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What was your first impression of Chris Tillman?


Chris Tillman’s first start is in the books.

Here’s a bet: He will have better outings in his Orioles’ career.

The 21-year-old super prospect struggled some, allowing three home runs, including two solo shots in the second inning. He’s entitled. He had to be pretty nervous Wednesday.

He lasted into the fifth, and was pulled with two runners on and two outs. Matt Albers made sure Tillman’s night didn’t end terribly by getting the third out.

Here was Tillman’s final line: 4 2/3 IP, 7 hits, three earned runs, one walk and two strikeouts.

I include the line because on Wednesday I asked you to predict it.

And, let me tell you, I want to go to Vegas with TD Saul. A free bar tab all week – hey, it’s fake, make that all month – for TD.

His/her predicted line was this: 4 2/3, 6H, 3ER, 2BB, 2Ks.

TD Saul incorrectly confused a hit with a walk. Otherwise, it was the absolute perfect prediction. That’s amazing.

TD Saul, what number am I thinking of? Right now.

By the way, trmahoney gets a free drink chip and some props for his/her prediction of 5 IP, 7H, 2ER, 1BB, 4Ks.

Close, but no TD Saul.

For the rest of you that can’t see into the future, give me a little bit about the present. What did you think about Tillman Wednesday? Any first impressions?

Daily Think Special: Now that you have seen him pitch in the big leagues, what’s your first impression of Chris Tillman?


Comments

Up in the strike zone, mediocre command of pitches, afraid of his curveball...but all of that will come with a young talented guy like Chris. Not a bad first showing.

Hi Dan,
I also predicted the No Decision (ND) for Tillman's debut. I'm not allowed in Vegas. ;)

All in all, I was impressed with Tillman's performance, esp. considering the emotions and rain delay he initially encountered. I thought his fastball and change-up were exceptional. Chris' curveball seemed uncontrolled (out of the strike zone) and predictable, but that pitch hopefully will become more polished with starts.

-Thomas

Well, I really didn't see him, I just followed the game text. Still, 4 2/3 innings isn't bad for a first start. At least DT didn't have to rescue him in the first or second inning. As you said, he must have been nervous, but his control was pretty good. He's got major league velocity. If you've got to give up home runs, solo shots are the best kind. Some pretty good Os pitchers of the past used to give up their share of gopher balls -- it means you're around the plate and smart enough to challenge a hitter when the bases are empty. It would be worse if he was walking in runs at this stage. It's also nice he didn't have to take a loss in his debut. Things will only get better for him.

Number you are thinking of right now: 33.

He will definitely have better outings! He had good speed and decent location on his fastball. I honestly think that the rain delays were a factor in the very young pitcher's first start. They delayed the game twice just as things were getting underway. That has to wreck a young, inexperienced pitcher's concentration during his major league debut. Also, he had to get warmed up all over again putting just a little bit of additional mileage on his young arm for the evening. Without the delays, I say he goes 6 innings, gives up no more than 2 runs, maybe 1 homer, no more than 5 hits, 1 or 2 walks and gets at least 3 strikeouts and possibly a win in his debut.

this kid will get better with every start , after the first game jitters and a rain delay he still put in a average start . with in two to three years maybe sooner he will be noticed big time and a possible third all star for beddard who cant stay off the dl , its nice for once we got players instead of being played . cant wait for jake and matus , and a power hitting third baseman . we waitd this long another year or so with these pitchers gives us big hope something we have not had in a dozen years .

well he was erratic at times but overall he pitched well.. to many pitches were up but nerves probably accounted for that.. needs to work on curveball command, he will need that pitch in the majors! i think to some degree DT pulled him to soon.. maybe should of let him get out of that inning.. as time goes on he will need that experience. all in all i'd say he will be better than Hill has been!

He's much more raw and unpolished than Bergesen and Hernandez.

He looked nervous but give him some time. I think we have been spoiled by the fine debuts this season.

not a bad showing. The thing that impressed me most was his mound presence. He just LOOKED like he knew what he was doing. I think this will be a learning year for him but so what.

Gimme a coffee, to go.

