Mar 10, 2014; Bradenton, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Chris Tillman (30) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at McKechnie Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
In what is the least dramatic and most anti-climatic moment of spring training for the Baltimore Orioles, Buck Showalter has named Chris Tillman as the opening day starter against the Boston Red Sox on March 31st. Hey, that’s two weeks from today – hopefully enough time for the snow to melt, unless yet another storm blows through the region.
But for the highly relational, interpersonal manager, it was one of those moments of pleasure to reward a young man for his strong performance over the previous year. “It is a reward,” Buck said. “I’m proud of him; he deserves it.”
Indeed, with a 16-7 record that could have / should have been more like 20 wins, and an ERA of 3.71, it was the strongest individual season for an Orioles pitcher in quite a number of years. Tillman was also named to the all-star team in 2013.
Looking back over the previous years’ statistics of the past eight opening day starters for the Orioles demonstrates once again how a new era of baseball has arrived in Baltimore. And it is also a reminder of those hard-luck years for Jeremy Guthrie, who would pitch so well yet get no run support.