In his last start of last season, Chris Tillman gave up six runs over two innings vs. Cleveland.
Today, he ended his 2010 season on a real high note, allowing just three hits and one run over seven innings in the Orioles 10-6 win over the Tigers in game one of today’s doubleheader.
“I think it’s huge, that last start of the year is always a big boost into the off-season. Last year I had a tough one and it kind of sat with me the whole off-season. It’s a lot better to end the season like this.
“That new pitch this year has come a long way and it showed it today. Hopefully the whole package is there and consistency will also be there next year,” Tillman said.
Tillman was talking about the cut fastball, which was quite effective for him today. It seems he has thrown it more and more as the year has gone on and it’s become a much better pitch for him.
“Just the confidence in it to throw it. I’d never thrown it before, came into spring training with a new pitch. Kranny told me you need to throw it as much as you can. Today, actually he told me he wanted me to go to the cutter instead of the curve ball when I got ahead of guys as a put-away pitch.
“It’s been my best pitch this last go-round. I think it was my best pitch today.”
Tillman improved to 2-5, 5.87 and set a season high with seven strikeouts.
It was a season that began with him not the O’s fifth starter, but rather in the minor leagues, but ends with a winning outing, allowing just one run.
“It’s been a roller coaster year, but the key is to stay consistent. Stay even keel and not get too high or too low. That’s going to be something I take into the off-season and into next year.”
Tillman said he and Brian Matusz plan to work out together in California during the fall and winter and he’ll check in with Rick Kranitz to find out when to begin his throwing program to get ready for the 2011 year.