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Josh Tomlin reminds us about the bad baseball

Good baseball is out there somewhere, but this certainly wasn’t it.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Cleveland Indians Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The mantra for Josh Tomlin on a good night usually goes something like, “Well at least they were all singles.” That doesn’t really apply when you give up four home runs like he did against the Chicago Cubs tonight.

I know you’re sick of hearing about the 2016 World Series. I know I sure am. But in a game that featured a torrential downpour, Tyler Naquin making a stupid mistake, Rajai Davis giving a brief moment of excitement, Kyle Schwarber going off, and Josh Tomlin melting down, it’s hard not to draw comparisons to that series. All it lacked was four prior games in which the Indians look like a great baseball team.

Let’s take a look at the exit velocity leaderboards for tonight, shall we?

Baseball Savant

Hey there, Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis (as of the seventh because that’s when I’m starting this recap and I’ll be damned if I’m going to revisit this game ever). What are you doing here?

Other than those two inexplicably hitting a couple balls hard — both for outs, of course — 12 of the 14 hardest hit balls of the evening came off Indians pitching (again, through seven innings. You’re not my parental guardian you can’t tell me what to do with my stats), 10 off Josh Tomlin alone. I’ve advocated in the past to remain on the fence for Josh Tomlin, though I admittedly tip into the “fire him into the sun” side once in a while, but tonight certainly wasn’t pretty.

To his credit, Tomlin hasn’t started since he pitched a five-inning shutout against the empty shell of the Detroit Tigers on April 10, and his last appearance was an inning of work in that endless game in Puerto Rico. All that combined, he hadn’t allowed a run since giving up eight to the Los Angeles Angels in his 2018 debut three weeks ago.

So maybe there’s some rust? I don’t know, I’m grasping at anything to say besides foaming at the mouth and calling for his head. Deep down I know he’s just a number five starter, and mostly a pretty good one at that, but games like tonight get harder to swallow every time they come around. Maybe he can be lights out in the second half again, he tends to do that. On the other hand, though, this isn’t previous years where the rotation was pretty set in stone, with Tomlin forming a weak, yet serviceable caboose to the Ace Train. Well, that train is a lot more crowded now with Mike Clevinger asserting himself and a crop of good-enough-for-a-fifth-starter pitchers swimming in Triple-A. The Indians can’t wait around forever for his second-half surge.

Oh, right the offense technically played tonight.

Nope nope nope nope. Not going anywhere near that. It happened, I managed to miss it while I was getting my kids to bed, and I refuse to go back and watch it. Just how. Why. What. Someone do something. Please. Tito be a manager, tell him how much he’s hurting his team. Someone be a good teammate and let him know they need his bat to actually do things besides get outs. This is beyond acceptable at this point; he’s actively hurting his team’s chances to win and not doing something about it is competitive negligence.

Maybe Jose Ramirez could remind what batting looks like. The Angry Hamster is one of the game’s best hitters right now, whether you go by arbitrary slicing up sample sizes, or just how he’s hitting the ball in general. I wrote about it at length here, and he’s gotten even better since, including a 3-for-3 night tonight with a double and a walk.

This was stupidly painful to watch and I never want to do it again.

Anyway, let’s doing it again tomorrow.