The opening of the regular season is closing in for the Cleveland Indians, and one important decision remains, which is which pitcher will open the season as the teams fourth starter. Aaron Harang was informed on Sunday that he would not be the fourth starter, which leaves a three-way race between Josh Tomlin, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer.
Harang was very good in camp, putting up a 2.00 ERA in four Cactus League appearances, he gave up two walks and had six K’s in nine innings. The field is now narrow to the point of decision time for manager Terry Francona and general manager Chris Antonetti. The player who should get the nod is Tomlin, who is now totally back to 100 percent from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in 2012.
His fastball has been solid this spring, clocked at between 90 and 93 miles per hour. It won’t blow players away, but if he has his other pitches working, Tomlin can be deceiving with his stuff on the mound. Some will feel that the spot should go to Carrasco, who is out of options but can be a part of a bullpen that is in transition; he did well in that area last season once he worked on his stuff in the minors.
As for the third option in Bauer, he’s been better this spring than in 2013, but he has options left and the team still needs him to work things out before he should have a spot in the rotation. That leaves Tomlin, who is is 23-19 with a 4.92 ERA in his Indians career. He will give you five to six innings every start and keep you in games, which is exactly what the Indians need for their fourth starter in front of a pitcher who could have a huge season in the fifth role, Danny Salazar.
Give the spot to Tomlin. He’s been there and done that, and in a season where there’s plenty of expectations for the club, he’s a perfect fit in the fourth spot.