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Chicago Cubs: Who is the Cleveland Indians’ Josh Tomlin?

Oct 27, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Josh Tomlin (43) talks to the media during work out day before game three of the 2016 World Series at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 27, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Josh Tomlin (43) talks to the media during work out day before game three of the 2016 World Series at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Chicago Cubs are aware of Corey Kluber, but what about Josh Tomlin? What can the Cubs expect from him in Game 3 of the World Series?

The Chicago Cubs know that they’re going to see Corey Kluber again in Game 4. But before that, they’ll face off against Josh Tomlin. He the longest tenured player (by draft date) on the Indians.  And it’s been a tough road to remain that player. But he’s persevered and has become an important part of the Indians rotation this postseason. Especially one that’s been decimated by injury.

It’s been a tough road for Tomlin. He missed the end of the 2012 season and the entire 2013 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. He worked his way back to the Indians in 2014, posting a 6-9 record in 25 games with a 4.76 ERA. Just as he appeared ready to break out the next season, injury slowed him again.

He was forced to miss time due to an arthroscopic debridement of the AC joint in his right shoulder. When he finally returned to Cleveland, he was impressive. In 10 games, he posted a 7-2 record with a 3.02 ERA. He had a WHIP of 0.83 but still allowed 13 homers in just 65 2/3 innings. This year he’s been healthy, but the numbers show some interesting figures. His 13-9 record is admirable for a team that won the AL Central, but he’s had his issues.

No walks, lots of long balls

The good news? Tomlin doesn’t walk many hitters. If the Cubs expect to come in tonight and run up his pitch count–they may have to change that plan. Tomlin stays in and around the zone. He led the MLB with a 1.0345 BB/9, ahead of the Red Sox Rick Porcello (1.2915). It’s a great stat and one that mixes well with his weakness. Giving up the long ball.

This is one that could spell trouble for Tomlin as the wind is expected to be blowing out tonight at Wrigley Field. Going up against Kyle Hendricks who induces a lot of ground ball, this could be a concern for Terry Francona. In 174 innings, Tomlin has allowed 36 home runs, almost two per game (1.9). Eno Saris took a look at if there’s a correlation between the two stats on FanGraphs. It’s tough to find one. But there’s no denying there’s a large discrepancy between the two.

Next: The unsung hero of the Cubs' postseason

Tomlin has bounced back from some hard luck in his career, but entering Wrigley Field, which hasn’t seen a playoff game in half a century? This team is going to be looking to exploit his weakness, and that’s giving up home runs.

Tonight hopes to be a memorable night for the Cubs. And if the numbers hold true, it might be one to forget for the Indians’ Tomlin.

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