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Second Thoughts Game #33: Indians 4, Tigers 10

Streaking Tribe gets reality check as Tigers rough up Kluber

Second Thoughts Game #33: Indians 4, Tigers 10
May 11, 2013
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The Indians came into the Motor City riding a four-game winning streak and coming off a sweep against the A’s. They were turning some heads nationwide having won 10 of their last 11 games and leading the league in many statistical categories rocketing them up to one game behind division-leading Detroit.

And what happened? Well, the Tigers let the high-flying Tribe know why they are leading the division. Corey Kluber was off to a decent start to the season as a fill-in starter for the Tribe, but he got rocked on Friday night lasting only four and two thirds innings while surrendering eight runs in a 10-4 loss in the series opener.

Getting ‘Klubered’ in reverse

The Twitter-originated phrase “Klubered” was created during the right-hander’s hot start to the season during which he made four appearances (two starts) and went 2-1 with a 3.06 ERA. Friday night, you could say the Tigers “Klubered” Corey. There’s a reason whyMiguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder are two of the best - if not the best - hitters in baseball right now. Kluber didn’t have command of the strike zone today and Fielder and Cabrera made sure he knew it going 3-for-9 combined with two homers and four RBIs.

Kluber can be effective as a starting pitcher, but he has to be able to throw strikes consistently or he’ll be left high and dry. The right-hander failed to do just that on Friday night where he struggled with his command while most of the pitches he did throw for strikes were down the middle of the plate with little or no movement leading to two home runs and five doubles given up.

It’s only one bad outing after four previous solid appearances, but it is a healthy reminder that Kluber is just a placeholder until veteran starter Brett Myers is healthy or a better option presents itself.

Welcome back Bourn

Indians center fielder Michael Bourn made his triumphant return to the top of the batting order after being activated from the 15-day disabled list where he was nursing a finger laceration back to health. While he did go 0-for-4 with a strikeout on Friday night, it was still nice to have all the starters back in the lineup and the bench finally getting some much-needed rest.

The offense didn’t slow down in Bourn’s absence as the team went 13-8 while he was on the DL and averaged over five runs per game. Having Bourn back in the leadoff spot as a guy who can set the tone and wreak havoc on the base paths with his speed should in theory help improve the Tribe offense that much more even if it didn’t show on Friday.

An almost Swisher Cycle

The Indians only managed four runs on five hits off Tigers starter Max Scherzer, but three of those hits belonged toNick Swisher, who was serving as the designated hitter on Friday night. Swisher drove in the first run of the game with a double which scored second baseman Jason Kipnis who had doubled in the previous at-bat and staked the Tribe to a 1-0 lead at the time.

Despite the game getting away from the Tribe, Swisher didn’t slow down as he hit a triple and a single in his next two at-bats and scored two runs putting him a home run shy of the cycle. Unfortunately, Swisher would fall short of that goal as Joaquin Benoit struck him out looking in the ninth. However, Swisher still had a much-needed solid game at the plate after going 5-for-22 (.227) in his six previous games after returning to the lineup from a few day’s rest to recover from shoulder soreness.

Quote of the Game

 "You just chalk it up as a bad one. Everybody has their days." – Corey Kluber on his rough start.

Quick Game Facts

  • Since 1916, Corey Kluber is the only Indians starting pitcher to allow eight runs on 11 hits with two home runs and five doubles in just four and two thirds innings.
  • Kluber’s short outing on Friday snaps a streak of 16 games where Indians starters pitched at least five innings or more.
  • On Friday night, left-handed reliever Rich Hill allowed his first big league home run since July 21, 2009 vs. the Yankees.
  • With a sacrifice groundout in Friday night’s game, Mark Reynolds collected his 30th RBI of the year putting him fifth in the league in that category.

Up Next: Indians vs. Tigers at Comerica Park. First pitch at 7:08.

This is a much-anticipated matchup for the Indians as they’ll be turning to Ubaldo Jimenez to get the team back to its winning ways. The right-hander has gone 2-0 with a 3.14 ERA in his last three starts while averaging over five innings and five strikeouts per start.

Standing in their way will be arguably the best starting pitcher in baseball in Justin Verlander. The former Cy Youngwinner was 1-2 with a 2.46 ERA against the Tribe in 2012; however, the Indians have been a handfull for Cy Young award winners so far this season as they’ve gone 1-5 with an 8.65 ERA in six starts.