I remember watching someone elses debute, and he gave up homerun to Frank thomas and lost the game. I think Mike Mussina did pretty good for his career. Chris did pretty good and he will better outings. Im ready to see more from him.

I think he did alright for his first outing. He gave up some homeruns, but he also didn't get beat around. The homeruns will improve, so I am not concerned.

My first impression of him was, gee, he's a big kid. My second was, geez, he looks young. As for his pitching, he looked like a rookie, but one with some promise. I'm not ready to put in my advance order for World Series tickets yet, not for 2009 or 2010, but he looks like another possible piece of the puzzle.

Now I hope everyone lets him know that just because he is considered to be one of the Big Three, the Young Guns, the Cavalry, that all he has to do is just go out and pitch when it's his turn (and all the other stuff a successful ML pitcher has to do) and not try to win four games every time he pitches.

Honestly, I was impressed. Granted, the 3 HRs were longshots, but he had something I haven't seen from ANY of the Rookie O's SP this season. LOTS OF MOVEMENT ON HIS FASTBALL. He was hitting 90-95 all night, but, the ball didn't go in a straight line, it cut and tailed. I think he is going to be good for us for years to come. Obviously, I still believe Matusz is the true "Ace", but Tillman, along with Bergesen and Hernandez, make for a nice 2, 3, 4. I'm excited for the things to come!

Dan,
I believe that he will be much more impressive in his second start.
I believe that the rain delay had a little to do with his performance last night.
Thanks for listening,
Bill

I thought he showed talent and grit, and inexperience and nerves. I got the sense that the only pitch he had working was his fastball, and he had a hard time keeping that down in the zone. Imagine making your MLB debut and you realize you only have one pitch? I think it's telling that he got as far as he did (although it was the Royals and the ump had a wide strike zone). He couldn't locate his change up and couldn't stay on top of his curve. I wonder if it's the adjustment to the MLB ball? His next start will be very interesting - to see what kind of adjustments he's made.

It's tough to judge because the ball was carrying due to the lack of wind and hot weather. Most of Tilman's outs were hit hard.

I liked the fact that he wasn't afraid to throw strikes (same goes for his fellow rookies in the rotation). We've suffered for years watching young Oriole pitchers walk mediocre hitters while trying to fire the perfect pitch. As Palmer says: "Just trust your stuff."

They should have left him in AAA. Why bring him up this late in the season and let him get lit up like a Christmas tree? He was enjoying success, now he'll just enjoy suck.

Tillman's got plenty of time to grow and get better. I'll be looking forward to watching him blossom for the last two months this season and all of 2010. He has good enough stuff to stick in the bigs and his biggest issue will be gaining confidence, which hopefully will improve with each start.

As long as everyone understands there will be probably be some growing pains (see: Jason Berken), there are good things going on here.

My hope is that Arrieta can get straightened out at AAA and Matusz can continue to dominate.

It should be fun to watch the entire cavalry in 2010 from the get-go.

Oh - do I get partial credit for calling Jones' homer? I missed on Markakis, but he did have 3 RBI and it was his hit that gave the Orioles the win, even if it was a single and not a tater. I know, not Vegas worthy, not even Atlantic City. Maybe Charles Town?

Luke, he's more raw than Bergesen and Hernandez because he's 2-3 years younger. There was a reason why those guys were called up ahead of Tillman.

The debut was fine. Yeah, he gave up the HRs, but overall not a bad showing for a 21 year old making his major league debut.

MAN!!! I wish I had this kid to work with instead of that bonehead Daniel Cabrera.

Nice change up! That is an out pitch! Curve breaks sharply but he could not throw it consistently for strikes. In the bigs, though, he has got to be able to locate the fastball inside and outside (like Hernandez did so well in his last outing). He left some fat pitches in the kill zone.

Personally, I didn't see much of this "tail"/movement that Tillman supposedly has on his fastball. It appeared to me (maybe due to the standard definition broadcast?), that his fastballs were more like meatballs.

That being said, he has three high-quality pitches....a mid 90's FB, a wicked curve, and a changeup that had a lot of downward drop to it.

He has all the tools, but needs time to develop his control. Unfortunately, this seems to be the usual for O's pitching over the last decade....lots of promise & tools, but can't master the mental game....Ponson, Liz, Riley, etc....

