Aug 5, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall (right) watches as manager Terry Francona (left) takes the ball from starting pitcher Josh Tomlin (43) during a pitching change in the fifth inning at Progressive Field.
CLEVELAND — You know how they have bullpen days during a couple games in Spring Training where the relievers end up getting the work?
The Indians might want to consider that option when it comes to their fifth starter since Josh Tomlin and Zach McAllister have done everything in their power to show they shouldn’t have it.
After being recalled from Columbus earlier in the day, Tomlin allowed six runs (five earned) in 4 1/3 innings as the Reds evened the Ohio Cup with a 9-2 win over the Indians at Progressive Field.
Since his one-hitter in Seattle, Tomlin has gone 0-3 in his past five starts with a 7.09 ERA. In 26 2/3 innings, he has allowed seven home runs.
With the game tied at one in the second, Cincinnati third baseman Ramon Santiago provided the big hit with a three-run shot to right. It is Santiago’s first homer of the season and his first in nearly a year (Aug. 13, 2013, against Kansas City).
Of the 17 homers that Tomlin has allowed this season, nine have been with runners on base. Santiago’s shot was the fourth three-run homer he has given up.
"I was trying to throw a two-seamer down and it stayed in the middle of the plate. That’s on me. That can never happen," Tomlin said. "I’m very aware of how much I’m struggling and now it’s time to figure something out and get a lot better."
The only good thing to say about Tomlin is that in his past five starts he has walked only two and struck out 24. Manager Terry Francona said he thought that Tomlin’s cutter and slider were effective but that his fastball has gotten him in trouble.
"He was trying to start him out low and away and it leaked back over the middle for the three-run homer. Those types of pitches plague Josh a little bit," Francona said. "Sometimes his margin for error with his fastball, he’s paid for it when he’s made mistakes."
On a night when the Tribe was going to have a tough time going up against Johnny Cueto, Santiago’s homer ended up more than enough for the Reds. Cueto pitched his fourth complete game of the season and improved to 5-0 against Cleveland, allowing a pair of runs on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
The Reds’ win marked their first in Cleveland since 2010. The next two games are at Great American Ball Park, where the Tribe has not won since 2011.
Coincidentally, Carlos Carrasco, who was replaced by Tomlin in the rotation in May, came on for Tomlin and went four innings in relief.
Tomlin will be the probable starter on Sunday when the Indians wrap up a three-game series against the Yankees, but due to three off days the next two weeks, they wouldn’t need a fifth starter again until Aug. 23 against Houston. McAllister, who was optioned to Columbus this past Sunday, has continued to struggle mightily, going 0-2 with a 5.95 ERA in his past four starts. The earliest he is likely to come up is late August.
For the next couple weeks, the Indians can go with a four-man rotation of Corey Kluber, Danny Salazar, T.J. House and Trevor Bauer. But starting Aug. 26 the Indians play 30 straight games and don’t have another off day until the last week of the season on Sept. 25.
"With the off days we have the ability to look at it and do what is in our best interest," Francona said. "We’d like to run Kluber out there as much as we can but we’ll communicate with him and see if he needs extra rest. We have some different scenarios in mind. Some things we need to think about in the next 10 days."