Tomlin ready to step up for Game 2 start

Even-keeled righty fresh off ALDS win in postseason debut

October 14th, 2016

CLEVELAND -- keeps it simple. He doesn't know much about drones, let alone the intricacies of building them -- or the hazards involved with such a hobby, as Indians teammate brought to light in an unfortunate accident Thursday night that required multiple stitches on his right pinkie finger.

Bauer was subsequently forced out of his scheduled Game 2 start against the Blue Jays in the American League Championship Series at Progressive Field before Friday's 2-0 win in Game 1, his turn pushed to Monday in Game 3 in Toronto. Tomlin now gets the ball Saturday with a 1-0 series lead in opposition of Blue Jays left-hander (4 p.m. ET on TBS, as well as Sportsnet and RDS in Canada).

The veteran right-hander was surprised by the news, but not shaken.

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"I didn't know what was going on," Tomlin said. "When I got here today I kind of found out. It's part of it. It's part of people being people and just living their normal, everyday lives, and accidents happen sometimes."

In contrast to the unique Bauer, who tends to march to the beat of his own drum, Tomlin is very much even-keeled, an approach that should serve him well when taking the ball sooner than planned.

"JT is probably the easiest guy in the world," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He handles everything. He's about as mentally -- God, I hate to say it, because I know he'll hear it -- he's about as tough mentally as you're going to find. He was excited."

Tomlin, 31, will be making his second career postseason outing. His first, still fresh in his mind, came Monday in a rousing experience at Fenway Park, where he earned the win with five strong innings against the Red Sox.

The two-run outing by the right-hander, who finished the regular season with a 4.40 ERA, offered much optimism to an Indians club that's without injured rotation mainstays and . It also fortified Tomlin's own confidence in such a raucous setting.

"I think the more you get to experience something, the more kind of relaxed and calm you are in that environment the next time," Tomlin said. "So to go into an environment like that and for us to win a game was pretty big. And now that I know kind of how the adrenaline feels, the nerves feel, hopefully you can harness that again."

Tomlin's performance against the Blue Jays during the regular season brought about a mixed bag. On July 1 in Toronto, he limited them to just one run while scattering seven hits and eight strikeouts across six innings. But on Aug. 20 at Progressive Field, Tomlin yielded nine hits -- three of them home runs -- that led to six runs in 4 1/3 innings.

The long ball routinely hurt Tomlin this season. He surrendered 36 home runs in 174 innings for a rate of 1.86 per inning, trailing only and for the highest mark in the Majors. But there's this: Tomlin issued just 20 walks in that span -- and one to the Red Sox on Monday, his first since Aug. 25 -- to finish with the lowest walk rate in baseball. The Blue Jays racked up the most walks in the AL (632), presenting an intriguing element to Saturday's matchup.

Tomlin will look to survive with his command, while Saturday's Bauer-less Indians look to survive yet another hitch in a season full of them.

"It's just that mindset of this isn't the first obstacle we've had to overcome," Tomlin said. "So face it head-on. And we've talked about it since Day One of Spring Training. We're never going to back down from a challenge. This is another challenge for us to accept and move forward. The next guy that comes up has to step up and do their part, and hopefully it's just a little bump in the road and we can continue to be successful."