Baltimore Orioles: Chris Tillman’s turn in New York

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 02: Chris Tillman
HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 02: Chris Tillman /

The Baltimore Orioles have put together back-to-back wins in New York. They’ll look to Chris Tillman to give them their first win-streak of the season.

I’ll admit, I missed last night’s 14-inning fiasco. I didn’t see Manny Machado‘s two home runs, Chris Davis‘ first, and Pedro Alvarez‘ 14th-inning Grand Slam to give the Baltimore Orioles the victory. I also didn’t see Mychal Givens make an outstanding play in the tenth inning that prevented the Yankees from winning the game.

I’ve seen the highlights, and I’ve ever seen a pitcher block home plate the way he did. It wasn’t interference.

What I didn’t miss though, was another starting pitcher keeping the Orioles in the game, and giving them a chance to win.

Kevin Gausman tossed five innings last night, only allowing two runs on five hits. His second outing was leaps and bounds ahead of his first. Although it wasn’t a Quality Start, Gausman continued the streak of “three-runs or less” outings.

More from Call to the Pen

Dating back to Tuesday in Houston, Orioles starters have allowed just seven runs in 22 innings, for an ERA of 2.86. Now, Chris Tillman will have his shot to continue that trend.

Focusing on the present

Tillman will be trying to move forward from his four-inning, four-run outing in Houston. Although he was knocked out of his first start early, he still believes that he’s primed to have a better season. Speaking with Eduardo Encina, from The Baltimore Sun, Tillman said,

"Oh, yeah, it’s much different. I didn’t have anything last year. I have quite a bit. Tonight didn’t go as I planned or as we planned, but going forward I think it’s going to get better.”"

He has to be better if he’s going to continue the successful run Orioles starters have had as of late. There’s no way around it.

Having pitched for the Orioles since 2009, Tillman has seen the New York Yankees surely more times than he can remember. In fact, he’s faced them 22 times, having started 21 ballgames, but hasn’t had much success against them.

Coming in with an 8-and-8 lifetime record against New York, Tillman won’t only want to keep the runs down; he’ll want to keep the ball down as well. His 20 home runs allowed against the Yankees rank third amongst teams he’s faced. With Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez being dubbed, “Murderers Row 2.0,” Tillman can’t afford any mistakes high in the zone.

Current Yankees versus Tillman

Over the years, Yankees batters have hit .307 versus Tillman, and the current group of hitters is just four points under that pace.

Brett Gardner is 12-for-45 with a home run but has also struck out 11 times against him. Jacoby Ellsbury, who is on the Disabled List, is 12-for-47 with two doubles. Perhaps the best Yankees hitter against Tillman, Didi Gregorius is 11-for-20 with a home run, a triple and five doubles. Yikes.

Judge is 2-for-5 with a home run, Sanchez is 1-for-3, and Stanton has yet to face him.

Next: Kevin Gausman wanted to forget the past

The Orioles have a chance to have their first winning streak of the season, at the hands of the New York Yankees. A bounce-back outing today from Chris Tillman would be more appreciated than a warm cup of hot chocolate in New York. At least, for Orioles fans that is.