Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 6/15/13
So much for those pitching woes. The Orioles, a team whose 2012 success was due in large part to their bullpen’s dominance, have received inconsistent pitching for much of this season. You wouldn’t know it by watching Baltimore’s back-to-back wins over Boston, though. Chris Tillman turned in an excellent outing on Friday. He twirled six shutout innings en route to earning his seventh win of the season, and he seemed to get better as the game went on. The right-hander showed a lot of confidence in his offspeed stuff, particularly his curveball, and when all was said and done, Tillman and three others combined to shut out the Red Sox 2-0. Tillman has had some shaky games this season, but he’s been Baltimore’s most effective starter. That isn’t saying too much considering the Orioles’ pitching staff ranks near the middle or bottom of the league in a number of statistical categories, including ERA (29th). However, Friday’s performance highlights a solid stretch for Tillman, as he’s gone at least six innings and allowed two runs or fewer in his last three starts. Pitching will still be the biggest question mark surrounding the Orioles going forward. Baltimore’s offense packs a powerful punch, but there will continue to be questions about whether the O’s have the horses necessary to be World Series contenders. Their rotation isn’t exactly daunting, and the bullpen, which was sensational last season, has been a shell of its former self. Despite the lackluster overall production from those toeing the rubber, though, it’s hard to overlook the efforts turned in against the Red Sox. Tillman’s six shutout innings will grab headlines, but Baltimore’s bullpen was excellent. Only one baserunner reached against the trio of Darren O’Day, Tommy Hunter and Jim Johnson. That came in the ninth inning when Daniel Nava was hit by a pitch, and he was quickly wiped off the bases on a game-ending double play induced by Johnson. The impressive pitching display on Friday was actually the second of the series for Baltimore. Reliever Brian Matusz surrendered two runs to the Red Sox in the seventh inning on Thursday. After that, five relievers combined to toss 6 1/3 perfect innings before Chris Davis’ bloop single in the 13th inning sent Orioles fans home happy. The Orioles’ bullpen certainly isn’t back to where it was last season, when Baltimore had the fifth-best bullpen ERA and went 29-9 in one-run games. Pedro Strop has had a disastrous season and Johnson hasn’t been the lights-out closer he was in 2012. But the O’s have pitched their way to two wins in a row over the AL East-leading, offensively-gifted Red Sox, trimming their divisional deficit to 1 1/2 games in the process. Oh yeah, and the Orioles have taken four of five from the Red Sox so far this season. That has to count for something, right? Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here.

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: Dwight Howard ejected for hanging on rim

NHL rumors: Capitals acquire Blues’ Kevin Shattenkirk in bold trade

Report: Chiefs making ‘strong push’ to make Eric Berry highest-paid safety in NFL

Dana White hints at Conor McGregor's next opponent

Report: Steelers make Brown NFL's highest-paid WR

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Chiefs sign Duvernay-Tardif to five-year extension

MLB considering introducing 'stickier' baseballs

Report: Browns have discussed trading No. 12 pick for Garoppolo

Report: Lowry expected to miss 4-5 weeks, return for playoffs

Report: Cowboys to release Romo in coming weeks

Report: Jennings expected to sign with Hornets

It's time for Satchel Paige Day in Major League Baseball

The best sports movies available to stream right now

Biggest surprises and disappointments of the NBA season

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

It's time for Satchel Paige Day in MLB

The best sports movies available to stream right now

Biggest surprises and disappointments of the NBA season

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win 20 or more games in a season since 2000

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker