|WP: Kluber LP: Duffy, S: Allen|
|Indians HR: C.Santana (13), Gomes (10)|
I’ll get to Corey Kluber in a minute, but first let’s acknowledge the Indians second straight series win against a legitimate playoff contender. They’re still 6.5 out of the AL Central and five games back in the Wild Card, but this is how to claw your way back into the race.
The Indians are now heading into a seven game stretch against the Yankees and White Sox before the All-Star Break—two teams who have been slipping in the wrong direction in recent weeks. The Tribe has a chance to make a real move before the break.
Now on to Kluber, who continues his brilliance.
Kluber now has 137 strikeouts and a 2.86 ERA—putting him in a group with Masahiro Tanaka, Yu Darvish, Johnny Cueto and Felix Hernandez as the only pitchers with at least 125 K and an ERA under 3.00 this season. If that doesn’t earn him an All-Star invite we’ve got some serious issues with the selection process.
Other thoughts and notes…
- Carlos Santana belted his 13th home run of the season. Since June 1, Santana is batting .302 with a .407 OBP and seven home runs. That’s why you don’t bench your best hitter when he struggles through the first two months of the season. Just ride out the slump and it will all work out in the end.
- Tyler Holt made his debut in the 9th inning as a defensive replacement for Raburn in right field. In the game preview I speculated that Francona would use him in center, and shift Brantley to left to replace Aviles. Both Aviles and Raburn are terrible defensive outfielders, so I guess you can’t go wrong with either substitution. I’d expect to see this move whenever the Tribe has a late lead while Holt is on the roster.
- Cody Allen recorded his 9th save of the season. Is Francona ready to admit he’s the closer yet? This reminds me of the way Tony LaRussa treated Jason Motte a few years ago. Despite using him as the closer 99% of the time, he refused to refer to him as the closer until after the World Series.