What happens if Chris Tillman has a breakthrough performance tonight or his next start? What if he pitches seven innings plus with ease? We saw Brian Matusz do it last Sunday, and it makes you wonder. Will the Orioles still shut down their two young arms early if they roll through their next two starts?
Andy MacPhail has said nothing is clear cut. Though Dave Trembley said last weekend he doesn't see either of the two making more than three more starts; that was never etched in stone. It was ironic that the day after the O's announced they'd most likely end Matusz and Tillman's seasons early; Matusz threw his best game of the year.
Do you shut down a young pitcher when he appears to be turning the corner? Do you take the precaution of protecting their arms if they're not showing signs of fatigue?
It's an interesting thought---but could be a moot point. Tillman told reporters after his last start he felt "drained" out there. Right now in the first inning of Friday's game against the Rangers, he's given up two hits, a walk and a run with just one out.
Trembley will be watching closely to see how hard Tillman has to labor to get outs. That will help him make the decision if and when to shut the 21-year-old down.
If Matusz has another outing like he did Sunday, it will be hard to shut him down.