Dear Josh Tomlin,
You don’t know me, I’m just a guy who writes about baseball in his spare time – but I know you; I’ve spent hours upon hours pouring over your statistics, from the velocity on your “fastball” to negative correlation between your starts and Indians team success over the years. I’ve spent hours bemoaning how every time I recap a game it’s you on the mound, lobbing those aforementioned “fastballs” into the strike zone and having them sail over the fence. I’ve written at least one article that is still sitting in draft form on this website about how your presence in the Indians rotation means they will never ever have success, because most teams would never put you in their rotation. I’ve said it all, and I’ve meant it when I said it.
But I’m here today to make amends.
Josh Tomlin, Manny Acta‘s ‘Little Cowboy,’ I apologize to you.
You didn’t need to prove anything to anyone when you were called upon in the 2016 ALDS against Boston (in Fenway Park, no less), but you were stellar and were a big part of an Indians sweep. Then, in the ALCS, you were even better as you led the Indians to a crucial game 3 victory and a commanding lead in the series that the Tribe would not relinquish. You painted corners, you fooled hitters, and you just got it done when an entire city was counting on you to do so.
Part of being a Cleveland fan is rooting for the perennial underdog, the team that shouldn’t be there, the team that shouldn’t be able to win. That’s what made the Cavaliers championship this summer so sweet, and it’s what makes this particular World Series run so satisfying, as well. As Lebron James said on Ring Night, it’s Cleveland Against the World, and I now understand that you epitomize everything about that, because you (by all rights) shouldn’t be here either.
Your fastball doesn’t dazzle, and your curve doesn’t buckle any knees. You’ll never scare a hitter into calling time because of the high heater at his jawline, and you’ll never make anyone look as silly as Andrew Miller does 3-6 times per game.
But, despite the odds, you get it done. Sometimes you fail – don’t we all? – but you go out there every 5th day and you throw strikes and you trust your defense and you give this team and this city the best you have.
I’m not anyone – just a random hater on the internet. But I want to put it out there that you’ve won me over, regardless of what happens in Game 3 at Wrigley Field. From this day forward I’ll never say a bad thing about you, because even if you revert to the old, bad Josh Tomlin in this World Series, we might not be here if it wasn’t for you. I have officially jumped aboard your bandwagon, and I hope I get the chance to cheer you on in following seasons.
For the first time in 7 decades, the Chicago Cubs will host a World Series game, and it just so happens to involve your Cleveland Indians and everyone’s favorite Little Cow Wrangler. In game 3, Tomlin will square up against Kyle Hendricks, who only led all of baseball in ERA this season.
The crowd is going to be hyped. The odds are going to be stacked against us – again – but the Indians will take the field later tonight to try to once again take the lead in the 2016 World Series.