Monday, October 4, 2010
Chris Tillman, 2009 Topps Updates and Highlights #UH108
Chris Tillman: 5.2 BB/9 IP. Many Orioles fans were baffled by the team's use of the 22-year-old from the get-go. He was optioned to AAA Norfolk (where he'd already had a dominant 18-game run last year) on Opening Day, passed over for the less-accomplished David Hernandez based on a few spring training innings. When multiple starters faltered, he was recalled in late May and given four whole starts to establish himself. Besieged by bad luck and command issues, he went 0-3 with an 8.40 ERA. He was sent back to Norfolk for nearly a month. In his first start back with the O's, he no-hit Texas for six and one-third innings, shutting them down and spoiling Cliff Lee's Rangers debut. But he gave up eight runs in three disastrous innings the next time out, and was sent back to Norfolk with hair-trigger quickness when Kevin Millwood returned from the disabled list. His exile lasted from mid-July through to September, by which time Buck Showalter hopefully injected some common sense into the proceedings by running Chris out to the mound five consecutive times on his turn. The youngster was still maddeningly inconsistent, but he ended the year on a high note last Friday with a two-hit, two-walk, seven-strikeout performance in seven innings. Ultimately, he'll have to trust his stuff and cut out the walks. If he's given a whole year in the majors without having to look over his shoulder every four days, maybe he'll put it all together.