Guest post by Matt Jenkins
With the 2014 MLB playoffs just around the corner, the Baltimore Orioles are pretty much a lock to represent the American League East. Not a lot of people expected them to be at the top of the division at the start of the year, but here they are with a sizable lead. They have quite a few players to thank for their outstanding season so far, but one big surprise has been Chris Tillman on the mound.
The American League Cy Young Award has pretty much been wrapped up by Felix Hernandez. However, if it was not for Hernandez having such a special season on the mound, there is a very good chance that Tillman would come away with the award. He has been able to the very solid on the mound, and he has also been very consistent. His numbers and fantasy baseball illustrate just how valuable he has been for Baltimore.
Among playoff teams, Baltimore certainly looks like a franchise that does not have the same type of top-tier talent on the mound. Most people agree that in order to win a World Series, pitching needs to be the key for any franchise. Tillman is hoping that he can carry over his regular season success to the postseason. He might not have a huge track record, but nothing seems to be holding him back at this time.
Tillman was pretty good at the beginning of the year, but he has been very solid since the beginning of June. In fact, he has not allowed more than 3 earned runs in any of his starts since June 5, and that has put Baltimore in contention every single time he takes the mound. He might only have 12 wins on the year and a slightly bloated 3.36 ERA, but Baltimore will be counting on him quite a bit during the most important part of the year. If he can take his game to another level, Baltimore has a fighting chance to go all the way.