The city of Cleveland will host Game 6 of the World Series. After an outstanding performance by Jon Lester and the Cubs that sent Chicago off with a win, baseball is not quite over this season.
Reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta will be facing the Indians with Josh Tomlin getting starter honors for the home team.
What do we have to expect when these two go up against each other? A lot.
The two have similar scores when it comes to working ahead in the count. According to Inside Edge, both Tomlin and Arrieta are outstanding when it comes to making sure their first few pitches are going to be strikes. About 65 percent of the time, both pitchers will toss fastballs in that scenario. When it comes to finishing off hitters, the two dominate. If an opposing hitter has a two-strike plate appearance, the chances of the hitter striking out is very high (86 percent for Tomlin, 80 percent for Arrieta.)
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When it comes to pitching at this park in particular, Progressive Field is known as a neutral park that is slighted just a bit towards pitchers, making this matchup that more fun. In 61 career games at Progressive, Tomlin has accumulated a 4.41 ERA with 231 strikeouts and 53 walks in 341 innings pitched. This is, of course, his home field, so he’s more familiar.
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When it comes to Arrieta, he’s thrown at Progressive just twice in his career. The first time was in 2010, and the most recent was in Game 2 of the World Series this year. In that game, he allowed one run on two hits and three walks in 5.2 innings pitched and snagged a win.
Going more in depth when it comes to opposing hitters, the pitchers couldn’t be more different. When Arrieta throws his fastball, he limits opposing right-handed batters to a .196 batting average, while Tomlin limits fastball hitters to a .286 batting average. Tomlin will throw his curveball 17 percent of the time, which is seven percent higher than Arrieta.
However, Tomlin’s opposing batters tee off of him with this pitch: a .323 BA to opposing right-handed batters. A bit of an ego boost for Tomlin is when he tosses that same pitch to lefties, he limits them to a .125 batting average.
Tomlin is also coming off a short rest, which could be worrisome to many, but when it comes to the World Series, you can’t be gambling with dominant pitchers. He was outstanding in Game 3, and while he wasn’t on the mound for long, he was certainly effective. He was halted at 56 pitches for precautionary reasons and with him being one of the main factors to keep the Tribe afloat, there really isn’t any argument there.
Both pitchers do have one main thing in common: They’re really good. Arrieta may have the name recognition and hardware, but both pitchers are key reasons their teams are still playing.
Numbers aside, one thing is for certain: History will be made this week — possibly tonight — and we all get to witness it.