A major reason for Corey Kluber’s success this season has been his ability to avoid the big inning. Unfortunately, this ability was not shown tonight against the Orioles as a five-run 5th inning ultimately doomed Kluber and the Tribe. It was clear from the start that Kluber didn’t have his best stuff tonight. However, for the first four innings of the game he battled and looked like he was going to pitch well enough to make it through the night with limited damage. Then the 5th inning happened.
After the Orioles had already tied the game in the inning, I actually thought Kluber did a wonderful job pitching to Chris Davis considering this guy would finish in the top 2 in AL MVP voting if the season ended today. With the bases loaded and one out, Kluber got Davis to weakly hit a groundball to Jason Kipnis, who was able to get the force out at second. I would have felt good about our chances had Kluber been able to stop the bleeding at this point by controlling the damage. Instead, he proceeded to give up a double to Matt Wieters and then Kluber fumbled a soft groundball hit off the bat of J.J. Hardy to put an end to Kluber’s night.
For Kluber, this was just “one of those nights” as people like to say. He just didn’t have it tonight. Usually 11 hits in 4.2 IP isn’t a great recipe for success, and it isn’t the Corey Kluber we have grown somewhat accustomed to seeing this season. However, this is only the 3rd time this season that Kluber has allowed more than three runs in a game, and every pitcher has their duds once in awhile as well. I’m certainly not concerned about him, but it would have been great to have left Baltimore with a four-game series victory.
The one noteworthy positive that came out of tonight’s game was Lonnie Chisenhall. Chisenhall had three hits including a double, a homer, and 2 RBI. It looks like he is finding his groove at the plate with the Tribe after his impressive offensive showing in Columbus. Over the last five games, Lonnie has an AVG of .444, and his overall season AVG has jumped 37 points to .235. This would be huge for the Tribe, as it’s probably time for Chisenhall to start living up to his potential and the hype that has surrounded him ever since he was drafted by the Tribe in the first round in 2008.
Speaking of living up to the hype, I’m looking forward to seeing Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco go for the Tribe tomorrow in the double header against the White Sox. Bauer has struggled lately in the minors though, and Carrasco is coming off a rough last start against the Twins. However, they are still two of the best young arms in our system, and they can be really fun to watch if they’re on their game. Let’s hope they’re both on their game tomorrow, because this could certainly make for a great Friday of baseball.