By Alex Hooper | 92.3 The Fan

CLEVELAND (92.3 the Fan) – Josh Tomlin is not over powering, Josh Tomlin does not have a complicated approach. Josh Tomlin, when he is locating, can be incredibly frustrating to hit.

Josh Tomlin was, and was not, all of those things on Thursday night, retiring the first 12 San Diego Padres he faced before allowing two runs on three consecutive hits. Tomlin then retired the next 9 hitters he faced.

The most amazing part of Tomlin’s outing is that after the first three pitches of each at-bat, the right-hander fell behind just one of the 25 hitters he faced.

That one hitter was Wil Myers in the 6th inning, here is his story.

chart When Josh Tomlin Gets Ahead, Indians Stay Ahead

See that fastball in the upper-left corner? The one in the strike zone? That was the third pitch on a 1-1 count. Thanks, Joe West.

Tomlin barraged the strike zone all night, which is a well-known aspect of the 32-year old’s approach, and really the only staple.

“For me being a guy who isn’t very powerful, so I have to control the count as much as I can,” he said. “Obviously, there’s certain situations where you don’t want to control the count, you want to pitch around guys. But for me, controlling the count and following (Yan Gomes’s) glove is huge. We were able to do that tonight, I was able to command the ball and fortunately enough I was able to go deep into the game and help us win the game.”

Of 96 pitches thrown by Tomlin, just 22 were for balls, many of them purpose pitches.

chart 1 When Josh Tomlin Gets Ahead, Indians Stay Ahead

The righty is largely dependent on his trio of fastballs, using it on 75 pitches, 37 of them cutters and 27 sinkers.

But what largely sets pitchers apart is the ability to use their tertiary pitches, in Tomlin’s case, the curveball. He threw 16 breaking balls, one for swinging strike, five called strikes and three balls in play.

As Trevor Bauer had alluded to with his own repertoire, Tomlin agreed that a change of pace pitch is imperative to his own success, especially in the case of an ineffective changeup.

An effective curveball also helps maximize the movement on his harder pitches.

“When I’m able to command the curveball, especially for two strikes or behind in the count, to be able to throw a curveball and then get a strike, I think it makes them have to expand on the cutter a little bit more,” he said. “Especially when you start on the plate, it ends up away. When you’re in bad counts and you can’t throw the breaking ball for a strike and they can kind of see the fastball and cutter spin quite often, you’re probably not getting many chases whenever you just miss off the plate.”

Tomlin called expanding the zone a “huge part” of his game, which is seen by his ability to carry an O-Swing% average about the league average for his entire career.

tomlin o swing When Josh Tomlin Gets Ahead, Indians Stay Ahead

“That’s the only thing I’m trying to do out there is obviously miss as many barrels as I can, that way hopefully I can go deep into the game and our defense can work,” he said.

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