Tonight is an important night for Orioles baseball, perhaps on par with when Matt Wieters got called up in June. 21-year-old Chris Tillman makes his Orioles debut against a suddenly pesky Royals team. As Peter Schmuch wrote about in the Sun today, Tillman represents yet another piece of the "jury is still out" rebuilding plan engineered by Andy MacPhail. Tillman was one of the players acquired in the Bedard deal, which has to go down as one of the great fleecings in baseball of the last decade. Bedard is a career .500 pitcher who can't stay healthy and the Orioles got an all-star centerfield, a legit closer, and perhaps a solid starter out of the deal, along with a few other pieces.
So as Tillman comes up, we take the time to think about whether this rotation could be a winner for Baltimore in the near future: Bergesen, Hernandez, Tillman, Guthrie (maybe), and one more youngster, like Brian Matusz or Jake Arieta.
By the way, the result tonight means very little. It would be great if Tillman wins, but Berken won his first start and hasn't won since, though he did keep the Orioles in the game last night. The real test is how he's doing after 2 months in the bigs and the real REAL test is how he's doing come this time next year.
For some morbid reason, I still watch. I found myself last night driving home after a late night of work listening the Joe Angel and Fred Manfra describe another squandered lead, this time against a team that is supposed to be worse than the Orioles.
But as one more promising young player comes up, taking the place of a guy who couldn't get it done (Rich Hill), there's one more reason to think, "maybe things are looking up."