Tomlin focusing on limiting number of homers

Tomlin focusing on limiting number of homers

DETROIT -- Josh Tomlin understands that he is going to allow home runs. And the Indians starter also knows he is probably going to give up more long balls than most starters around the league. It is simply a product of his pitch-to-contact style.

Still, Tomlin wants to find a way to limit the number of balls leaving the yard.

"I know the home runs are going to happen," Tomlin said on Saturday. "But I do feel like there are some adjustments I can make to limit that."

During Friday's 4-1 loss to the Tigers, Tomlin allowed three home runs, giving him 23 long balls allowed on the season. That represents the second-highest total in the American League behind Texas' Colby Lewis.

The high home run rate is misleading, though. Due to Tomlin's low WHIP (1.03), the damage done by the homers has been minimal. Consider that 15 of the 23 homers have been solo shots and the fact that 43 percent of Tomlin's runs allowed (32 of 74) overall have come via the long ball.

Cleveland has an 8-5 record in the 13 games in which Tomlin has surrendered at least one home run, and the right-hander is currently 12-6 with a 4.03 ERA. Among the 101 American League pitchers who have given up at least six homers this year, Tomlin is the lone hurler with more homers than walks (20) allowed.

Needless to say, despite the bloated homer figure, the Indians are happy with Tomlin's performance.

"We'll take him," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "We like him the way he is. He's been very effective for us."

That does not mean that Tomlin is satisfied.

"I want a low WHIP for that reason alone," Tomlin said. "But I definitely need to make an adjustment on that to where, if I do have 80 pitches in the seventh inning, I have a chance to finish that game. That's something I want to be able to do.

"I've got to make the adjustment. I've got to figure out what makes me more susceptible in the later innings to the home run."

The problem does not rest with one pitch. After all, Tomlin had a sinker, changeup and fastball tagged for home runs in Friday's outing. The right-hander said he needs to continue to explore different ways to mix up his pitch sequences in order to keep hitters guessing into the later innings.

Overhauling his style is not an option.

"I'm coming right at you, and I don't care who you are or what you've done," Tomlin said. "That's kind of what I have to be, I feel like. Being around the plate as much as I am, if I start walking guys and getting heavy traffic on the bases, it could end up pretty bad for me."