Tribe improves to 39-41
Somewhere the Ghost of Bob Feller is smiling, acknowledging how difficult it is to throw a no-hitter. The king of the 1-hitter clearly understands. Josh Tomlin's performance tonight was the best I think I've ever seen live, from start to finish. He was only a Kyle Seager single away from a perfect game. Seager is a well noted thorn in the Tribe's side and tonight was no different. Complaints can be lodged thusly.
Now, for a mea culpa. Clearly the Indians and Josh Tomlin have been unnerved by my recent absence. I will do my best to make sure it never happens again.
To echo the sentiments of a few - what the heck happened?
The last time I recapped a Josh Tomlin game, I went on about how very Josh Tomliny he can be. Tonight the Tomlin we know and
love defend and generally put up with was nowhere to be found. In his place? A dominating starting pitcher. Tomlin threw a 1-hit complete game shutout without allowing a walk. That hasn't happened for the Indians since Billy Traber(!) did so while striking out five on July 8, 2003 against the New York Yankees. Josh more than bested that performance by doing all of that and striking out 11 batters, facing only one over the minimum. All those feats combined make for a game that hasn't happened to an Indians starting pitcher in over 100 years. Josh Tomlin, centennial man.
By my calculations, tonight's gem was a Game Score of 96, which would be the best in all of the AL this year and only behind Kershaw's 102 no-hitter in all of baseball. Josh Tomlin. It still hasn't sunk in. Oh, it was also his first career complete game shutout. Go figure.
It was clear from the get-go that Josh Tomlin had the stuff to put a great performance together. His fastball was sitting around 90-91 and his curveball was a knee-buckler. The Mariners, seeming to understand the impending doom, tried to bunt their way on two different times in the first four innings. While I view that as a little bush league, it was still fairly early and it didn't work anyway. Tomlin, after all, fields his position with the best of them.
Kyle Seager, who flew out to Ryan Rabun in the 2nd on a nice leaping effort by the right fielder, finally broke the perfect spell when he led off the 5th with a single that dropped in front of Michael Brantley. The general worry when something like that happens is that the pitcher will lose the rhythm and the opposing team will take advantage. It never happened. Tomlin sat down the rest of the Mariners in order to close the game, including striking out the side in the 8th. They never stood a chance.
Not that it was needed, but the offense did their part by scoring 5 runs through 6 before putting on the cruise control. A Brantley single sandwiched between Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana doubles netted two runs in the first inning. Michael Bourn doubled in the 5th and Cabrera drove him in on a sacrifice to bring the run total to four.
Aside from the Tomlin Magnifique, one of the more interesting moments came in the top of the 6th. With a 3-1 count, Yan Gomes hit a foul pop towards the Mariners dugout. Mariners catcher Mike Zunino tracked the ball, but his own manager seemed to fail to get out of the way and Zunino dropped the ball. Gomes immediately deposited the next pitch over the left field wall to cap the scoring at 5-0 Tribe.
But the night belonged to Josh Tomlin. Hats off to you, Cowboy. It was a helluva game.
I will leave you with Tomlin closing it out. Enjoy, because I know I did.
Win expectancy chart
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