Tillman pitching for the Orioles in 2009
|Baltimore Orioles – No. 30|
April 15, 1988 |
|July 29, 2009, for the Baltimore Orioles|
(through 2015 season)
|Earned run average||4.20|
|Career highlights and awards|
Tillman was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the second round of the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft. On February 9, 2008, Tillman, along with Adam Jones, George Sherrill, Kam Mickolio, and Tony Butler, was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for Érik Bédard.
On July 29, 2009, Tillman made his major league debut against the Kansas City Royals. He pitched 42⁄3 innings, allowing three runs on three solo home runs. The Orioles ended up winning 7–3, leaving Tillman with a no decision.
Tillman finished the year, making 12 starts and posting a 2-5 record with a 5.40 ERA.
Tillman also pitched for the O's during the 2010 campaign, and he once again posted a 2-5 record with a 5.87 ERA in 11 starts.
On April 2, 2011, Tillman carried a no-hitter through six innings against the Tampa Bay Rays in the Orioles second game of the season. He was lifted by manager Buck Showalter after the sixth inning, however, as Tillman's pitch count was already up to 101 pitches. The team no-hitter was lost the following inning by Jeremy Accardo but the Orioles did go on to win 3–1. The Orioles did not score their runs until the 8th inning, giving Tillman a no-decision.
Despite this good start, Tillman's inconsistency and struggle to get opposing batters out led to him making only 13 starts for the Orioles. He struggled with a 3-5 record and 5.52 ERA, and allowed opposing batters to hit .301 off of him.
On March 31, 2012, the Orioles decided to option Tillman to the Tides rather than include him on their starting rotation. He posted an 8–8 record with the Tides in 16 games, pitching to a 3.63 ERA with 30 walks and 92 strikeouts. Tillman made his return to the Orioles on July 4, 2012, allowing only 2 hits over 81⁄3 innings against the Mariners and recording his first major league win of the season. Tillman had his breakout half and went on to make 15 starts, posting a 9-3 record with a 2.93 ERA in 86 innings. He was able to hold hitters to a .207 average and he had a 1.05 WHIP.
The 2013 season was a breakout one for Tillman. He assumed the role of ace of the rotation and compiled the most wins of any pitcher on the staff. Although he did not get the call to pitch, Tillman was selected to his first All Star Game, by American League manager Jim Leyland, after Justin Verlander decided not to go. On August 29, Tillman became the first Oriole pitcher since Erik Bedard in 2006 to record 15 victories in a single season, winning against the Boston Red Sox, pitching 7 innings, allowing two runs, no walks and striking out 8. On September 9, Tillman recorded his 16th win, going into the 8th inning against the New York Yankees, allowing 2 runs (both solo home runs), 4 hits and no walks, while striking out 9. Tillman ended the season with 16 wins, the most of any Orioles pitcher since Mike Mussina had 18 in 1999. He pitched 206.1 innings, struck out 179 batters and had a final ERA of 3.71.
On March 17, 2014, manager Buck Showalter announced that Tillman would be the Orioles' Opening Day starter, for the first time in his career, on March 31, against the Boston Red Sox. He received a no-decision, going 5 innings, allowing one run, and striking out 4. On April 6, Tillman earned his first win of 2014, going 81⁄3 innings against the Detroit Tigers, allowing one run and striking out 5. On May 17, Tillman pitched his first career complete game shutout, against the Kansas City Royals. On September 23, Showalter announced that Tillman would be making his first career postseason start during Game 1 of the American League Division Series, against the Detroit Tigers. Tillman would be the winning pitcher, going 5 innings, allowing 2 runs, and striking out 6, as the Orioles defeated the Tigers 12–3. The Orioles would eventually get swept in the 2014 American League Championship Series.
On May 7, 2015, Tillman surrendered a home run from Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, which moved Rodriguez into sole possession of fourth place on the all time home run list, surpassing Willie Mays.  After struggling greatly in the first half of the season, Tillman started off the second half of the year with one of the most dominant starts of his career, going eight innings, allowing only one hit and no runs, including retiring the last 23 batters he faced, against the Detroit Tigers. In addition, it was Tillman's fourth career outing in which he had allowed one or fewer hits over the course of six-plus innings. In his very next start, he pitched 7.0-plus innings and didn't give up a run until the seventh inning, ending his career-high 16-inning scoreless streak. In his third post-All-Star start, Tillman continued his dominance with a no-run, four hit, 8.2 inning performance. His season ERA was lowered to 4.35 (it had been 5.40 going into the second half).
Tillman throws four pitches: a four seam fastball at 91-95 MPH, occasionally touching 96, a cutter at 83-87, a curveball at 75-78 that reached 80 during the first month of his career and a changeup, thrown mostly to lefties, at 78-84. The curveball and changeup are Tillman's out pitches.
- "Chris Tillman Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
- Orioles trade Bedard to Mariners for five prospects
- Baltimore Orioles top 10 prospects
- O's set to unveil prospect Tillman
- Orioles ride three-run seventh inning past Royals
- "Chris Tillman dazzles in season debut as Orioles hold off Mariners". ESPN.com. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
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- Baseball Almanac