The Indians suffered their worst home loss in eight years, and their pitching staff continues to be a source of concern following a 14-1 defeat to Boston on Sunday. The question marks surround the first two pitchers used by the Indians in the game, starter Corey Kluber and Josh Tomlin.
Kluber gave up six runs in 3 1/3 innings and Tomlin gave up seven runs in 1 1/3 innings. It was Kluber's third major-league start, and he is developing a troubling pattern. In his three starts thus far, Kluber has given up 10 runs in the first inning.
Manager Manny Acta said Kluber's first-inning woes are due to his habit of not throwing his best pitch, "a swing and miss" slider, enough. To remind Kluber of that fact, Acta visited the mound in the first inning Sunday after Kluber gave up two doubles and a home run to three of the first four batters.
Tomlin's situation is more ominous. After his disastrous outing Sunday, Acta revealed that Tomlin has been pitching with a sore elbow. Acta said Tomlin will not accompany the Indians on the West Coast trip that begins Monday in Anaheim, Calif.
Instead, Tomlin will remain in Cleveland to have his elbow evaluated by Indians doctors. Tomlin said his elbow feels the way it did last year, when he missed the last month of the season with what was termed "elbow inflammation."
Tomlin's condition last year was treated with rest and rehab. He began this season in the rotation but has never looked like the pitcher he was in 2011, when he was 12-7 and averaged 1.143 walks per nine innings, the best in the majors.
Command has been Tomlin's biggest problem this season, and his numbers reflect that. He is 5-8 with a 6.36 ERA, and he recently was moved to the bullpen. A bad elbow would seem to be the cause, but the next step will be getting a diagnosis from team doctors.