Josh Tomlin ready for first start of season

080520 Atlanta: Atlanta Braves Josh Tomlin delivers a pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays during the fifth inning in a MLB baseball game on Wednesday, August 5, 2020 in Atlanta.    Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton

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080520 Atlanta: Atlanta Braves Josh Tomlin delivers a pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays during the fifth inning in a MLB baseball game on Wednesday, August 5, 2020 in Atlanta. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton

A starter for much of his time with the Cleveland Indians, Josh Tomlin knows what to expect heading into his first start of the season for the Braves.

“You never really lose that starter mentality, you just go to the bullpen and kind of develop a new mentality for that particular role you’re in,” the 35-year-old said. “But I’ve started for eight or nine years of my career, so this isn’t going to be anything new to me, for sure.”

Tomlin, who the Braves signed to a minor league contract in February, selecting his contract from the Gwinnett Stripers on July 18, has been helpful in the bullpen this season (11 1/3 innings pitched, 1.59 ERA, 0.794 WHIP). With a handful of starting pitchers either injured or struggling, Tomlin will start Tuesday against the Nationals.

Tomlin won’t change anything in his approach for the outing.

“I’m not going to do anything different,” Tomlin said. “I’m not going to try to turn into this starter that’s going to go eight innings the first time, I’m just going to take it one pitch at a time. I know it’s cliche, but I haven’t started in a long time, so my job’s to go out there and pitch the first inning, go back out in the second and pitch the second inning, and then go from there. Whenever (coach Brian Snitker) comes out there and takes the ball from me, I’m done. And then take the next step going after that.”

He’s not sure if he stay in this starting role for a period of time, but feels confident he can handle stepping back into the starting role. Last season with the Braves, Tomlin pitched in 51 games (79 1/3 innings, with one start), finishing with an ERA of 3.74 and WHIP of 1.12.

“Whatever, they want me to do, I’ll be very capable of doing it,” Tomlin said. “I don’t think going four, three, four, five, six, seven innings, you’re going to be seeing the same soreness after four innings anyway, as you would be if you went seven. It’s all about the same to me.”

Tomlin expressed confidence in the Braves’ starting rotation moving forward: “I think we have some good starters in the rotation that are getting their feet wet right now. They’re going to figure it out, it’s just a matter of time. It’s hard to learn on the job whenever you’re in a playoff contending team and it’s a little bit more magnified, obviously.

“This team has a bright future of starters ahead of it, there’s no question in my mind. I understand right now they don’t have a starter for tomorrow, so they asked me to step in and do it. Very willing to do it, very capable of doing it, I feel like. I’ve done it for a long time in my career, so I’m looking forward to it.”

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