CHICAGO -- For four innings Sunday afternoon, Josh Tomlin was as sharp as he has been all season. That changed for the Indians starter before the fifth, when he walked off the field with head athletic trainer James Quinlan at his side.Following four no-hit innings against the White Sox, Tomlin
CHICAGO -- For four innings Sunday afternoon, Josh Tomlin was as sharp as he has been all season. That changed for the Indians starter before the fifth, when he walked off the field with head athletic trainer James Quinlan at his side.
Following four no-hit innings against the White Sox, Tomlin exited with tightness in his left hamstring, creating a chain reaction that culminated in a 3-1 walk-off loss for Cleveland. With a nine-game winning streak on the line and a no-hitter in play, Tomlin did not want to leave the mound, even if he understood why the decision was made.
"He'll fight you tooth and nail to stay in a game," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "It's part of why we like him so much, but we also can't let him hurt himself."
Tomlin expects to know more on the severity of the injury Monday, when the Indians open a three-game series in Boston. Helping matters is the fact that Cleveland is currently using a six-man rotation and the team has off-days looming on Aug. 7 and Aug. 14. That buys the Indians time to gather information on Tomlin and make a decision about the makeup of the pitching staff.
If Tomlin were to land on the disabled list, Cleveland's rotation would not be impacted, given that the team has five starters (Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, Danny Salazar and Mike Clevinger) on the roster. The Indians would have some flexibility then to add an extra arm -- either from the Minors or possibly prior to Monday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Tomlin is 7-9 with a 5.38 ERA and 86 strikeouts against 12 walks in 110 1/3 innings (20 starts). He hopes to not miss his turn in the rotation.
"I'm not exactly sure what's going to happen," Tomlin said. "I've got to see how it feels when I come in tomorrow, and then you kind of go from there. You never want to miss time."
The injury occurred in the fourth inning when Leury Garcia sent a comebacker up the middle. Tomlin came off the mound awkwardly, quickly shuffled his feet and then reached down to his right to glove the ball. After recording the out, Tomlin flashed a thumbs-up to catcher Roberto Perez and finished the inning. Before the fifth inning, Tomlin was met on the hill by Francona and Quinlan after a warmup pitch raised some red flags.
"It just didn't look good," Francona said.
After a brief discussion, Tomlin exited the game with five strikeouts, no walks and no hits allowed but one hit batsman. Reliever Nicholas Goody was pressed into duty and struck out five batters in a row before flinching. Adding insult to injury, it was Garcia again who did the damage. This time, the White Sox outfielder drilled a 1-2 pitch over the right-field fence for a game-tying home run.
With Andrew Miller unavailable, Francona tried to extend Goody (1 2/3 innings), Dan Otero (1 1/3 innings) and Bryan Shaw (1 1/3 innings) for as long as possible. That lack of run support created little wiggle room and the circumstances caught up with the Tribe in the ninth, when Matt Davidson drilled a walk-off home run off Shaw.
"I wanted to keep going," Tomlin said. "I understand we're short-handed in the bullpen, so you never want to put them in a bind. But, you also don't want to go out there and cost your team a game by trying to compensate either. It's kind of a tough situation you're put in."
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.