So many, including myself, were getting pretty down on Chris Tillman, questioning how much longer we could afford to keep him in the rotation. An ERA over 7 will do that. But then, in typical Chris Tillman fashion, he goes out tonight and throws 6 innings and gives up 1 ER. I know, I know, some of are you are thinking, it was just the Mariners. It’s true, the Mariners are a pretty brutal offensive team. But I think there’s more to the story than that.
To start, this isn’t Tillman’s only standout performance this year. He also had a brilliant 6 inning, no hit performance in his first start of the year. That also wasn’t Tillman’s first venture into no-hitter territory, as he is only member of the O’s young pitching corps to have thrown a no-hitter in his professional career, his coming at AAA Norfolk. I only mention these two performances together, despite their great difference in competition level, to demonstrate one thing: the potential is still there. For all the outings where Tillman goes out and gets his brain beat in like his last outing vs KC, he can also look absolutely filthy at times. Particularly when he’s getting ahead in the count and dropping that nasty Uncle Charlie on batters. Then it’s game over. (more…)