that’s not going to cut it here.”

Asked what kind of setback an outing like this was, Tillman said, "I’m going to run with the positives. That’s all you can do. I’m told I had good stuff tonight. Just go to take that into my side session and take it out on the next opponent we face."

Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 11:38 PM | | Comments (11)


good stuff? I watched the game. You think the Yankee hitters thought he had good stuff? I'd hate to see him with bad stuff.
How about this for a damn change: I stunk. I had nothing. I can't get guys out when i get 2 strikes on them. I have no fastball, no control, and put my team in the hole most times I pitch. I'm young, but that is no excuse. I could not get AA hitters out with what I'm doing right now. I need help.

As the gamewent by, I thought I saw Tillman's velocity actually go up a little to 90-91, hitting 92 occasionally.

Just the matter of poor location and lack of confidence.

This is really getting silly. Bergeron came into spring training as th # 3 and he can't suddenly be # 6 or 7. In 2010 he had a shot to be ROY before an injury. In the first half last year was clearly not healthy from that injury and the shoulder/masn commercial, injury.

Once healthy he gave the O's 2 months of solid pitching. What has Tillman ever shown, other than an 89 mph fastball and inconsistent curve ball.

I have to believe Buck knows this and is just being cautious with Brad. When Matusz comes back Tillman will be heading to Norfolk and Brad will be a solid # 3. Arrietta has a lot to prove, but he has the best stuff on the staff and gives on reason to believe he'll get there. Tillman - no so much....

The 1968 Orioles had Dave McNally, Jim Hardin, Tom Phoebus, and Dave Leonard as starters. They won 91 games and yet, 3 of those 4 were replaced in 1970/71 and sent to the Bullpen. Only McNally remained.

Brad Bergesen in the bullpen is being done (I think), because Showalter knows what Bergesen can do. Got a good look last year. Knows the upside. Jury is still out on Arrieta and Tillman. But their potential upside is better than Bergesen, so give them every chance. By the All Star break, I would think we will know who's in and who's out.

If he's going to run with the positives, he won't work up a sweat. I know he's inexperienced but doesn't he listen to those who know? pitch in the game is strike one and then the batter is supposed to be at the disadvantage. This is a tough stretch of games coming up in the next couple of three weeks and these pitchers are going to have to really man up....for that matter hitters too...does Vlad think its all batting practice so he can just swing hard and hope he connects? Does Jones ever take a pitch? I'm being melodramatic, but they're in my neck of the woods now and boy will I hear the crap tomorrow.

I am sorry but this is exactly what I expected of Tillman,, he is not ready yet.. He is like our young starters used to be force fed to soon. He has tremendous stuff but very little command or consistency.. One great start every 4.. If he is still showing that at AAA why expect different at the ML level.. He is not as finished as Arrieta Matusz or I think Britton.. If we have to wait on him lets wait, make him earn the next promotion..

tillman has become more of an off speed pitcher who spots his fastball. unless he can command his curve and change he's going to get hit hard. if he can't throw strikes with the off speed pitches hitters will sit on his fastball which is not overpowering nor does it move much. if he throws his breaking pitches up in the strike zone he'll get crushed. tillman needs to have have great command of the curve and change to make his fastball look like it has more velocity than it really does.

Well if the Yankees don't get a three run lead BEFORE the game, they definitely get one at the BEGINNING of it.

Like you said, it isn't Wieters' place to say Tillman had nothing.

The guy had nothing. He got 4 outs (Wieters got the fifth) and gave up 9 hits and a BB. That is not a result of not having a good two strike pitch, that is the result of being terrible last night.

Had to happen against NY. We desperately need tonight's game. Arrieta better bring the heat.

Young pitchers tend to be inconsistent, which is going to be a worry for the Orioles all season. We've been waiting for Tillman to become a dominant pitcher for years, making his lackluster performances disappointing. He seems to be more inconsistent than others (although Arrieta was pretty lousy last weekend). He has excelled at AAA. He has even excelled a couple of times in the majors (remember Texas vs. Cliff Lee last season). How do you find consistency? Where do you find consistency? Pitching talent will get you a long way, but it's the mental part that makes for continued success. I suspect that's the main problem with Tillman.

Not making excuses for Tillman but have seen it for years just remember there is two strikezones when you play the NY team. Other pitches from other teams have complained in the past about this very thing.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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