Where would we be without Derek Lowe? It’s not difficult to imagine the Tribe sitting 4 or 5 games out of first place right now without him given the way the rest of the starting rotation has looked. While Lowe is 7-3 with a 3.06 ERA, the rest of the rotation is 6-8 with an abysmal 5.01 ERA.
Tonight was Tomlin’s turn to stink it up, as he spotted the Twins four runs in the 1st inning, matching his total 1st-inning runs allowed for the entire 2011 season. And just when the Indians offense clawed back to tie the game, Tomlin gave it right back in the form of a solo shot by Trevor Plouffe [side note: it was the 40th career home run allowed by Tomlin, which led to this fun twitter exchange with Greg Swindell].
While Tomlin’s 1st-inning struggles (he now has a 10.29 1st-inning ERA) were frustrating, the fact that he blew the Indians comeback was even more disappointing. The Tribe offense pieced together four runs in four different innings – something which they haven’t done often this year – and Tomlin wasted the effort.
A few other notes…
- The Indians chased Twins starter P.J. Walter from the game in the 5th inning after he allowed eight hits and three walks and had surrendered the lead. This was just the 2nd time in their last 20 games that the Indians managed to lose despite the opposing starter allowing 10+ baserunners in fewer than five innings of work.
- In the 8th inning Casey Kotchman hit a weak grounder to 2nd and I, sarcastically, thought to myself “Kotchman must be leading the league in weak groundouts.” But as it turns out, I wasn’t entirely exaggerating. While he doesn’t lead the league in groundouts, he is just 1 for 39 on groundballs to the right side of the infield, good for a league-worst .026 batting average.
- Check out the location of the pitch Tomlin served up to Plouffe – an 89 mph fastball down the middle of the plate. With Tomlin’s lack of velocity, that’s a pitch that will be hit out of the park more often than not. In fact, in Tomlin’s career right-handed batters are 8-15 with five home runs against fastballs in the same location. I have difficulty understanding how a pitcher with as much control as Tomlin manages to serve up so many gopher balls.
- I didn’t realize this until looking up some stats tonight, but Jason Kipnis has an excellent chance to represent the Tribe in the All-Star Game. His 34 RBI lead all AL second basemen and his .807 OPS trails only Robinson Cano and Ian Kinsler. That’s some pretty good company.