Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Josh Tomlin has two wins in the 2016 postseason after falling out of the starting rotation earlier this season.
Josh Tomlin had his ALCS start moved from Game 3 to Game 2 after Trevor Bauer cut his finger repairing his drone, but any questions about if this would affect his performance were shut down early on in Saturday’s game.
The Cleveland Indians won the game 2-1 thanks to a great game by Tomlin, whose outing may have been overshadowed by the play of the dominant Andrew Miller.
But the play of Tomlin is actually the most impressive aspect of this postseason run, given how he had fallen out of the rotation in the final month of the season. The only one who thought Tomlin would be doing so well in the playoffs, or starting any games at all, may have been Tomlin himself.
In his two postseason starts, Tomlin has logged 10 2/3 innings, striking out 10 batters and only allowing three runs. And most importantly, the team has won both games.
He has also been efficient, only throwing a total of 153 pitches in the two games. An article on FanGraphs explains how Tomlin has been focusing on the curveball, keeping it low and using it as his go-to pitch in the postseason.
This has been evident in his first two starts. When falling behind in counts, Tomlin often goes to the curveball, dropping it in for a strike. This is a much better strategy than throwing a cutter up in the zone, which led to him allowing so many home runs throughout the regular season.
Tomlin’s play has contributed to the dominance displayed by the entire pitching staff in the first five games of the postseason. While Andrew Miller has taken a lot of the attention, Tomlin, Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer have done their jobs and set up Miller and the bullpen. Poor starting pitching would neutralize any affect the bullpen may have on the game. Going at least five innings is the key for this, and only Bauer failed to make it that far, logging 4 2/3 innings in the ALDS opener.
Tomlin’s personal resurgence has not only helped the Indians in his two starts, but it has given the team a fighting chance at winning the World Series after some believed the season was over once Carlos Carrasco fell victim to an injury. The team now has a reliable second starter to go after Kluber, and put the team in a great position to win.