In the Indians' 93-loss 2010 season, only one starting pitcher had a winning record. That pitcher was Josh Tomlin, who was the winner Tuesday night in his first start of 2011, a 3-1 decision over Boston.
Tomlin pitched seven innings, holding the Red Sox to one run on three hits. It was a quiet, efficient outing for the 26-year-old right-hander, not unlike many of his starts last year, when he was a surprise call-up at midseason.
In his 12 starts in the second half of last season, Tomlin was 6-4. His most impressive trait in those appearances was his poise. Despite being a rookie, Tomlin was not intimidated by the environment or by facing big-league hitters for the first time.
Manager Manny Acta frequently praised Tomlin for also being a strike-thrower, which was refreshing on a pitching staff that had the second-most walks in the American League last year. Tomlin's ability to throw not just strikes, but good strikes, has been a strength since his arrival in the majors.
Despite his impressive debut last year, Tomlin still had to go to training camp this spring and win a spot in the rotation. He did that by outpitching Jeanmar Gomez and David Huff for the team's one opening for a starter.
Tomlin's outstanding effort Tuesday was particularly welcome for the Indians, who saw the first two starters in their rotation, Fausto Carmona and Carlos Carrasco, both lose their initial starts. But No. 3 starter Justin Masterson pitched solidly in his first start Sunday, and Tomlin on Tuesday produced the Indians' best start of the season thus far.
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