For those of you not in the know, aka, the other 6 billion and something people on the planet who aren’t me – that’s ‘Probable Pitchers Preview’. And it seems like the Indians are slowly moving away from the old Chief Wahoo images, which, honestly, I just don’t want to have to look at that thing anymore. The less I see it the better.
L’anyhoodle, since we only see the Indians once a year, I thought it was extra worth it to take a little look at who the Reds will be facing this weekend, pitching-wise. (Offense-wise: SHIN SHOO OPPPPPPAAAAAAAAA!!! …who is doing ok, I guess, but has apparently forgotten how power works.) Currently, though the Indians are are only half a game back in the AL Central, their pitching has struggled – at 4.69 R/G they’re at an impressive 25th best in the MLB.
Tuesday: Jeanmar Gomez
Gomez is a reasonably promising young pitcher. Just 24, he started about 20 games for the Indians in 2010 and 2011, before joining the MLB rotation full-time this year. Gomez relies on a 90 mph sinker, which runs in on right handed hitters. He compliments the sinker with a changeup that moves a lot like the sinker, just about 7 mph slower, and a slider that tends to go all over. Sliders can be hard to pin down, but Gomez’s is kind of all over the place when it comes to movement. He also moves arm angles, though not on the level, of course, Arroyo.
He hasn’t been the most successful in 2012, with a near 5.00 ERA, and that’s with his BABIP at a kind of low .265, which is the lowest among Indians starters. When Gomez has the sinker working, he can be pretty okay, but he’s coming off three consecutive bad starts – he’s allowed 17 ER in 15 2/3 innings. He also doesn’t strike out very many, so this seems like as good an opportunity of any of these games.
Wednesday: Derek Lowe
Lowe’s not exactly a stranger in these parts, after pitching the last 7 years in the NL. Lowe’s currently the most successful starter for the Indians, with a 3.72 ERA. He still relies principally on his sinker, but unlike Gomez, he’s been doing an amazing job of inducing groundballs – at 64.2%, Lowe has the highest groundball rate in the majors. It means he has a somewhat high BABIP, but also a low HR rate.
I kind of feel like Lowe is the kind of pitcher we’ll have the most trouble with – which may or may not be aided by copious amounts of small-ball. We’ll score 2 or 3 runs – it remains to see whether Mike Leake will hold the Indians to less than that.
Thursday: Josh Tomlin
I feel like Josh Tomlin still has some promise. He’s a little old for ‘promise’, now that he’s 27, but his peripherals are actually pretty good – especially that BB/9 under 2. Now in 2012, he’s still got good peripherals, but hasn’t totally delivered. Part of that is probably his high .306 BABIP, and another part is probably his HR tendencies, which have never been great. He also spent a couple weeks on the DL in May.
Tomlin’s got a fun pitch repertoire – he throws his four-seamer in the low 90s, with a sinker (for lefties) and a cut-fastball (for righties), as well as changeup (for lefties), and a curve-ball.
He also has some crazy arm angle things, going on – but there may be away to read his pitches – his curveball, for example, it looks like he throws from the top – much higher than most of his other pitches. With a lot of exposure, the Reds may be able to use that, but on short acquaintance, it might work really well.