Chris Tillman tied a career high with nine strikeouts on Wednesday, and calmed some growing fan anxiety, to give the O’s a 3-1 victory versus the Tampa Bay Rays. Prior to Wednesday, his most recent nine-strikeout effort came on Aug. 19, 2014 versus the Chicago White Sox.
Here’s some context on Tillman’s effort gathered from the Baseball Reference Play Index:
*Given one more strikeout Tillman would have not only established a new career high for himself, but it also would have cut the list of O’s pitchers to have matched his effort nearly in half. There have been 178 outings in which a Baltimore pitcher has posted 10 or more strikeouts.
*Tillman now has six career games with nine strikeouts, all of which have been versus different opponents (the San Francisco Giants, Oakland A’s, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago White Sox, and Tampa Bay Rays). Four of those six games came in 2013.
*The last season in which the Orioles did not have a pitcher record at least nine strikeouts in a game was 2008. Tillman’s was the second nine-strikeout game of the 2015 season for the O’s. Ubaldo Jimenez had the first such effort on April 7 versus Minnesota.
*Erik Bedard had 10 games with nine or more strikeouts in 2007. That’s the most in any season by an O’s pitcher. Next on the list is Mike Mussina, who had nine games with nine or more strikeouts in 1997 and 1998.
*Bedard and Mussina share the Orioles record for most strikeouts in a game with 15. Bedard had 15 strikeouts in 2007 while Mussina did it twice in 2000.
*How many times did Mussina record nine or more strikeouts as an Orioles starter? Try 39. That’s the most by any O’s pitcher. Here’s the leaderboard:
*The first pitcher to have nine or more strikeouts in a game for the Orioles was Bob Turley, who did it four times in 1954. Turley had games of 10, 11, 12, and 14 strikeouts.
*Jake Arrieta (sorry) had four games with nine or more strikeouts during his time in Baltimore.