Josh Tomlin’s up and down season took a turn for the worse as he was tagged for six runs on seven hits in less than three innings of work today. Tomlin (2-5, 6.86 ERA) hit the showers early and the Indians couldn’t recover from an early 6-0 deficit in falling 7-4 to the Tampa Bay Rays in the rubber match of Wednesday’s afternoon game.
It was a promising and unusual beginning for Tomlin. After allowing a leadoff single to Corey Dickerson, Tomlin struck out the next five Rays in a row. Showing his full arsenal of sinkers, cutters, curve balls and fastballs, Tomlin was dazzling a line-up that was ripe for exploitation by the strikeout.
Things quickly went south.
After striking out the first two batters in the second inning, the Rays went single, single, double, and home run. Twelve pitches, four runs, and Tomlin’s mid-80’s slop was just catching too much of the plate to get out of harm’s way.
The home run by Dickerson in particular (his third in two games) was on an 85.8 mph four-seam fastball thrown nearly right down the middle. You can’t live over the plate with mid-80’s fastballs against any line-up.
The Indians had some chances in the middle innings. Bradley Zimmer’s first Major League hit was a double off the wall in left that scored Lonnie Chisenhall and he then scored on a Jason Kipnis single to cut the lead to 6-2.
The Tribe’s only other rally was cut short when Edwin Encarnacion took a called third strike on the corner on a full count with two aboard in the fifth inning.
Fortunately, the Indians have an off day tomorrow as they used nearly their entire bullpen yet again after another abbreviated outing by a starting pitcher. They pick up again this weekend in Houston against an Astros team that has the best record in baseball.
- Bradley Zimmer not only got his first MLB hit today (a ringing double in the third), but added his first home run in the ninth – a 397 ft poke off of an 89 mph Alex Colome cutter.
- Kipnis was robbed of a home run to end the game by Kevin Kiermaier, who is really in a world by himself defensively in center field. It was at least the second time this season Kipnis has been robbed of a home run. Houston center fielder Josh Reddick also pulled one back a few weeks ago.
- If both of those balls make it over the fence, Kipnis’ season slash line goes from .205/.239/.325 to .227/.258/.409 and his OPS jumps over 100 points. Oh well, maybe those will even out over the year.