O’s right-hander Chris Tillman will take the mound tonight for the first time since he gave up nine hits and six runs over just 1 2/3 innings last Wednesday in New York.
There has been a lot of talk about Tillman’s velocity being down. Catcher Matt Wieters admits he has seen Tillman throw harder than he has this year, but also feels Tillman’s current velocity is plenty good enough to win with.
“He can definitely pitch at the velocity he is throwing now. I’ve seen where him he’s been 94, 95 and of course we want to get him back there. But it’s not like he’s throwing 82 up there,” Wieters said.
“He’s still around 90, which he can pitch at with his breaking stuff and offspeed stuff. Hopefully, the velocity could get back to what it used to be, but he can pitch at this level very effectively with what he is throwing right now.”
Since throwing six no-hit innings in his first start against Tampa Bay, Tillman has allowed 15 hits and 10 runs over 6 1/3 innings against Detroit and New York.
Is Tillman in need of a confidence lift right now?
“Tillman will take every game like it’s a new game,” Wieters said. “He’s had success up here and struggles up here. The good thing is you can learn from the struggles and build off the successes. At 23, he’s still young and has a lot of experience as well.
“He is going to have to get ahead (of the hitters tonight). That last outing against the Yankees, he had good stuff, he just didn’t ahead. Tonight, it will be big to get strike one. Once he is ahead in counts, he can use all his other pitches,” the Orioles catcher said.
In his one previous start against Minnesota, Tillman took a loss on August 24, 2009 despite giving up just two runs over 5 1/3 frames.
In 12 career starts at Camden Yards, Tillman, who turned 23 on Friday, is 2-4 with an ERA of 5.73 in 59 2/3 innings.