Who needs rehab assignments anyways, right? That’s one of the messages Corey Kluber sent out tonight in his first start since going on the DL in early August after injuring his middle finger. Kluber didn’t miss a beat coming back today. He had a pitch count of about 65 pitches tonight, and he sure did make the most out of those 65 pitches (technically it ended up being 64). He pitched into the 6th inning, and only gave up 2 earned runs and struck out 5. It was great to see him back at it, and the Tribe has got to be glad to have him back as we get to the homestretch.
The offense came up big today as well. The big hits came off the bats of Ryan Raburn, Nick Swisher, and Asdrubal Cabrera. Raburn gave the Tribe a big lead in the first inning with a huge 3-run double off Mets starter Jonathan Niese. Nick Swisher homered for the second consecutive day, and also added an RBI double as well. Asdrubal Cabrera officially put the game out of reach in 7th with a 3-run homer to right field. Given his struggles this season, it was good to see Cabrera finally come through after he had left 4 men on base earlier in the game. This was Cabrera’s first hit in the month of September, so let’s hope this gets him going (for the record, I think I’ve used the phrase “let’s hope this gets him going” with Cabrera at least 100 times this season ).
Today was a good day overall for the Tribe, but I have a couple quick things to whine about for the sake of it. The first complaint is that the combination of Rich Hill and Vinnie Pestano let the Mets back in the game after relieving Kluber. I guess this should surprise no one, but it was sad to see Vinnie come back and struggle again. I was at the game, and he got a nice ovation when he came sprinting out of the dugout. Unfortunately, the night wasn’t as “feel-good” as it could’ve been for Vinnie.
It was also disappointing to see a crowd of only just over 20,000 at a game on a Saturday night in which it was Bourn jersey giveaway, fireworks night, and most importantly a game in September in the middle of a legitimate playoff chase. I’m sure that fans have their reasons for not coming…the economy, lack of belief in a team that has been dominated by the Tigers and pretty much the entire AL East, a carryover of frustration from years of not spending, etc. All fans are entitled to their opinions, and they have a right to spend (or not spend) their money in any way they would like. However, all I’m saying is that we’ve got a team that is legitimately in a playoff run in the month of September, and has a favorable schedule the rest of the way. The last time we had an opportunity to have this much fun as fans in September was 2007. It’s been 6 years. Who knows what the future has in store, but I don’t think being in the race this late in the season is something that should be taken for granted. Like I said, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and their own decisions, but personally for me, I’m going to choose to be a part of the fun in September because I don’t want to miss the opportunity from the experience of a baseball fan. That’s just me though.
Anyways, back to the good stuff. The Tribe did what they needed to today, and looks for the series sweep tomorrow. This series with the Mets has officially started the stretch against lower quality teams that everyone has been looking forward to. The Tribe has the chance to take advantage of a favorable end of the year schedule to help aid their playoff push. This series has been a good start.