The Cleveland Indians fell to the Minnesota Twins 4-1 Saturday.
Minnesota starter, Tyler Duffey (1-1, 6.75 ERA) bounced back from his first career MLB start against the Toronto Blue Jays, where he allowed 6 earned runs over just two innings. Duffey went six innings while striking out seven Indians batters and allowing just one hit, a double to Cleveland rookie Francisco Lindor, and five walks.
The young starter out of Rice college was not the biggest story though. Josh Tomlin, who started for the Indians, made his first start of the season. Tomlin underwent shoulder surgery on his throwing arm in April after having inflammation in his AC joint during spring training this season. He is best known for pitching at least 5 innings in each of his first 32 career starts, putting him above Daisuke Matsuzaka for the longest such streak to begin a major league career in the modern pitching era. During that stint Tomlin threw 199.2 innings and compiled a 17-8 record.
In his first start of the 2015 season, Tomlin looked to be in mid-season form. He lasted 6.1 innings and struck out five batters. He was pulled after throwing 84 pitches, 60 of which were thrown for a strikes. According to efastball.com, the average major league pitcher throws about 62% of their pitches for a strike, Tomlin hit the zone 71.4% of the time Saturday.
Tomlin only allowed five hits but two of those came off of back-to-back home runs to lead off the fifth inning from Eddie Rosario and Chris Herrmann. Rosario hit a fastball that was at chin height and pulled it over the right field fence, but Herrmann took advantage of a breaking ball left up high in the strike zone right down the middle.
“I wasn’t going to change my mentality after those two home runs. I didn’t execute one pitch and I executed one pitch, and both were the same result,” Tomlin said.
For the majority of the night, Tomlin was able to keep the ball down. He had a 9:4 ground out to flyout ratio.
In the first two innings, he threw 24 pitches, 16 of which were for strikes and he struck out three batters while only allowing one hit. His fastball was consistently sitting in the low 90’s and his curveball was showing a lot of bite.
He threw 32 pitches through the next two innings and in the fourth worked around a lead-off two-base error from Lindor. The inning was capped off by an excellent bare-handed play from the rookie third baseman Giovanny Urshela.
After allowing the back-to-back home runs in the fifth inning, Tomlin was able to bounce back and retire the last four batters he faced in order.
Should Tomlin remain in the rotation, his next start would be Thursday in New York against the Yankees.
Minnesota just activated Milone off of the 15-day DL after the minimum 15 days. He has allowed 13 earned runs in his last 14.2 innings pitched.