Tillman pumped to open O's postseason run

Right-hander honored but keeps focus on final regular-season start

Tillman pumped to open O's postseason run

NEW YORK -- Two years ago, Chris Tillman never got a chance to pitch for the Orioles in the postseason. Now, he'll open the American League Division Series on Oct. 2 at Camden Yards, an honor manager Buck Showalter officially announced on Tuesday.

"It means a lot," Tillman said on Wednesday morning of the postseason assignment. "I'm excited about it, looking forward to it. I've still got one more start to go [in the regular season], so I'm pretty focused on that, but at the same time, I know it means a lot to the team and means a lot to me. Hopefully, I'll get us going in the right direction."

The Orioles' Opening Day starter, Tillman has gone 13-5 with a 3.26 ERA in 33 starts this season. The O's have won 11 of Tillman's past 13 starts, with the righty posting a 6-0 record and 2.06 ERA over that stretch while averaging 6 1/3 innings per start and holding opponents to a .201 batting average.

"We've gotten better as a team and as a unit, so I think I like our chances going in to it," Tillman said of the O's, who punched their postseason ticket last week when they clinched the AL East. "As long as we pitch well and do what we've been doing all year, I think we can't second-guess ourselves."

The Orioles still don't know who their opponent will be (they would host Detroit if the postseason started today), and they're leaning toward going with 11 pitchers for their ALDS roster. Showalter said he will reveal the rest of the four-man rotation when the O's know who they will play.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.