Chris Tillman is indeed headed to the disabled list. He received a cortisone injection in his shoulder to combat the discomfort, but the injury is apparently not severe enough to warrant an MRI. Tillman could be back to full strength in a couple weeks, or perhaps not. The Orioles and Buck Showalter don't seem overly concerned, but that doesn't always mean a whole lot. You know better than to just believe everything a manager says.
So out with Tillman, and in steps Ubaldo Jimenez -- or, at least, he'll get the first crack at replacing Tillman. There's a lot of hyperbole surrounding Tillman (comparing him to Mike Mussina? Come on), but he's meant a lot to a starting rotation that has a few holes. Tillman has been the team's best starter this season, and now the O's will need to go on and win without him for a while.
They can do that, by the way. Any team can get by without a single player for a couple of weeks, or even longer than that. Weird things happen in baseball. The Dodgers can win a bunch of games without Clayton Kershaw. It's not advised, but it does happen. And Tillman is certainly nowhere near Kershaw. It's easy to look at the performance of the O's rotation in the first half of the season and then wonder how they're even still in the playoff race.
Oh, yeah -- so, Ubaldo is back. Jimenez hasn't started a game since the O's July 28 makeup game in Minnesota against the Twins. In those five innings of work, he allowed just one run and struck out eight, but he allowed eight baserunners (five hits, three walks). That's typical Ubaldo stuff, except with less runs scoring. If the O's get that kind of performance in the next couple of starts, they'd be thrilled. Since that outing, Jimenez has only pitched three times out of the bullpen at a few innings per appearance. It's not surprising that the O's would be trying to hide someone with an ERA near 7 and a walk rate again over 5.5.
You probably don't need to hear yet again that Jimenez has had some bad fortune on balls in play and that he's not this terrible. That is true, but the O's are in a tight race for the AL East crown, and if not that, then the consolation prize of a wild card spot. We're not talking about Jimenez's long-term outlook (hint: not good), just about what he can do for the next couple of weeks (if that). So the sympathy probably won't be there for someone with a two-run gap between his ERA and FIP.
The O's could use a couple of good outings from Jimenez. But also from Wade Miley (who pitches tonight and has been terrible) and Yovani Gallardo (who pitches Friday and has also been bad). Everyone who has started a game for the Orioles this year not named Tillman, Gausman, and Bundy has an ERA of 4.50 or above in those starts. The O's have been dealing with these concerns all year. Just be glad that Bundy is filling in admirably, or else things would, amazingly, be much worse.