A.L. East Review: Blue Jays pick up ground while Rays get dealt a tough hand

5 of 6

Apr 23, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Baltimore Orioles pitcher Bud Norris (25) catches a ball in front of a scoreboard image of pitcher Chris Tillman (not pictured) at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

  • Baltimore Orioles
  • Overall Record: 13-15
  • Last Seven: 3-4

There is no doubting that the Baltimore Orioles are in a good place in terms of being a solid hitting unit. However, like the rest of the American League East, their pitching leaves much to be desired. And the bullpen isn’t the source of the problem.

Outside of Wei-Yin Chen, the Orioles have struggled to get consistent starts out of any of the other four arms in the rotation. That was tremendously present over the last seven games. Chen gave Baltimore two solid starts, allowing 3 earned runs over 13 innings of work. Baltimore also got an atypically strong start from Bud Norris.

However, the chief concern for the Orioles staff at this stage has to be ace Chris Tillman. Entering his second year of arbitration eligibility, Tillman and the Orioles have been working on a long-term extension and perhaps that is proving to be more of a distraction that desired. In six starts, Tillman has managed just 31.2 innings of work, allowing 35 hits, 22 runs (all earned), and is walking batters at a 5.1 BB/9 clip.

If the Orioles want to contend in the A.L. East, Tillman is going to need to be the guy to lead the staff. If he can’t, it could be a long season in Baltimore.

Next: The Red Sox need to pull an ace