Maybe Chris Tillman got the message. A few hours after the Orioles demoted Jake Arrieta to Triple-A Norfolk, Tillman turned in the Orioles best start of the young season. He looked like the guy O’s fans fell head over heels for at the end of 2012 — the guy I said they should have traded.
The 6 2/3 innings Tillman match the most by any O’s starter in 2013. He threw only 103 pitches, scattered just four hits, allowed one run, three walks and three strikeouts.
His four seam fastball, thrown 37 times (26 for strikes), clocked in at an average speed of 92.27 MPH and maxed out at 94.16. He heavily relied on his cutter, thrown 37 times (24 for strikes), which similarly was thrown at an average speed of 92.18 MPH and maxed out at 94.64.
His secondary pitches also proved to be very successful. The changeup was clocked at an average speed of 83.88 MPH, nearly 9 MPH slower than his fastball and cutter, and was thrown for a strike in 8 of 13 pitches. Tillman’s curveball, which showed incredible vertical movement (see the GIF of his strikeout of Jose Bautista in the seventh inning below) was thrown for strikes in 6 of his 13 pitches.
When Tillman has the curveball working, it can be a deadly pitch. He’s recorded 59 strikeouts in 177 at-bats on that pitch. It’s his go-to when ahead in the count against left handed batters (and apparently righties on Monday).