Corey Kluber earns win number seven in 2018 as the Cleveland Indians ride a strong first inning to a victory over the Houston Astros.
Anytime the Cleveland Indians are in a one-run game, fans can collectively hold their breath and hope that the bullpen doesn’t blow it. They came close to doing just that today as Cody Allen turned into a flyball machine.
The Indians bullpen allowed two home runs in their relief effort of Corey Kluber. The incompetence wasn’t enough to derail the Tribe, however, after another incredible effort from Kluber.
The Indians have not exactly been a model of consistency this year, but their offense has certainly worked out of the funk they were in for much of early April. The Indians batting numbers are weighed down by their slow start and inability to score in the clutch at times. But they are raking for power. The Indians lead the MLB homers and are fourth in the league in slugging.
Cleveland has found a lot of ways to score runs, but the long ball has been something they rely on heavily. But the offense has sparked as of late. That may have something to do with my first takeaway.
The Indians are dominating lefty pitchers
Something that was a lingering problem for the Tribe for much of 2017 was the inability to score against left-handed pitchers. Left-handed pitchers have allowed 23 runs against the Indians in the Tribe’s last five games.
This is a bit of an upside for Tribe fans. Some of the best pitchers in baseball are lefties. Dallas Keuchel, who was previously 2-0 against the Tribe, struggled mightily against the Tribe offense today. In five innings he allowed four runs on six hits with only three strikeouts. The Indians also punished Francisco Liriano on Tuesday.
Corey Kluber was Corey Kluber
The Houston Astros have some of the best pitching in baseball right now. But Corey Kluber showed them today why he is the defending Cy Young Award winner. Kluber worked another seven inning game with 10 strikeouts. It’s become weird to see Kluber allow home runs in his outings but he has allowed 11 this year.
That being said, Kluber is 7-2 on the year leading the AL in wins. I’ve spent a lot of time in my articles talking about how great Corey Kluber has been this year. In previous years, Kluber has gotten off to slow starts before finding his rhythm around late May to June. This year, Kluber is on pace to reach a career-high in wins.
The Indians defense has improved after their slump
Two weeks ago the Indians found themselves in an error-filled mess. This weekend they have continually worked themselves out of tough jams. The Indians have had four double-plays in their last two games against the ‘Stros. It’s been hard to notice due to the phenomenal defense of the Astros in these two games. But the Indians defense is finding its groove against a great team.
Carlos Carrasco gets the start tomorrow on Sunday Night Baseball. The Astros have been hitting some bombs this series so he has his work cut out for him. But if the Indians can get to the Astros early like they did today, they have a chance to take this series.