When Josh Tomlin beat out David Huff last week for the final spot in the Indians’ 2011 rotation, Tomlin became the fourth piece in the starting pitching puzzle that manager Manny Acta hopes will launch Cleveland into contention this season.
Fausto Carmona gets the number one spot, followed in order (at this point, at least) by Carlos Carrasco, Justin Masterson, Tomlin and Mitch Talbot.
The five starters had an aggregate record of 37-46 last season. Carrasco appeared in only seven games — all starts — while the other four combined to make 102 starts during the 2010 season which saw the Tribe finish at 69-93, the second straight year with less than 70 wins.
If you look at the rotation as a five-headed monster, the monster had a combined 4.26 ERA last year. Not awful in the hitter-friendly American League.
Acta set up the rotation to break up the sinker-ball pitchers, not having two in a row set to face anyone. Acta is claiming that every pitcher is the #1 starter on the day he pitches, and the #5 on the day after. I have to say that the idea of nobody being seen as “better” is a nice way of instilling confidence in those following Carmona.
The first month of the season sees only three scheduled days-off, so everyone will need to be ready. It is possible that Talbot could be skipped for his first start, as the schedule has a day off after only three games, but a stretch of nine straight days follows.