The KC Royals just caught a break. The Baltimore Orioles just announced they will place ace Chris TIllman on the 15-day disabled list. The Kansas City Royals trail the Orioles by 4.0 games for the American League’s second wild card.
Orioles insider for CSN mid-Atlantic Rich Dubroff tweeted the news Tuesday night:
Losing Tillman is a major blow to the Orioles staff. Chris Tillman is 15-5 with a 3.76 ERA in 153.0 innings pitched for the 2016 season. Ubaldo Jimenez will start in Tillman’s place on Thursday, and he has a 6.94 ERA in 18 starts for the Orioles this season.
However, the 32-year-old Jimenez was an NL All-Star for the Rockies in 2010 during his 19-8, 2.88 ERA season for Colorado in which he also finished third in the NL Cy Young vote. Jimenez posted a slightly above average 101 ERA+ (1% better than league average) in 2015, when he went 12-10 with a 4.11 ERA in 32 starts for the Orioles.
The 28-year-old Tillman has been struggling with shoulder issues. Tillman pitched a bullpen session on Tuesday. Baltimore Sun reporter Eduardo A. Encina wrote:
"Tillman’s bullpen session before Tuesday’s game “did not go well,” [Buck] Showalter [Orioles Manager] said earlier Tuesday."
Orioles manager Buck Showalter also told Encina:
"“It’s tough,” Tillman said of a DL stint. “You don’t like it, but you know, it is what it is. It’s happened and we have to get better now, but Iike I said, I think this is the best way to go about it and we talked about it a little bit. I’d rather feel better at the end of the season than fighting it all year.”"
Losing their ace is a terrible blow to an Orioles rotation that has struggled recently. As a group, they have allowed a 7.99 ERA during the team’s current homestand in Baltimore. The last thing the Orioles need is to lose their ace.
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However, opponents have been hitting Tillman hard recently. He’s lost three of his last four starts and owns a 6.66 ERA over that span. According to Brooks Baseball, his fastball was down to 91.5 mph in his last start against Houston Astros—which is his lowest velocity in any game this season.
Not only are the Orioles holding off the KC Royals by 4.0 games, but the Detroit Tigers (3.0 games behind) and Seattle Mariners (1.0 games behind) are also in the hunt.
The KC Royals have apparently caught some luck with Tillman’s injury. The bounces are just going the defending World Champions way right now. Let’s just hope their good luck can continue over the last six weeks of the season.