The 2015 season has not been kind to Corey Kluber thus far. He went into Saturday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds with a 1-5 record and 3.79 ERA. You could make the case that his record should have been 2-4 or even 3-3. On Opening Day, he gave up 2 runs, 2 walks, and struck out seven and still took the loss against Houston because his teammates didn’t score at all. In any other situation, that performance would have been enough for a win. In his last start, on May 18, Kluber gave up only one run and one walk while striking out 12, and still took a loss. Again, that was twelve (12) freaking strikeouts and a loss because his team only scored one run. It appeared that Kluber had to approach the major league strikeout record in order to win a stinking game.
Thankfully, that wasn’t the case in Saturday’s 2-1 victory over the Reds. Kluber turned into another quality start, going 8.0 innings and giving up 9 hits, 1 earned run, zero walks, and 7 strikeouts. The Reds scored early, with Zack Cozart scoring Jay Bruce on a sacrifice fly in the top of the 2nd. The Indians didn’t tie it up until the bottom of the 6th. With two outs, Jason Kipnis singled to right. Carlos Santana walked to move Kipnis into scoring position. When David Murphy came up to bat, I was a little skeptical. He had struck out in the 4th inning with Carlos Santana on 2nd. But this time, he did exactly what he needed to do, hitting a line drive to center to score Kipnis.
Not only did Kipnis score the Indians’ first run, he hit in the second one. With Michael Bourn on 1st base, Kipnis hit a beautiful double to left that was deep enough to allow Bourn to score. Scoring from first was enough for me to stop being annoyed with Bourn for getting on base with a crappy bunt that got Roberto Perez out at 2nd. Final score: Indians 2, Reds 1.
Some other brief thoughts:
- Since he started batting lead-off on April 26, Kipnis is batting .402 (41-102) w/ 10 doubles, 2 triples, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 25 runs scored and a 1.153 OPS (.496OBP/.657SLG). And that was going into today’s game.
- It’s good that they have team buses, because Reds relief pitcher Tony Cingrani looks like he is about 15 years old and thus unable to drive himself anywhere.
- Before the game, the Indians honored former center fielder and current SportsTime Ohio color commentator Rick Manning because today, May 23, marks the 40th anniversary of his big-league debut in a Tribe uniform. Len Barker and Joe Charboneau were among Manning’s former teammates who stopped into the booth to say hello.
- The Indians have now won five straight games for the first time since May 30-June 4, 2014, when they won six in a row.