CLEVELAND -- The last time starting pitcher Josh Tomlin took the mound for the Cleveland Indians in the 2016 World Series, he did so in Game 3 against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
And although Tomlin had to step in the batter’s box in the National League park, the Cubs were hampered by the fact that hard-hitting Kyle Schwarber was reduced to a pinch-hitting role after not being cleared to play outfield following his return from torn knee ligaments in just six months’ time.
However, with the World Series shifting back to Cleveland for its finish, Tomlin knows that the Cubs will have their best hitters in the lineup to try and extend the festivities to a Game 7.
“You're essentially taking out the worst hitter in the lineup and putting in one of the better hitters in the lineup, so it's definitely different,” Tomlin said. “We'll go with the game plan and try to execute pitches to him.
“I understand that whenever the pitcher's in there, you probably have a situation where they're going to bunt. You can probably pitch around the guy in the 8th hole to try to get to him, but that's a little bit different now, but I've pitched in the American League all year long, so that's essentially been what we've done all year long.”
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 arguably the biggest games of his career.
“For me, it's just about executing pitches, kind of understanding the game plan going into it, but making in-game adjustments as the game kind of rolls on,” Tomlin said. “I think the game kind of dictates what you do to certain guys in certain situations. It's about reading swings. If you pound a guy in a full at-bat and you start to see him kind of clear to get to that pitch, then you go away. To me you just play the game. The game will dictate kind of what you do.
“You will definitely have a game plan going into it of what we want to do. But if you start seeing guys make adjustments, then you have to make adjustments as well. So I think the game will dictate how we approach each hitter and each batter.”