Jake Dungan is a communications student at Stark State College and an intern with the Akron RubberDucks. Follow him on Twitter @MajorLeagueJake.

User Comments

May 11, 2013 - 11:48 AM EDT
I agree w anonmous, mostly because I forgot to log in, and I forgot to mention Charles Jenkins bobblehead night. That would be a sell-out. I wonder if dude could sing the national anthem.
May 11, 2013 - 11:39 AM EDT
I agree w Tony- the team will score runs, the bullpen is good, the starting pitching will determine how far into the summer the Indians go. Kluber has enough stuff to have a good start now and then but over time he will pitch somewhere around his minor league average which is mediocre. Either Carrasco or Bauer has to make the leap and become a consistent major league starter. Jimenez and Kazmir turnaround to previous form? I'm not buying it just yet. If one of them can stay around 3.7-4.10 on the ERA all year and pitch out of meltdown innings I would be happy. Masterson has to pitch better against lefties and with runners on. You look at the other teams that can score runs but have weak starting pitching- Angels, Toronto, their W/L is poor. The Indians ability to score runs is better than the TIgers in my opinion but they have Verlander, Scherzer, and Anibel Sanchez going in pretty much every series. To throw Kluber against one of them is not going to work out most of the time. And the Indians got lucky against the A's- they could have easily gone 2/2 instead of sweeping. Good teams make their own luck, yes, it's nice to see it happen that way.
League Park
May 11, 2013 - 11:15 AM EDT
My crystal ball says Bauer and Carrasco will be recalled this season to help. They have upside. Myers health is a big concern and Kluber, well, did Fielder's HR land In Canada?
May 11, 2013 - 10:42 AM EDT
Big question for this team right now is which starting pitcher is a better option for THIS season:
Corey Kluber
Brett Myers pitching through an injury
Trevor Bauer without command of his fastball
Carlos Carrasco without command of his emotions
Bay Lake Legend
May 11, 2013 - 10:41 AM EDT
Agreed! But I wouldn't be shocked if both of those teams got themselves back into contention for the wildcard before the season is over. Particularly the Angels.
League Park
May 11, 2013 - 10:14 AM EDT
Oakland has a good team and could finish ahead of us. Stunned we took 4 from them.

The big egg layers are Angels and Toronto
Bay Lake Legend
May 11, 2013 - 10:09 AM EDT
Those were two bad series against those teams, but it was also before the Indians seemed to find a little flow as a team. I don't anticipate it being that way in the future when we face those two teams. I guess we'll find out on Monday.

I thought TB might be the other team. While I give them the edge in pitching, I certainly think the Indian's offense is head and shoulders better.

The wildcard race will be fun. I think the A's will be in it, as well. Hopefully the Tribe can take one of the next two in Detroit, and be competitive in both.
League Park
May 11, 2013 - 10:03 AM EDT
Yes Bay those are the teams ahead of the Tribe by year end if Tampa can get any offense.

As for playing with NY and Boston, what were the scores of the games we played against them?
Bay Lake Legend
May 11, 2013 - 10:00 AM EDT
Exactly! They have this in Masterson and McAllister, and dare we dream it, in Jimenez (but I'm not holding my breath). Kazmir and the other starter, be it Kluber or Myers or Bauer, are question marks. I sure liked the way Kazmir pitched the other night though. Hopefully he can stay healthy. If they're in it at the deadline, I think they could add a pitcher.
May 11, 2013 - 9:53 AM EDT
The starting pitching is going to determine the fate of this team for sure. The bullpen is one of the best in baseball, the offense is Top 10 to me, but the starting rotation is iffy. If they can just get consistent, average outings from their starters they will win a lot of games. Not dominating outings.....just consistent, average ones (6-7 innings, 3-4 runs). Keep the team in the game to allow the offense to make its mark and to match up late with the bullpen.
Bay Lake Legend
May 11, 2013 - 9:49 AM EDT
8th best? Really? Clevelanditis, a little? It was just one game. I think Detroit and Texas are better. I think Baltimore is slightly better. But after that I think the Tribe can play with NY, Boston, KC, and I don't even know who else you were counting. TB?
League Park
May 11, 2013 - 9:36 AM EDT
We're about the 8th best team in the AL. Do not have a good feeling about Ubaldo vs Tigers. Expect some more long gone home runs

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