CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Josh Tomlin was not supposed to take the mound until Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night, but as plans will go, plans will go awry.
Tomlin will now start in Game 2 this afternoon at Progressive Field after Trevor Bauer suffered a laceration to his right pinkie finger while doing “routine maintenance” on a drone. The gash needed 10 stitches to be closed, and Bauer is instead scheduled to pitch Game 3 at Rogers Centre, so long as his wound is closed.
“It really doesn’t affect me at all,” Tomlin said. “It will be on my fifth day. I’ll be on normal rest. When I found out I was going, I stuck to the game plan that I was going to do Monday and go out there and compete and win a game.”
A change in the order of the rotation is not much of a concern for Tomlin, not after what he went through earlier in the season.
Barely over one month ago, Tomlin was out of the starting rotation after struggling his way through six August starts, but times have surely changed for the Tyler, Texas, native.
In six August starts, Tomlin posted an 0-5 record with an 11.48 earned run average. Despite striking out 21 hitters against just six walks allowed over 26.2 innings of work, Tomlin surrendered 46 hits, including a team-high 10 home runs, as well as 35 runs, 34 of which were earned, in those August outings.
Tomlin made it out of the fifth inning in just one of those six starts.
Entering September, Tomlin was 11-8 with a 4.89 ERA in his 25 starts. Over 147.1 innings of work prior to the change in the rotation, Tomlin allowed 166 hits, 80 earned runs and a team-high 35 home runs despite having a better than 5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
However, the veteran right-hander seemed to find his rhythm in the nick of time.
After being reinserted into the starting rotation following a rash of injuries, Tomlin won two of his four starts and had one no-decision over 25.2 innings of work against the Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Sox.
Tomlin allowed just five earned runs, one home run and no walks with 10 strikeouts over those four starts.
The starter in Game 3 of the American League Division Series at Fenway Park last Monday, Tomlin allowed just two earned runs and four hits with one walk and four strikeouts over five-plus innings of work in the close-out win over Boston.
“The more you get to experience something, the more kind of relaxed and calm you are in that environment the next time you kind of get into that environment,” Tomlin said. “To go into an environment like that, and for us to win a game was pretty big.
“Now that I know kind of how the adrenaline feels, the nerves feel, hopefully, you can harness that again whenever it’s my time to pitch, and hopefully, go out there and try to be successful.”