Posted on May 25, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
Chris Sale’s bid to go to 10-0 on the season was emphatically denied by the Cleveland Indians Tuesday night. Not only did Cleveland’s bats send Sale to an early shower in his worst start of the season, but he was out-pitched by another pitcher who entered the game undefeated in 2016, Josh Tomlin.
Not surprisingly, Sale started brilliantly, striking out five of the first nine batters he faced. However, everything started to change the second time through Cleveland’s lineup, as Sale surrendered three runs in the third inning and three more in the fourth before he was pulled with one out in the fourth inning, ultimately being charged with six runs on seven hits and four walks.
Afterwards, Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura described the outing as “uncharacteristic” of Sale. “Any time you see that, you are surprised,” said Ventura. “This is an off night for him. The best part is it’s not anything physical as far as he was hurting.” Ventura believes that Sale was throwing too hard, most notably his changeup, which didn’t have as much velocity contrast with his fastball as it usually does, allowing the Indians to tee off on him.
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While Sale was struggling, Tomlin was dealing. After allowing a leadoff home run to Adam Eaton, Tomlin settled in let up just two runs over eight innings to improve to 7-0 on the season. The win makes him the first Indians pitcher to win his first seven decisions of a season since Dennis Martinez went 9-0 to start the 1995 season. “I was able to throw strikes and mix it up enough to where they put the ball in play and the guys made the plays,” Tomlin said after striking out six and walking one.
Tuesday’s win gives the Indians a chance to take three of four from the White Sox after the teams split a double-header on Monday. Corey Kluber will oppose Jose Quintana in the series finale Wednesday afternoon. A Cleveland win will pull the Indians within a half game of the first place White Sox, although things remain tight in the AL Central with the Royals two games behind Chicago and the Tigers just three games out of first place.