It’s Now Time For Chis Tillman To Be The Ace That We Think He Is

Featured, Sports and Bets — October 1, 2014 at 11:40 pm by

It has only been since Sunday, but it feels like forever ago that the Orioles played a baseball game.   The break between the regular season and the playoffs, and the massive importance of the upcoming ALDS with Detroit, have us O’s fans anxious and excited. And when we baseball fans are anxious and excited we talk about baseball.  Constantly.  We talk at the office, we talk on radio stations, we put comments on websites, and we argue with ourselves while we read or watch any news or discussion about our beloved team.  It’s part of being a fan.  We want our team to win and we want to be correct in analyzing why our team will win.

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This week, the baseball talk is reaching a boil around Charm City and most of it revolves around one topic: pitching and the Game One pitching matchup.

Unless you live in a cave, you know that the Tigers boast a powerhouse starting rotation that features three Cy Young award winners.  Last year’s Cy Young winner, Max Scherzer, will take the hill for the Tigers Thursday night for Game One of  the ALDS.  His opponent, our own Chris Tillman.

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Chris Tillman is a good representative of this Orioles’ pitching staff.  He is considered its ace, and there’s absolutely no doubt that Tillman has the confidence of Baltimore’s fans and, more importantly, Baltimore’s manager, Buck Showalter.  Tilly deserves the local and managerial accolades and his numbers back this up ; his ERA is 3.34, his WHIP is 1.23, and he leads the club with 207.1 innings pitched this season.  And he settled in to be a model of consistency for the A.L. East division champs. After a Jeckyl and Hyde start to the season, Chris went 20 straight starts allowing just three runs or less.   The O’s began to heat up when Tilly took firm control of the top of the rotation.

But nationally, Tillman doesn’t seem to get the hype.  Maybe it’s because he’s third in wins on his own team (He has 13).  Or maybe it’s because he’s not an overpowering strikeout guy (He’s got 150 K’s on the year.)  Or maybe it’s because the O’s rotation just can’t seem to shake the, “average” label, even though it’s the rotation on a team that was ranked third in the American League with a 3.43 team ERA.  Whatever the reason he and the Birds’ pitchers get the Rodney Dangerfield treatment, Tillman, as the ace of that “average” rotation, has the chance Thursday night to be the ace on national television that we all in Baltimore already know he is.

And he needs to grab the opportunity and run with it.  it’s time for Tillman to assert himself on the big stage. Tillman needs to out-pitch the 2013 Cy Young award winner in Game One of the ALDS.   If Max Scherzer allows one run, Tillman needs to allow none.  If Scherzer throws a one-hitter, Tilly needs to toss a no-hitter.  Winning game one usually isn’t going to make or break a team in a five game set, but  winning game one at home would be huge for the Birds.  Winning game one sets up a favorable matchup for the O’s for game two.  Of the big three Detroit pitchers, Justin Verlander has been the weakest this season.  If the O’s can leave town up 2-0 in the series, then I have no doubt that they’ll advance.  Losing game one, and giving Detroit the opportunity to close out at home right off the bat, puts the Birds at a big disadvantage.  Because of this, Tillman needs to set the tone for this series.  He needs to tell the baseball world that he’s an ace, and he needs to beat Max Scherzer.

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Pitching seems to feed off of itself.  When a staff ace gets hot, the remainder of his rotation seems to follow suit.  I have no stats to back this up, but it feels like that’s exactly what happened with the Orioles this year.  Tilly settled in, and the rest of the staff followed suit.  Make no mistake about it, the reason the Orioles blew past the rest of the AL East like they were standing still is that team ERA of 3.43.  The bullpen is obviously a huge part of that, but the starters do the bulk of the work for the bulk of the innings.  No team is going to be third in ERA with a shitty rotation.  It’s time for the Birds’ to go show the rest of baseball their worth.

And it starts with #30.  Chris Tillman is the workhorse and the ace of this A.L East Champion staff.  It’s time for him to tell the world.

Aces down, goose eggs up.

Let’s Go O’s!

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