A decision lays ahead for Cleveland Indians manager Manny Acta and pitching coach Scott Radinsky as starter Roberto Hernandez finally received his visa Thursday, July 19 and returned to the United States Saturday, July 21. The Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes broke the news July 21. Hernandez will face a MLB sanctioned three-week suspension before he can don an Indians uniform. However upon his return one must ask, where will Roberto Hernandez fit into Cleveland's starting rotation?
Youngster Jeanmar Gomez won the rotation vacancy created by Hernandez's legal problems out of spring training. Unfortunately Gomez couldn't keep his success going and eventually Zach McAllister, another youngster, overtook the rotation spot. Now given the way McAllister's perform I highly doubt he will receive a demotion. Following the game July 21 Zach McAllister maintains a solid 4-2 record and 3.21 ERA.
Instead I imagine starter Josh Tomlin will play for his spot while Hernandez serves his three-week suspension. After putting together a decent 2011 season, garnering a 12-7 record and 4.25 ERA, Tomlin has struggled to counteract the adjustments hitters made on him so far in 2012. Entering his next start Sunday, July 22 Josh Tomlin holds a 5-6 record and 5.51 ERA.
His numbers might not display so but Josh Tomlin has shown glimpses of brilliance this season. His problem comes with consistency. Sadly, the same can also be said about starters Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Derek Lowe. Yet these three possess more powerful stuff as well as more experience, leaving them a lot less likely to lose their spots in the rotation.
Still, I could picture a scenario where Derek Lowe loses his slot within the starting rotation to Roberto Hernandez. For this to occur Josh Tomlin needs to pitch consistently well while Derek Lowe continues bombing. Following an incredible start to the season, Lowe experienced the bottom falling out. Between May 26 and July 20, a 10-start period, Derek Lowe has gone 2-6 with an 8.31 ERA. Considering his veteran status though, I believe he can snap out and return to offering Cleveland a solid middle-of-the-rotation pitcher.
In conclusion Roberto Hernandez's three-week suspension will prove a crucial time for the Cleveland Indians' starting rotation. Specifically I see Josh Tomlin the most important one to watch. Ultimately Tomlin must show his worth to the 2012 Tribe.
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.
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