The Cleveland Indians failed to obtain new starting pitching at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, but down the stretch the Tribe's rotation will look rather different. In less than seven days starters Derek Lowe and Josh Tomlin both lost their spots within Cleveland's starting five. Prolonged slumps by the two pitchers led to the rotation shakeup.
Cleveland designated Derek Lowe for assignment Wednesday, August 1 to open a spot on the 25-man roster for starter Corey Kluber. The youngster will actually assume Josh Tomlin's rotation slot. Meanwhile Tomlin moves to the bullpen. A decision still needs making to determine who takes over the rotation void Lowe leaves.
While the changes eventually proved inevitable, I find myself wowed. After all, a month-and-a-half into the 2012 season Derek Lowe ranked amongst baseball's pitching elite. Like I mentioned in my May 18 article "Starter Derek Lowe Shining for Cleveland Indians: A Fan's Look," Lowe's stats ranked him right up there with the Felix Hernandezes and Justin Verlanders. Yet Lowe went from 6-1 and a 2.05 ERA in his first eight starts to 2-9 with an 8.28 ERA in his last 13 games. How does one just lose all effectiveness like that?
Regarding Josh Tomlin, I admit to maintaining a bias. I enjoy rooting for underdogs and Tomlin exemplifies the underdog label. Cleveland sports writer Terry Pluto excellently captured the pitcher's road to the majors back in March 2011 with the piece "Cleveland Indians' Josh Tomlin: A Long Shot Comes In."
For convenience let me sum up Tomlin's baseball journey. He didn't possess the ideal size a right-handed pitcher should have or the ideal speed for a strong fastball. At each level Josh Tomlin needed to earn his place. As a 19 round pick in the 2006 draft front office expectations remained rather low. However when the 2011 season came to a close, Josh Tomlin stood proudly alongside Justin Masterson leading the Tribe in wins with 12 each.
Ultimately I can't help but feel disappointed the Indians removed Josh Tomlin from the rotation. Tomlin admitted to the media though, "I wasn't performing as a starter." Hopefully he will find success as a bullpen arm. Finally I also obviously hope Corey Kluber and whoever takes Derek Lowe's rotation spot triumph in their new roles.
Zachary Fenell fell in love with the Cleveland Indians during the 1995 season when the Tribe powered their way to the organization's first World Series appearance since 1954. While the Indians lost some allure since the 1990s you will still find Zachary watching the games on TV, listening to them on the radio, or best yet taking in a game from the stands at Progressive Field.
More from This Contributor:
- Sports & Recreation
- Cleveland Indians
- Derek Lowe
- Josh Tomlin