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Breathing Room: Indians Attempt To Move Three Games Up In The Central vs. The Royals

After a much-needed come from behind victory last night over the Kansas City Royals, in a game which allowed the Indians to stay atop the AL Central all by themselves, Josh Tomlin will try to pitch Cleveland to a three-game lead — and win this series against the Royals 3-1 — tonight at 8:10 against Kansas City’s Sean O’Sullivan.

Tomlin has started three games and won them all, beating Boston, Seattle and Baltimore in succession. In those three games, Tomlin has worked 19 2/3 innings and has surrendered only six earned runs -- for an ERA of 2.75 -- and has allowed only 12 hits and six walks, for an average of less than a base-runner per inning.

In his last start, against the Orioles, Tomlin went six frames, allowing six hits and two runs in an 8-3 victory last Saturday at Progressive Field. In that game, Tomlin struck out four, and did not issue a walk.

Against Kansas City in his career, Tomlin has made three starts, going 2-1 with a high ERA of 5.68, but — like Justin Masterson has shown so far in 2011 — that was then and this is now.

The Royals’ O’Sullivan (1-1, 5.00 ERA) was very effective in his last start, going five scoreless innings in what turned out to be a shutout-by-committee, 7-0 over the Seattle Mariners. In that start, O’Sullivan allowed five hits, walked two and K’d four.

In his career to date — spanning 34 appearances, including 25 starts — O’Sullivan has a high ERA of 5.61 in 144 1/3 innings.

Included in those numbers have been two starts against the Tribe, in which O’Sullivan has gone 1-1 with a 6.30 ERA, and has surrendered seven earned runs in 10 innings of work.

The Indians are off to Minnesota after this game to take on the struggling Twins. With a record of 13-5, Cleveland is tied with the Colorado Rockies for the best record in the major leagues, and the Tribe has the best mark in the American League, one game better than the Angels, who are 12-6.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.