Cleveland Indians’ Starting Pitching Gives Cause For Hope

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It’s easy to get disheartened when so much seems wrong with the Cleveland Indians.  There’s a deep funk all over the offense, and there have been a number of losses that have just been painful to watch.  Even the weather has been depressing, although that’s hardly a shock when you start the season in Cleveland, Minneapolis, and Chicago.  With Detroit and Kansas City already putting a sizable distance between themselves and the rest of the division, the gloom and doom you see in the blogosphere and mainstream media seems justified.

If you are looking for a reason to think all is not lost, though, I may have something.  Ponder this:  prior to Wednesday’s game, between the four of them, Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, and Danny Salazar have pitched 58 innings and given up thirteen earned runs.  That equals an earned run average of 2.02.  In those 58 innings they have 79 strikeouts, 18 walks, and have given up 36 hits, for a WHIP of 0.93.  Between the four of them, the only start that was not effective was when Carrasco took a line drive off his face in the first inning.

Will this last?  Nobody knows for sure, and Salazar’s start Friday against the Tigers will go a long way toward telling us whether we have three dominant starters or four.  But if the first thirteen games of the season are any indication, the Indians have 80% of a strong rotation nailed down.  That means that 130 or so games will be started by someone who is capable of dominating the opposing lineup.  It also means that, should the offense ever begin performing at anything close to its potential, this team can rattle off long hot streaks that can get it right back in the race.

There are still question marks.  T.J. House’s first two starts are more similar to the guy who spent five-plus years in the minors without ever being considered a top prospect than to the guy who went 5-3 last year.  Logically speaking, the likelihood of last year being a fluke would lead me to keep House on a short leash.  Even when he was winning games last year, his stuff was not overwhelming and neither were his peripheral stats (more than ten hits per nine innings, seven strikeouts per nine innings).  If he doesn’t show something in the next start or two, I would be looking for an alternative.  Who that might be is not readily apparent – probably

If he doesn’t show something in the next start or two, I would be looking for an alternative.  Who that might be is not readily apparent – probably Bruce Chen, since Zach McAllister has been ineffective as a starter and Shaun Marcum does not appear to be part of the plan.

Next: Lindor Not Concerned With His Slow Start

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