One Tomlin streak gets snapped

Josh Tomlin was finally roughed up a little bit, allowing four runs in the 2nd inning – more than he had allowed in any game this season. That inning alone snapped his quality start streak at nine.

Over the past 20 seasons only three former Cy Young winners have posted a streak as long as Tomlin’s while in a Tribe uniform. And in the baseball-reference era (since 1919) no Indian has ever started the season with a streak longer than nine games.

Tomlin did extend another streak however. In each of Tomlin’s 22 career starts he has pitched at least five innings – a streak which, since 1919, has been matched by only Daisuke Matsuzaka and Steve Rogers. Matsuzaka holds the MLB record at 28.

Peavy shuts out Tribe 1-0

Jake Peavy out-dueld Tribe ace Justin Masterson, handing the Tribe a 1-0 defeat as they fall to 1-3 against the White Sox this season.

Peavy became just the 5th pitcher in the past 20 years to toss a shutout in a 1-0 victory over the Tribe.

Here’s a quick look back at the very odd group to accomplish the feat (click on the date for the box score)…

May 8, 2009Justin Verlander, Tigers – Verlander and Cliff Lee were locked in dueling shutouts until the 8th when Clete Thomas drove in the game’s only run with an RBI single. Verlander would allow just two hits and two walks while striking out 11.

June 17, 2001Todd Ritchie, Pirates – The Pirates were a full 21 games under .500 when the Tribe visited PNC park. Rookie CC Sabathia had allowed just one hit over seven innings, but was pulled after reaching the 100-pitch mark. Steve Karsay relieved and gave up a walk-off double to Aramis Ramirez in the bottom of the 9th. Ritchie scattered four hits, while striking out five.

April 14, 2001Steve Sparks, Tigers – It’s hard to believe one of the most dominant offensive teams in franchise history was held scoreless by guys like Ritchie and Sparks. Chuck Finley tossed a complete game for the Tribe, but allowed a run to score on a Bobby Higginson sac fly in the 1st inning.

July 15, 1998 Pedro Martinez, Red Sox – This was more of what you expect from a 1-0 pitcher’s duel. Martinez struck out nine while allowing just four hits. Bartolo Colon countered with a complete game of his own, but lost due to a Midre Cummings homer in the 5th.

Tomlin comfortable in Cleveland

While glancing at Josh Tomlin‘s career game log I noticed that he has yet to allow more than three runs (earned or unearned) in any of his 10 starts in Jacobs Field. That seemed like an impressive streak, so I checked it out on baseball-reference.

As it turns out, that’s not only the longest streak to being a career, but also the longest streak ever at The Jake. In his last home start he broke the record previously shared by CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee.

Tomlin’s streak is also the longest by any Indian (at League Park, The Stadium or The Jake)┬áto begin their career in the baseball-reference era (since 1919). The previous record was seven, set by Mike Garcia in 1949.

The last Tribe pitcher with a longer streak at home – to being career or otherwise – was Gaylord Perry, who had an 11-game streak that spanned the 1973 and ’74 seasons.

Tomlin’s next home start will likely come on Saturday against the Reds.

How the new playoff system would have looked in years past

Bud Selig recently announced that a new playoff system could be in place in 2012 which would allow five playoff teams from each league. Each league would have three division winners who automatically advance to what we now call the Division Series, while the two wild card winners would face off in (presumably) a one-game playoff for the right to face the team that finished with the best record.

If this system had been put into place instead of the current system in 1994, it would have resulted in two additional trips to the playoffs for the Tribe.

In 2000 the Indians would have qualified as the second wild card team, facing the Mariners in the play-in game. The Indians could have started Jason Bere or brought back Bartolo Colon on short rest to face either Freddy Garcia or Aaron Sele.

Instead, the Mariners disposed of the White Sox in the ALDS before losing to the Yankees in six games in the LCS.

In 2005 the Indians also would have been the second wild card team, facing the Red Sox. The pitching matchup likely would have been Cliff Lee against Bronso Arroyo, unless the Tribe used CC Sabathia on short rest.

Instead, the Red Sox were swept by the White Sox in the LDS on their way to winning the World Series.

It will be interesting to see how this new system is perceived by the fans. Personally, I’m not crazy about it.

Take 2004 for example – the Red Sox won 98 games and finished with the second best record in the AL… but they trailed the Yankees. Is it really fair to force their season to come down to one game against the A’s, who won seven fewer games during the regular season?

One-game playoffs simply don’t work in baseball (unless absolutely necessary, such as in the event of a tie). In football or basketball you can make the case that the better team will win most of the time – that’s not the case in baseball.

In baseball, the team with the better pitcher wins most of the time, not necessary the more complete team.

Using 2004 as the example again, the Red Sox were clearly the better team, but in a one-game playoff Rich Harden (the likely scheduled starter for the A’s) certainly could have out-dueled Pedro Martinez or Curt Schilling.

In a one-game playoff between great pitchers, anything can happen. It might make for one night of great TV, but would it really be better for the game in the long run?

Tomlin joins Masterson at 3-0

Josh Tomlin picked up the win on Saturday, joining Justin Masterson at 3-0.

Masterson and Tomlin are the first pair of Indians starters with three wins the teams first 14 games since Rick Sutcliffe and Bert Blyleven in 1984. Pryor to ’84, you have to go back to Milt Wilcox and Gaylord Perry in 1972.

Making their hot start more impressive is the fact that they’re doing it at such a young age. Tomlin and Masterson, both 26, join CC Sabathia (2007) and Bartolo Colon (1999) as the only Tribe pitchers to win three games in the team’s first 14 games while under the age of 27. And since 1920, the only other pair to accomplish the feat was Sam McDowell and Luis Tiant in 1966.

Josh Tomlin is Indians ace?

Is Josh Tomlin the Indians new ace?

Well, seven different pitchers have made at least 10 starts for the Tribe this season. Six of them have a losing record. Only Tomlin, who improved to 5-4 with a win tonight, is at .500 or better.

This will be the first time since 2003 that the only one Indian with at least 10 starts has a winning record (CC Sabathia). Before 2003, you have to go back 1992 (Charles Nagy) and 1991 (Tom Candiotti). The Tribe hasn’t been without a winning starter since the infamous 1987 season.

Carmona is Tribe’s lone All-Star

For the second straight season the Indians will be sending just one representative to the All-Star Game. This year it’s Fausto Carmona, making his first appearance.

According to the Indians website (and considering they also list Jody Gerut as a Rookie of the Year winner, should be taken with a grain of salt), it’s the 21st time in franchise history they’ve had just one representative at the game.

A few other notes on Carmona’s selection…

  • It’s also the 6th time since 2002 that they’ve had only one selection, following a 10-year stretch during which they had multiple selections every year.
  • He joins CC Sabathia (2003) and Bert Blyleven (1985) as the only Indians starting pitchers to be their lone All-Star selections since 1980.
  • He joins Sabathia, Jake Westbrook (2004) and Chuck Finley (2000) as the only starts to make the All-Star team since 2000.

Again, these notes are very unofficial. The Indians don’t keep the best historical records. At some point I’ll use other sources to verify an official list of Tribe All-Star selections.