The Orioles so called “ace” has not lived up to his billing in 2015. Chris Tillman is pitching to a 5.58 ERA and FIP of 4.79. He also has the highest BB/9 ratio in the majors of 4.56.
He is leaving a lot of pitches up, either missing high for a ball or getting crushed by the batter. This could be the result of a few issues. Two of those being a back injury, or a change in his mechanics to fix one issue, creating another. A back injury would limit Tillman’s ability to bend in his finish, which when healthy and right, keeps the ball down. But, to me, it seems there is a slight difference in Tillman’s mechanics.
Here is Tillman’s windup from previous years. His windup is quick and everything stays in line towards the plate.
Tillman this year, however, seems to have a longer leg kick. If he does not slow down the rest of his delivery, his arm will lag, creating a higher release point, leaving the ball up to be hit harder.
Fortunately, this issue should be able to be fixed with continued work with Dave Wallace and Dom Chiti. However, the Orioles need to determine how long they can continue to leave Tillman in the rotation as he works through these issues.