OK, five earned runs in six innings of work isn’t Hall of Fame material. I’m not here to try and hoodwink anyone into thinking Chris Tillman was lights-out in Detroit tonight, because he wasn’t.
But there were some very good signs from Tillman this evening in his second career start.
His breaking ball – absolutely non-existent in his ML debut last Wednesday vs. KC – was his “out pitch” on Monday and he dumped a couple of outstanding pitches on the outside of the plate for strikeouts. He made Brandon Inge look like a fool for one of his strikeouts.
His change-up is already of the big-league variety. Like I said last Thursday morning, Pedro Martinez is going to the Hall of Fame someday based mainly on his fastball-change-up combo. Tillman’s no Pedro, but that change-up of his is awesome.
I’m still not convinced Tillman’s fastball is good enough but he’ll get stronger, smarter and better — and those three traits will improve his fastball. It doesn’t have much movement on it. And when he’s off with it, it tends to move up in the strike zone and that’s going to lead to trouble if he doesn’t move it around the plate more, especially when he’s behind in the count.
After being staked to a 5-0 first inning lead tonight, Tillman got whacked around in Detroit’s first time up and eventually surrendered 3 runs in that inning. The good news? He didn’t seem fazed by it, as he rebounded to pitch well over the next few innings despite giving up two more runs before departing.
He got himself in trouble with some wildness that helped Detroit score three times…but in all fairness, catcher Matt Wieters was somewhat responsible on at least – if not two – of them.
I like the way he battled. Unlike fellow rookie Jason Berken, Tillman can strike major league hitters out with any of his pitches. He’s going to be good. He might just turn out to be really good.
Oh, yeah, the O’s lost the game, 6-5, when Clete Thomas hit a game-winning home run off Danys Baez in the bottom of the 9th, who was almost unhittable for 5 of the 6 hitters he faced.
Who cares about the loss, right? We stopped caring in mid-May.
Chris Tillman made his 2nd start and was much better this time around.
That’s the best news of the night.