The Cleveland Indians haven’t clinched anything yet. Tribe fans would do well to keep that in mind as their team goes for a sweep in Boston on Monday.
So while visions of home field advantage against Toronto in the ALCS cloud our minds, there is still one left to win in this series.
Cleveland’s offense has dominated the first 2 games of this series scoring 11 runs and getting input from nearly every player including much maligned starting catcher Roberto Perez.
Suffering through injuries and early season struggles, Perez shocked the world in game by going deep and nabbing another run scored by sheer effort.
This is a continuation of their regular season success as they were top 3 in baseball in OBP, OBS and runs scored during the regular season at home.
At its best, this Indians line gets output from all 9 spots without needing any help in the way of home runs. Through 2 games in this series, this team has made consistent contact and connected for 4 home runs.
One potential worry however is they were bottom 3 in all 3 categories away from Progressive Field.
Fortunately for the Indians, they face off against veteran Clay Bucholz. The 3rd longest tenured member of this Red Sox club was twice sent to the bullpen for mechanical & performance issues during the season. Bucholz did have a strong September posting a sub-3 ERA and a respectable 1.15 WHIP in five starts.
As for the Indians starter, Manny Acta’s “Little Cowboy” had a season to match Bucholz. He cruised along the first 4 months of the season, getting out to an 11-3 record through July. It was in August that everything fell apart as he posted an ERA over 11 with a WHIP of 1.95 through five starts.
Tomlin’s struggles with the long ball cost him his spot in the rotation with injuries allowing him his way back. In his final 4 starts of the season, Tomlin surrendered only 1 home run and 5 earned in 25 1/3 innings of work. All of his struggles must be placed in proper context.
Like most control pitchers, Tomlin needs to throw strikes early. While his home run stats show he is susceptible at all times to the long ball, his opponents’ batting average steadily raises for deeper counts making him susceptible to big innings.
|Through 3 – 0||2||2||1||0||0.4||0.667||0.5||0.501|
|Through 3 – 1||5.2||0||0||0||0.318||0.516||0.364||0.411|
|Through 3 – 2||15||10||9||5||0.281||0.369||0.625||0.41|
|Through 2 – 0||14.2||9||9||2||0.323||0.436||0.5||0.397|
|Through 1 – 0||53.2||38||35||11||0.272||0.315||0.493||0.339|
|Through 2 – 1||30.2||16||16||7||0.256||0.313||0.462||0.33|
|Through 1 – 1||61.2||26||25||11||0.259||0.28||0.451||0.309|
|Through 0 – 1||100||39||33||16||0.253||0.271||0.436||0.3|
|Through 2 – 2||36.1||21||19||8||0.225||0.247||0.461||0.296|
|Through 1 – 2||50||22||19||7||0.219||0.227||0.378||0.256|
|Through 0 – 2||46.2||17||14||5||0.198||0.202||0.337||0.229|
*Stats courtesy of FanGraphs
Location early in the count will be the key to his performance tonight.
Should that location not show up at Fenway tonight look for Indians manager Terry Francona to have a quick trigger on Tomlin and resort to a bullpen game similar to Game One.
If the Indians could do something similar, their fans will finally be able to turn their attention to Toronto.