#TBT: Corey Kluber was great in 2014…but not in April


Cleveland Indians fans have come to expect dominance in every outing by Corey Kluber, but those expectations might be a little lofty given his career numbers in April

Hold your judgment on Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians fans.

It’s far too early to submit a claim on your “broken” reigning Cy Young Award winner. While the Indians came to expect better from Kluber in 2014, the right-hander’s start is pretty much par for the course for Kluber throughout his career.

On this Throwback Thursday, let’s take a look at the Kluber who Tribe fans saw a year ago and attempt to pacify the concerns about the 29-year-old’s slow start.

The Indians are winless through five Kluber starts this season, as the once-dominate righty has posted a pedestrian 4.24 ERA. He has thrown 34 innings this season, allowing 16 earned runs while opposing hitters have hit .277 against him. Though he was solid in his first three starts, Kluber has now posted consecutive outings where he’s allowed six runs — albeit not all of them earned runs.

It hasn’t been a great start but, believe it or not, it isn’t far off Kluber’s 2014 performance in the early going.

This time last season, Kluber was sitting in an eerily similar situation. While he did have two wins under his belt, Kluber boasted a 4.14 ERA over 37 innings pitched. He had allowed 17 earned runs over that stretch while allowing opposing hitters to hit .299 against him. His 1.51 WHIP, too, was certainly nothing to call home about.

Much like the rest of the Indians, Kluber is a notoriously slow starter. With that in mind, Tribe fans can reasonably expect a return to form as the season progresses.

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After his underwhelming performance last April, Kluber came out and posted a 4-0 record in May while allowing just 10 earned runs in six starts. His 2.09 ERA and 0.98 WHIP were vast improvements upon his April numbers, as Kluber solidified himself as a legitimate staff ace by holding opposing hitters to a .217 average.

This year, unlike in year’s past, Cleveland is relying heavily on him to produce right from the start — but that’s just not on par with anything Kluber has shown throughout his career. The goods news is Cleveland goes as Kluber goes, it seems, and there is no reason to expect the rotation workhorse — and the Indians — won’t pick up the pace as their ace heats up in May.

Just give it time.

Next: #TBT Remember when the Indians could score runs?