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Tomlin Wins Again


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CLEVELAND -- I knew it was a dumb question, but I asked it anyway, "Did you think about a no-hitter?"


"Me?" Josh Tomlin said, then laughed.


"They didn't have a hit for six innings," I said, with they being the New York Yankees.


"Nah," said Tomlin. "I was just trying to get through the game. I don't think about no-hitters."


"Come on," I said. "You must have thrown one before."


"Nope," said the Indians pitcher. "This is the closest I've ever come."


"What about college?" I asked.


He shook his head -- no.


"High school?" I asked. "Junior high?"


"Never," he said.


At that moment, Tomlin was handed a ball and the scorecard from the Tribe's 6-3 victory over the Yankees. He held New York to two runs in seven innings, raising his record to 10-4 as his ERA dropped to 3.78.


This was Tomlin's 29th major-league start and he's pitched at least five innings in all of them -- the most of any player to start a career since 1919. So he should keep the ball and prize the scorecard.


If any player symbolizes this Tribe team, it's Tomlin. They Indians aren't supposed to be AL Central Division contenders and Tomlin sure isn't supposed to be a 10-game winner before the All-Star break.


"He's a guy who doesn't have a rocket arm, who's not supposed to be tall enough," Tribe Manager Manny Acta said. "To go out there and battle like he did against this [Yankees] lineup, he should be proud."


Generously listed at 6-1, Tomlin's fastball is about 88 mph, well below the big-league average. He looks more like the guy who picks up the towels in the dressing room than the guy who picks up victories on the mound.


"I loved the atmosphere," he said regarding sold-out Progressive Field. "I want to pitch games like these."


He means big games against the AL's winningest team with the most feared lineup. He was promoted to the Tribe last season, he beat the Yankees here, 4-1, in his first big-league game.


And he even means coming back against this same Yankees team that spanked him for six runs and 12 hits in five innings in a 9-1 loss in New York three weeks ago.


"It means a lot to see him make adjustments and come back and beat these guys, as talented a lineup as you'll see," Acta said, who also didn't seem especially surprised by it.


Tomlin has a way of figuring things out, of beating the opposition and the odds.


He never forgets that he was the 581st pick in the 2006 draft. Only twice in his pro career did he break camp in his team's starting rotation -- that was in 2009 at Class AA Akron and this spring with the Tribe.


He had a 51-24 record in the minors, and he's now 16-8 in his big-league career. Not sure how he does it, but Tomlin keeps winning. He knows nothing is ever promised to him, nothing can be taken for granted at age 26.


" . . . he has four pitches, and throws them all for strikes," Acta said. "He doesn't walk guys. He battles. Every game, you know what you get from him."


Here's some big news: Tomlin walked a batter Monday.


It was his first walk in four starts, his first since June 12.


He walked two guys in June. And two in May. And has walked only 13 in 16 starts this season.


For a baseball purist, he's a delight. First pitch changeups and curves for strikes. Fastballs that slice the outside corners at the knees, cutters that slip directly into the hands of a left-handed batter crowding the plate.


Tomlin delivers "comfortable ofers." That means a batter thinks he had a good swing at a very tempting fastball, but grumbles as he head back to the dugout after hitting a lazy fly ball or a hapless pop up. By the end of the game, he's 0-for-4.


As Acta said, "Josh continues to amaze."


And the same can be said of these Indians in 2011.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Love this kid. Love his style, love his composure, love his control. He's been great this year and was a snub on the All-Star team.


I think we have a keeper in Tomlin......lets hope Dolan and the less than genius GM doesnt get cheap again

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