All in all, a typical ho-hum O's start. Thankfully, he's young & very talented.

The expectations were unrealistic. It was a good debut.

He's gong to get better but it will take some time.

He has a good delivery that places little stress on his arm so I believe he's no Matt Riley or Adam Loweon. For a first start i thought it was good, let us also remember that the major league baseball has smaller stitching that takes some getting used too. By his 3rd start I'm sure we will have a better understanding of his command, which is important but not as much as deception, which is easy for the youngest member of the young rotation.

He has a great curve usually at 77-78mph. He was throwing it at 80, it hung and only got a couple over for strikes. His fastball was at 95, but was flat. The good news was he pitched better then Hill with only his 3rd best pitch, the changeup, working.

Just a case of nerves. He is 21.

I'll be happy with a 2-4 record in 10 starts this year, which would prime him to make the AJones-style jump to ace in 2010.

He pitches over the top and reminds me a little bit of Jim Palmer in that regard, but I don't think that is a good thing in the league today. With such a long delivery, I believe hitters will be able to pick his pitches. If Tillman wants to make it, he is going to have to learn a little deception.

I was at the game. My first impressions are good consistent moving fastball at 95 mph that will get better. Threw his change a couple too many times. The kid did ok considering the rain delay and the slippery mound. He will get another twelve or thirteen starts at the major league level before the end of the year that will be invaluable experience for next year.

I was impressed overall. Remember, this KID is only 21! What were you doing at that age? I was doing kegstands. He's going to be a good one I think. No, probably not a #1, but a good solid #2 or 3. I agree with alot of the posts--good movement on the fastball and I thought the changeup was outstanding. I heard he had some trouble with the curveball b/c of the wet mound/conditions. All things considered, I thought this was a solid beginning. Of course there were the 3 home runs, but also some other hard hit balls that were hit right at people (especially in the first inning, where I am sure he had a ton of butterflies. OK, next up Matusz and Arrieta I hope--can't wait! things are shaping up O's fans, hang in there! We just need Huff to get his head out of his rear and a legit 3rd baseman (Mora is obviously about out of gas) and we will be there!!

His changeup was absolutely filthy. His fastball got pretty good movement. His curve needs work, but overall, you could see why he is so highly touted. The 3 home runs isn't good to see, but we can't get too caught up with that. Tommy Hanson got rocked in his first start and now he looks like a potential ROY and future ace.

Tillman will improve and defiently will have much better outings. He is a talented kid with nasty stuff. I loved his appearence on the mound and soon, Chris will be an All-Star for many years, winning many awards and honors. However, I still believe that Matusz will be the true "Ace" because of his amazing command, pitches, and appearence. Even Jake Arritea might be competing for the "Ace" title because he is said to be the most talented of the Big 3 and he has a bulldog attitude. In a nutshell, Arritea just loves to win. A rotation of Matusz, Arritea, Tillman, Bergy, and D.Hernandaz certaintly will look great. I'm really excited for the future. Go O's.

He did have movement on his fastball when it was down but it was up quite a bit and when it was it was flat and obviously very hittable. It's a good thing he was pitching to KC and not any team in the AL East.

That being said, I give him a break for three reasons: 1) his first start in the bigs 2) the long rain delay and 3) Trembley's completely idiotic decision to start Zauhn instead of Weiters since Weiters has caught him before and knows him better than Zauhn. The decision about who's catching was another example of his poor hanfdling of the prichers. Zaughn's expereince was not nearly as important as Tillman's comfort level. Just plain dumb.

Tillman threw a few down and away fastballs for strikes at 95 mph. That should make Leo Mazzone happy . . . .

4/5th of the Orioles starting rotation, for next year, is now set with Tillman's arrival. He showed glimpses of what kind of stuff he has. With three better-than-average pitches, and with ability to throw strikes he is clearly here to stay. He also has a quick move to first, and ends up in a fairly good position to field the ball.He can be expected to gain a couple of mph on his fastball once he puts 10 lbs of muscle on his wiry 6' 5" and 195
lbs frame.

Bergeson, Hernandez, Tillman and Guthrie all throw strikes, and that would be a major plus for the rotation.

