CLEVELAND -- Starting pitcher Josh Tomlin has seen almost everything during his seven years with the Cleveland Indians, and the coaching staff is counting on that experience heading into Game 6 of the World Series at Progressive Field tonight.
With the Indians holding a 3-2 lead over the Chicago Cubs in the best-of-seven matchup, Tomlin has a chance to pitch Cleveland to its first World Series Championship since 1948 and second major sports title in four months after a 52-year drought.
“I haven't really thought about it on a personal level,” Tomlin said. “I think about it as an organizational level and a team level, and how honored and how hard we've worked to get to this point. It means a lot to not just to 25 guys that are in that locker room, but the organization as a whole.
“There's been a lot of guys that have been here a long time and never got to experience anything like this, so for us to be able to experience this as an organization is very special, and it's something that we are humbled to be able to do.”
Knowing the struggles that it took to get to this point where the next win clinches a championship, Tomlin is not about to waste his opportunity.
“We understand it's not just about getting here, it's about trying to win,” Tomlin said. “There's nobody in that clubhouse that's complacent. It's not like we have a 3-2 lead, it's just going to happen. That's not the mindset we take at all.
“We have a game to play, and we're going to try to go out there and try to win that game. If not, we'll come back the next day and try to win that day. It's a huge privilege and an honor to be here, so we'll take it one step at a time and try to win this thing.”
Tomlin last pitched in Game 3 of the World Series at Wrigley Field on Friday night, where over 4.2 innings of work against the Cubs, he allowed just two hits and one walk with one strikeout. Coupled with Tomlin’s start and a shutout effort from the bullpen, the Indians pulled out a 1-0 win.
Now, just three days later, Tomlin takes the mound on short rest for one of the biggest games of his career.
“I know the atmosphere of this game is not the same, but it's still the same game,” Tomlin said. “Between the lines, it's still 60 foot, 6 inches. It's still 90 feet to first base. It's still baseball. In the grand scheme of things, it's still the baseball game whenever the umpire says ‘Play ball!’ So that's how you have to treat it.
“I know it's a Game 6 and we have a chance of winning a World Series, but you still can't have that mindset of trying to go out there and win the game in the first inning. You have to go out there and take each pitch as it is and start living in that moment until Tito comes and gets the ball, and then, see what happens.”