It seemed like – at least, to me – that whenever I signed up to write about a game the last couple years it inevitably fell on Corey Kluber’s turn in the rotation. And, really, who I am to complain? The emotionless assassin works with precision like efficiency that’s incredibly enjoyable – at least, to me – to watch.
So I wasn’t really that surprised that when I got home from coaching last evening, plopped down on the couch, and saw Kluber warming up in the bottom-half of the first inning.
And yesterday’s contest started out like any other Corey Kluber start over the past couple of years: just pure, filthy dominance.
The big right-handed punched out the side in first inning, sitting down the formidable trio of Jose Altuve, George Springer, and Carlos Correa on just 11 pitches, only two of which were balls. After Houston starter Mike Fiers worked around a two-out Jose Ramirez in the top of the second inning, Kluber toed the rubber for another quick – albeit walk interrupted – inning.
At this point he was 24 pitches into the game.
And then all hell broke loose.
Just as I was scrounging around the dark depths of the fridge, a place no man should ever go to, Kluber’s night began to unravel. Former Indians Luis Valbuena singled. Jason Castro doubled. And pocket-sized second baseman – and this generation’s version of Mighty Mouse – Jose Altuve laced another two-bagger down the line. Springer walked. Correa followed with another single. Colby Rasmus got into the action with a base-knock. And, finally, the Indians retired Marwin Gonzalez for the first out. Kluber would retire Preston Tucker before giving way to lefty Kyle Crockett.
In total, the former Cy Young Award winner finished with five hits, five (earned) runs, three free passes, and three whiffs. After some digging around on Baseball Reference, this was Kluber’s shortest outing since a September 1st start against the Tigers in 2014.
The rest of the game went by fairly quickly: the bullpen did it’s job, sans an unearned run from Joba Chamberlain, and Mike Fiers, armed with an upper 80s fastball and a darting changeup, made quick work of the Tribe’s bats.
Cleveland now stands with 15 wins and 14 losses. They’re back at tonight in Houston, at 8:10, as Trevor Bauer – don’t give up on him, trust me – takes on Chris Devenski.