SP Josh Tomlin pitched extremely well for the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night, leading them to a 4-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins. This makes four consecutive impressive outings for Tribe starters, combining to give up only two earned runs over 28.2 innings. The bad news is that the Cleveland offense failed to take advantage of the great pitching, only producing nine runs during those four games and winning just two of them.
The good news is that things really can’t get worse for the offense. The Indians have scored three or fewer runs in over half of their games so far, and are at the bottom of the league in team BA (.232, 26th overall) and SLG (.357, 27th overall). The Tribe has had many extended droughts at the plate this year, and this must change quickly in order for them to take advantage of the great run of starting pitching.
It isn’t just the starting pitchers proving the production from the mound either. The usual guys (Cody Allen, John Axford) were unavailable for the game having pitched in three consecutive games each, and Marc Rzepczynski, Scott Atchison, and Brian Shaw all filled in very nicely, even with the numerous defensive mistakes made by the Tribe in the final innings.
This should give Terry Francona more confidence to use these guys more often in crucial situations, allowing the back-end of the bullpen more rest and be more effective.
The Tribe offense is still a major work in progress, but with the continued success of the pitching, the Indians should be able to hang in these close contests. Getting back Jason Kipnis and Michael Bourn should give some life to a listless Cleveland offense, but someone will need to get hot in the meantime.