It's Thursday and you know what that means, it's time once again for Orioles101's Throwback Thursday and today we will examine how Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Chris Tillman's 2013 season could be the best one by a starting pitcher in the 21st century.
Baltimore has enjoyed the fact that Tillman has continued the progress he showed at the end of 2012 into 2013 as he has become the most consistent pitcher in the Orioles starting rotation. Tillman is slowly becoming this team's ace and with one more victory, he will become the first pitcher for Baltimore in the 21st century to reach the 16 win plateau.
Let that sink in a little bit; in 14 seasons in this century, not a single Orioles starting pitcher has managed to win 16 games in a single season. The last O's starting pitcher to win 16 or more games in a season was Mike Mussina in 1999 when he won 18 games.
Now obviously we are not overlooking the fact that the Orioles were, for a lack of a better term, terrible, until last season when they broke an impressive streak of not having a winning season since 1997.
Tillman is currently 15-5 with a 3.71 ERA in 28 starts and made his first career All-Star game as he was one of five Orioles to make the trip to New York for the mid-summer classic this season.
Not only is Tillman having one of the best seasons for an Orioles starting pitcher over the last 14 years, but he is having a good one in regards to the entire American league as well. Tillman currently ranks second in the AL in wins with 15, ninth with 8.043 hits per nine innings, and tenth in games started, just one behind the leaders.
If Tillman were to finish the year with his current 3.71 ERA and gets his 16th win, he will be the leader in wins and sixth in ERA for an Orioles starting pitcher in the 21st century. In case you were wondering, Erik Bedard has the best ERA among Orioles starting pitchers with 20 or more starts in a season with his 3.16 ERA in 2007.
With Tillman under team control through the 2017 season, Baltimore could be on the brink of a legitimate ace if he continues to improve the way he has over the past couple seasons. Hopefully Tillman will get his 16th win of the season on the upcoming home stand so the home crowd can witness it and even more hopeful that he can help lead the Birds on a great late season run to get back into the playoffs in 2013.
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