No one told Josh Tomlin the Cleveland Indians’ rotation was supposed to be a weakness this postseason. Tomlin turned in an excellent start against the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series, giving his club the 2-1 win. With the victory, the Indians now lead the ALCS 2-0.
Tomlin not only kept the Blue Jays’ bats quiet, giving up just one run, but he also lasted 5 2/3 innings. Given how Terry Francona has managed his bullpen all October, that’s deep enough to secure a win for Cleveland.
Not surprisingly, Cleveland’s bullpen got the job done once again. Bryan Shaw picked up one out in the sixth, and then Francona turned to Andrew Miller.
Miller again was fantastic over two innings, picking up an incredible five strikeouts. Cody Allen came in for the ninth, and shut the door, securing the tight win for Cleveland.
• The Indians’ rotation has been a question all postseason, but Tomlin quieted those concerns with his performance. The 31-year-old righty turned in an excellent start, giving up just one run on three hits over 5 2/3 innings against a tough Blue Jays lineup. Tomlin, who isn’t really known as a ground ball pitcher, induced 10 groundouts to just one flyout against a Toronto team known for its power. That seems like a wise strategy.
• Once again, Francisco Lindor turned in an excellent game. His single in the bottom of the third drove in the go-ahead run for Cleveland. He also added single in the first, and made some impressive plays in the field. It’s tough to call this a breakout series for Lindor since he’s been fantastic ever since he reached the majors, but he’s clearly been a standout for Cleveland thus far.
• Andrew Miller continues to dominant in the postseason. Miller turned in two perfect innings Saturday, striking out five of the six batters he faced. He’s been untouchable all postseason, and is a major reason the Indians have a 2-0 lead in the series.
• Almost everyone on the Blue Jays’ offense deserves a spot here. The Blue Jays mustered just three hits during the contest. The middle of the order, however, struggled the most. Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Troy Tulowitzki combined to go 0-for-10.
• You can add Michael Saunders to that group as well. Saunders went 0-for-2, with two strikeouts. He was replaced by pinch-hitter Melvin Upton in the seventh inning. Upton struck out against in Miller in that at-bat.
Lindor’s go-ahead single in the third inning stands out. With the game tied, Rajai Davis reached third base with just one out, and it looked like the Indians were going to take a lead. After Jason Kipnis flew out weakly to shallow center, all the pressure was on Lindor to get the job done.
He came through. On the first pitch of the at-bat, Lindor drove a 91 mph fastball up the middle to plate Davis from third. That run proved to be all Cleveland needed to pick up the win.
Cleveland’s strategy all postseason has been about getting to the bullpen. As long as the team’s starters can go five solid innings with a lead, it seems like the game is out of reach. That was once again the case Saturday.
On the other side, Toronto is going to have to hope being back at home will awaken its bats. After dominating Texas Rangers’ starters in the American League Division Series, the Blue Jays’ offense has been surprisingly quiet in the ALCS. We’ll see if the Rogers Centre can help them regain some of their pop.
Andrew Miller has been pretty good during the series.
Andrew Miller has eight outs in the ALCS. They are: strikeout, strikeout, strikeout, strikeout, strikeout, strikeout, strikeout, strikeout.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 15, 2016
Miller’s ninth out during the ALCS was also a strikeout. Ezequiel Carerra finally ended the streak, grounding out to second base in the eighth inning.
Miller’s whiff-heavy ways have already set a postseason record.
— Ryan M. Spaeder (@theaceofspaeder) October 15, 2016
The Jays will look to mount a comeback in Game 3 of the ALCS. The contest will take place Monday, Oct. 17 at 8:00 p.m. ET at Rogers Centre. Trevor Bauer (12-8, 4.26 ERA) will take on Marcus Stroman (9-10, 4.37 ERA).
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