Tillman on track for Saturday

A lot can change, but it appears Chris Tillman will make Saturday’s start in Texas. Given the Orioles overused bullpen the first two games in Detroit, using long man Mark Hendrickson would leave only one long man, Jason Berken for a four-game set against a lethal Rangers lineup.

Tillman is already on track to make that start for Norfolk, so he would be able to stay on schedule. Plus, it would afford the Orioles a full bullpen to work with. In three starts since his demotion, Tillman is 3-0 with a 1.66 ERA and
has allowed just 10 hits and five walks while striking out 13 in 21 2/3
innings. He’s dominated at Triple-A and would learn more –not to mention be significantly challenged — at the Major League level.

“He’s [scheduled to pitch] right on that day. It makes sense,” pitching coach Rick Kranitz said of tabbing Tillman for Saturday. “We need some length in the bullpen is what we need, we pushed Berken and [David] Hernandez back, to the end of the game, and if Hendrickson then becomes a starter we don’t have a lot of length. It makes more sense that he would come up and pitch for us.”

While Tillman has struggled in the big leagues this season, going 0-3 with an 8.40 ERA in four starts, Kranitz isn’t worried about him losing confidence.

“I think the experience is invaluable,” Kranitz said of bringing up young guys like current O’s starter Jake
and Tillman rather than letting them dominate for Norfolk.
“Obviously you don’t want them to get beat up [in the Majors] but you
got to be a tough guy up here.”

“I’ve seen it before, guys will go down [to Triple-A] and pitch pretty well and come up and maybe scuffle a little bit. But that’s part of the process. [Tillman] will put it together, it’s just a matter of time. Sooner or later hes going to come up here and its going to click. And he will say, ‘Ok, I don’t have to give these guys as much credit as I have.'”

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