With Kevin Slowey starting today, the battle for the fifth starting pitcher should be a little clearer. Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Josh Tomlin and Derek Lowe hold the first four spots in the 2012 Cleveland Indians starting rotation while Jeanmar Gomez, David Huff, Zach McAllister and Slowey compete for the last spot.
So far, Jeanmar Gomez appears to be the most ready. He has pitched in four games this Spring and is yet to allow a run and has only allowed four hits. His dominance has not been matched this Spring by any other Indians starter except Justin Masterson who has been dominant ever since his poor debut. After his successful rookie season, the only thing keeping Gomez in the minors to start this year is the lack of flexibility in Kevin Slowey.
Speaking of Slowey, his appearances have been getting worse and worse with each outing. In four starts, he has given up 0, 2, 3 and most recently 4 runs. Slowey has never been a considered a flame thrower, but this Spring he has been terrible at missing bats. In only 12 innings he has walked 4 and allowed 19 hits. Hopefully for Indians fans, this experiment will end before the regular season starts.
The other two pitchers up for that last spot have not really had enough innings to judge. Huff has a 5.73 ERA through 11 innings and McAllister has 4.50 through 6. McAllister has yet to start an official Spring game and Huff has only started 3. The lack of innings given to these two pitchers could be a sign that the Indians are already favoring Gomez and Slowey. With Huff's contract situation not being very different than Gomez's it is hard to conceive the Indians making him the 5th starter. It definitely seems that the Indians 5th starter competition is down to a two horse race.
Slowey throwing against the Giants on 3/21