5 Baltimore Orioles key to team’s second-half success

BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 02: Kevin Gausman
BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 02: Kevin Gausman /
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2. Chris Tillman, SP

Speaking of carrying the team, no pitcher has been the epitome of that for the Orioles like Chris Tillman has over the past five years.

Tillman doesn’t have the flashy pitches, the high radar gun readings, or the impressive size of some pitchers.

However, Tillman had an excellent record and the ability to contribute in nearly every game.

Well, 2017 has been tough for Tillman. He started out hurt and was behind the eight ball the entire first half.

He is healthy and is now at a place where he should be expected to perform. The velocity on his pitches is back to near where it should be. Now it is a matter of doing his job and putting a maligned pitching staff on his shoulders, along with help from his rotation mates.

You won’t find a bullpen guy on this list. I believe if the Oriole starters can improve, the bullpen is outstanding. Sure, Zach Britton and Darren O’Day need to be healthy for that to play out, but Brad Brach, Richard Bleier, Mychal Givens, Donnie Hart and Miguel Castro have all been useful.

But it all starts with the starters. Tillman has an ERA of 7.90, a WHIP of 2.143 and hits per nine innings of 14.5.

By comparison, his career ERA is 4.30, his career WHIP is 1.348, and his career hits per 9 innings is 8.8.

Tillman is getting rocked. If this continues, he has to be removed from the rotation. If Tillman turns it around, it could go a long, long way to help the Orioles get back to the playoffs.