The Orioles won another game tonight, but they lost their No. 1 starter to place more stress on their rotation.
Chris Tillman is headed to the disabled list, the news passed along by manager Buck Showalter and confirmed by the right-hander following an 8-1 win over the Nationals at Camden Yards.
Tillman received a cortisone injection in his shoulder to combat the inflammation after Dr. Leigh Ann Curl examined him. He’s dealing with the same discomfort that caused the Orioles to push back his last start to Saturday night, when he allowed six runs in two-plus innings against the Astros.
The DL assignment can be backdated to Sunday and allow Tillman to return on Sept. 5.
“It feels OK, not great,” he said. “I would have liked to have had better results or response from the last outing, but it just didn’t respond very well, so we’re trying to be safe, get this thing in the rearview mirror. That way I’m not fighting it all year. That’s probably the best way to go about it.”
Tillman had a poor bullpen session today, which raised more concerns and led to the examination.
“I thought once it got loose it would really go away, but it never really did and that was my first time actually experiencing it while throwing,” he said. “Last time, I was pretty sore right after my start, but after feeling it today, I’d much rather just get this behind us and get out in front of it so that way we’re not worried about it for the rest of the year.”
Tillman didn’t undergo an MRI and seems fairly optimistic that he’ll be ready by Sept. 5.
“I would think so, yes, but I’m going to take it day-by-day. That’s the only thing I can do right now. Play it by ear. I trust in Richie (Bancells) and Brian (Ebel). It’s in their hands now,” said Tillman, who’s 15-5 with a 3.76 ERA in 26 starts.
“It’s tough. I don’t like it, but it is what it is. It happened and we’ve got to get better now. I think this is the best way to go about it, and we had talked about it a little. I’d rather feel better at the end of the season rather than fighting it all year.
“Just inflammation. It’s just irritated and we’re trying to get that gone before we get going again. I wouldn’t say it’s a scare. It happens. It’s part of baseball. Bad timing. It is what it is and we’ll move on.”
Tillman didn’t get an injection after first experiencing the discomfort, but he needed one today and “I think that would be a sign of where he is heading,” Showalter said.
“We have three back dates and an off day, so you’re talking about 11 days to try to resolve some of the things he’s feeling, hopefully. Of course, we felt that way about Darren (O’Day), too. So we’ll take it one step at a time.
“Same problem he was having, I think. I don’t think there’s any plans to image it yet, but I haven’t been updated.”
Showalter will need a starter for Thursday. Vance Worley threw 34 pitches tonight and isn’t a consideration. Ubaldo Jimenez is 6-1 with a 2.32 ERA in eight career starts against the Nationals and 4-0 with a 0.92 ERA in four starts in D.C.
Joe Gunkel was scratched from tonight’s start at Triple-A Norfolk and appears to be another option, though he isn’t on the 40-man roster.
Showalter will continue to meet with pitching coach Dave Wallace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti.
“I know it’s going to be a topic when I go back,” Showalter said. “We talked about it some during the game, depending on how we maneuvered those last few innings. Obviously, the option is either here or in the minor leagues.”
Update: The Orioles announced that Jimenez will start Thursday night in D.C.
Here are more quotes following tonight’s game:
Showalter on whether winning three challenges was a good sign:
“It certainly helped. We needed each one of them. It kept any momentum from getting going. That’s a really good offensive team over there. When the tag is behind, you’ve got to look at the hand touching the base and you can’t really see back there. Just another way you try to make the game better with some of the changes. Glad we had them in place tonight.”
Showalter on whether Gausman is getting better:
“You could say there were a lot of deep counts and a lot of pitches in three or four or five innings, but you can’t drop your guard against those guys. They have so many landmines through their order that you’ve just got to keep grinding. We’ll take the finished product. He gave us six shutout innings and Kevin wanted to go another inning. I feel good, knock on wood, about the way he and Dylan (Bundy) feel right now this time of year.”
Showalter on rallying to go 3-5 on the homestand:
“It’s a really good team. They’re one of the best teams in baseball and in that league, so it was tough. We caught a couple young pitchers, but we had a couple young pitchers, too, that did well. Yeah, we’ll get on a bus tonight and head over to Washington and play a good team two more times.
“It was a good fundamental game for us. Jon (Schoop) and J.J. (Hardy) are as good of taggers as you want to see. They never give up on a play and they let the ball travel, which gives you a chance to tag the runner instead of going to get it. Being able to throw that guy out, you’ve got to unload in a hurry, you’re not always going to be real accurate, but Matt (Wieters) feels like if he gets it around there with some quickness, they’ll figure a way to get the tag on him.”
Adam Jones on losing Tillman:
“We’re going to miss him on the mound. He’s still going to be here every day. I look at it as a time for him to go heal. We’re still going to keep fighting, grinding and when he comes back hopefully after the 15 days, mid-September, whenever he does, he comes back fresh and ready to make his last three or four starts in a tight race. You can look at it both ways. I want him to heal, but I want I him to heal and get better so he definitely helps us in the final push because he’s that important to our staff.”
Jones on beating the Nats:
“I mean, it’s the game. Just take what you can get, man. Some days you’re the bug, some days you’re the windshield. Who said that? Jim Thome. You got to go with the punches.”
Jones on replays:
“That’s huge. You’ve got to tip your cap to Schoop and Wieters. Obviously, Schoop on the back end of it with the tag. Him and J.J. and (Bobby) Dickerson are out there tirelessly putting on these tags. That guy, Trea Turner, he’s a burner, an absolute burner, and to have him off the bases is a huge thing because any ball put in play that results in a hit, he’s going to score because he’s got speed, so that’s a run that we eliminated, possibly two runs, that we eliminated from the base paths.”
Kevin Gausman on losing Tillman:
“It’s going to be huge, especially this time of year. Every game matters from here on out, especially in a tight race in the east. We’re sad to miss him, but hopefully a little bit of rest will get him to come back and he’ll be ready to go.”
Gausman on outing:
“It was good. I got away with some pitches early and had some balls go foul. That was pretty big. I didn’t necessarily pitch great, but it’s just one of those days where you try to keep grinding and look up and somehow, I didn’t give up a run.”
Gausman on overturned calls:
“It’s great. It was great for me twice today. It’s a little different if you’re hitting and you obviously want to keep the momentum on them, but you’re ready to go out there and you might have to sit back down, might have to run back out there. That’s where it gets a little iffy, but if it’s in the field and it goes your way, it’s great.”
Gausman on winning two starts in a row:
“I feel like I’m starting to string together some good starts, and more importantly just going deep in the game. I think our bullpen has been worn out a lot lately. We’ve kind of put them in some tough situations. If we can go deeper into the game as starters, that’s what we’re going to try and do to keep those guys healthy.”
Gausman, who’s 5-1 with a 2.48 ERA in 10 starts at home, on his splits:
“I’ve pitched well on the road, I just don’t necessarily have the wins to show for it. I’ve had multiple outings on the road that have been really good, it’s just the guy that I’m facing that night has also pitched really well. A lot of no-decisions.”