Cleveland Indians: Josh Tomlin Catches the Complete Game Bug
Tomlin tosses Tribe’s ninth CG, adds intrigue to pitching situation for the offseason
It’s really intimidating to be a member of the Cleveland Indians rotation these days. Every time you look, someone is dealing a no-hitter into the late innings or pitching a complete game. After recently joining the Indians staff, Josh Tomlin has done his best to acclimate into it fluidly. He’s now 4-1 with a 2.55 ERA since being brought up from Columbus. Unfortunately, this start was in place of Corey Kluber who was experiencing some tightness in his hamstring. It’s not severe but never news you want to hear as a Tribe fan.
Tomlin’s one run, four hit complete game was the Indians ninth of the season. It was also his first complete game since June 2014 when he pitched a gem against the Seattle Mariners. Tomlin was coming off of Tommy John in 2012, and fatigue eventually caught up to him. He underwent shoulder surgery this spring as well, but with games ticking off the schedule quickly, he may not have time to get tired.
The Indians continue to make the season interesting as they are playing solid baseball and are still in striking distance of the second Wild Card. Not likely, but it’s a moral victory to even be in this position. So what will this mean for next season?
The Indians contemplated–or at least listened to offers–on some of their young starting pitching. The young players the Tribe made the move to after the break have played well, but it’s hard to forecast what they’ll do next season. Will there be sophomore slumps? Maybe. But the Indians are considered by most to have one of the best rotations in baseball. Will they need to break some of the pieces off to improve the offense?
There is more talent in the pipeline for the Tribe, but much of it is a year or two away. As we’ve discussed often, there are solid pieces in place for the Tribe, but we can’t wait for the young talent to join them, and the team isn’t going to be a big offseason spender–especially with their recent busts in the free agent market.
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Moving one of the starters may be a necessary evil to build this team up on both sides of the ball. The strides the team has made in the second half make believing by dealing one of the starter’s for offense, it isn’t as bad an idea as it once seemed. Yes, pitching wins games. And the staff is solid. But with what they have, they’re still on the outside looking in–and hoping that it simply fixes itself isn’t a good plan.
If Tomlin can continue his success this season, he’ll add some intrigue to the offseason plans for the Indians rotation. They have six proven starters that have been healthy, or relatively healthy in Kluber, Tomlin, Danny Salazar, Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco, and Cody Anderson. That’s a light load to head into next spring with, but the offense needs some help and established starting pitching would get the most value in return. Complete games are good. Good for this season, and maybe good for the offseason.