My impression was Greg Zaun did nothing to help him through his first start. So once again Dave Trembley's reliance on these veterans was the wrong choice. He should have gone with a catcher he has worked with in the past to re-establish that level of comfort. You know that catcher that is the future in Baltimore? Something Dave is not going to be a part of....

my only concern about tillman is his delivery. it is smooth as clockwork. maybe too smooth. it is very easy to follow the ball out of his hand. and that fastball looks straight as an arrow.

His pitches have good movement, but needs to work on his control. He missed on a lot of his pitches. He can get away with that in AAA, but not in the major leagues. He has nothing more to prove in AAA, so leaving him up here would only make him better by facing the best competition. Being just 21 years old is very impressive to make his way through each level in the farm system. I hope his status will remain a rookie so he can be a potential ROY next year by pitching a complete season. When Arrieta comes up in September, it will be great to see how they all do together down the stretch. The chances of a second half swoon to me, diminish greatly. At least they will be fun to watch and if they do lose, would rather see them pitch than the vets.

It appeared to me that his nervousness resulted in him overthrowing, costing him both in control and movement. But he knows how to pitch and has good stuff. What impressed me most was that he appeared to be THINKING out there on the mound, putting his head down for a few seconds between pitches before looking for the sign.

He looks like the real deal in the raw. The next couple of years should be exciting as the young O's prospects grow their spurs.

I think the kid did just fine. The homers were solo's so minimum damage. Would have liked to have seen Trembley leave him in to try to work out of the last inning jam. He pitched with few runners on base as most of the hits prior to the last inning he pitched were homers. I think once he gains command of his curve ball he could be lights out.

I have no impression either way. It's too early. He could have pitched a gem or got lit up it didn't matter to me. Tooooooo early to say anything positive or negative. Just take it as progress. After about 30 starts we can start making opinions.

I think he was awful. The Bedard trade looks worse and worse everyday. McFAIL should be sent back to Chicago with Hill and Pie and get Garrett Olson and the other guy back. Then send AngeLOSER back to Greece because he has made us lose for 37 straight years.

We should package Tillman, Guthrie, Huff, Mora, Yamon Figurs and Albert Belle's plastic hip and in a deal to get Gonzales and Peavy from the Padres.

(This is how one of those crazy rants go, right?)

Tillman pitched like I golf, flashes of brilliance mixed with flashes of crappulence! Not too bad, I think O's fans have been spoiled by great debuts this year...

Tillman's debut was good enough for a debut and compared to the two bums we picked up today for one of the better closers in the game, he was Walter Johnson.

It was great to hear the teary-eyed reunion of father for son on MASN, but next time it happens I would suggest that Greg Maddux Sr. or Bob Gibson Sr. or Lefty Grove Sr. be the father.

Along those lines, I don't know if Daniel Cabrera has kids, but, if so, let's hope that D-Cab is not the sentimental type.

I thought his delivery and mound presence looked a lot like Palmer's without the leg kick. He's got it whatever it is. He's going to be real good.

75% hype,,,no better/no worse than so many others paraded through here. What I find so interesting is that we hear so much about our secret weapons that generally fizzle out & so little on the other teams that we must think are sitting by doing nothing...yret those very same tkeep rolling young talent one year after the next. Example Phillies...Hammels to Happ & next will be Drabek. The more I think of it...we just talk the game & rarely put the real deal on the field.

Tom-

Wieters didn't start because he had just played 11 innings the night before. It would have been truly idiotic to push his health for one start.

He reminded me of Palmer.

He's going to be very good, assuming he can adjust to the League like apparently
Reimold and Wieters have shown. That's the real trick.

If Tillman is an effective starter, the Orioles from this point, should win more than lose. Tillman is the tipping point and the key.

Nice mound presents, outstanding change-up, curve ball (his out pitch) was all over the place but the bad news is his fast ball is straight as a stick, hence the three home runs.Unless he shows better control to spot his fast ball or developes movement.....he's toast.

Pitching is a d--- hard profession in which to excel. Having said this,despite a shaky start,he's got time and the tools togo there,and we desperately need his kind on the O,s. My take is he's a winner,Go Mr.T.

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