Whenever I sign up to write a recap for a ball game, I don’t necessarily look at match-ups, I just pick games that look like they’re at a good time. In the past, this has led to me recapping my fair share of Josh Tomlin and Zach McAllister starts, which generally elicited the following response from yours truly:
But not today, no sir! It was about two days ago when I realized I was going to recap a genuine start by Corey Kluber. He’s the one guy who needs no introduction: the Klubot, the Emotionless One, the Ace of this staff. The guy who came into today with a 4-0 record and 0.76 ERA in six second-half starts. Surely, the Minnesota Twins lineup would be easy pickings for the Indians Cy Young candidate, right?
Unfortunately, baseball has a funny habit of not being very predictable at times.
The Klubot was not operating at peak efficiency in this outing, and could only manage to be merely above-average on this day. He went 7 IP with 8 Ks, but he allowed six hits and walked four twins. For a guy who came into today averaging fewer than 2 BBs per 9 IP, that’s a bad day at the office. Even without his best stuff, however, Kluber kept the Tribe in the game by going those seven innings and limiting the Twins to only three earned runs in the process. It was a quality start, but it ultimately was not enough.
It wasn’t enough because the Indians offense forgot to show up today (man, it feels like I write that phrase an awful lot for an above-average offense, doesn’t it?) against Twins ace Phil Hughes (wait, ace? Phil Hughes? I suppose that explains why the Twins are in last place). Hughes went 7 IP with 8Ks himself, but walked 0 and only allowed 5 hits. The only damage on the day came from Zach “Two True Outcomes” Walters, who went deep again.
Walters has been a nice little addition to the lineup since the trade with Washington, displaying a surprising amount of power and generally being more fun to watch than Nick Swisher, Mike Aviles, or Ryan Raburn as a right-handed batter. The interesting thing about Walters is that he seems to be one of the only “Two True Outcome” players in the league, meaning he either hits a home run or strikes out every time up. Consider: in 78 plate appearances this season between Washington and Cleveland, Walters has 29 strikeouts (34.6%!), and 7 of his 15 hits have gone over the fence (46.7%!). He doesn’t walk enough, and he probably can’t make a career out of those percentages, but he’s fun to watch.
Yan Gomes left the game early today after being hit on the neck with an errant ball. The official word is that he left due to illness, so we’ll have to wait and see.
You can’t pin losses on the umpiring, but the home plate umpire (Brian Knight) was pretty awful today. Notably, he called Carlos Santana out on strikes on a borderline pitch (at best), and rang up Michael Brantley on a ball that was not particularly close to being a strike. Dr. Smooth, who is so-named for his stoic demeanor on the baseball field, threw his bat to the ground in disgust and had some words with Knight. It was an egregious missed call, but it doesn’t excuse another afternoon of silent bats.
The Indians return home this afternoon and will start a brand new series with another bad team in the Houston Astros on Friday night. Carlos Carrasco will take the mount and look to build on his recent success. Some people (like IPL writer and stat-savant Ryan McCrystal) might say Carrasco’s success has been the result of unsustainable luck, but I’ll just be over in the corner like this: