Second Thoughts: Game #47: Red Sox 8, Indians 1
Lackey dominates the Indians as team gets ready for game three in the four-game set
Lackey dominates listless Tribe
Indians hitters struggled mightily against the recently resurgent Sox starter John Lackey, who held the Tribe to just five base runners over seven frames. The Indians struck out nine times showing the sort of valley that has bared its ugly head from time to time.
Digressing from Lackey, who deserves his due as he was magnificent, it is clear that the Indians are having their first valley following a truly dominant stretch of baseball. Perhaps I am overplaying this week’s struggles, they are just 2-3, which is not distressing by any means. Maybe the fact that 2-3 is a struggle shows just how good of baseball they have played over the last 25 games prior to Tuesday.
My distaste may stem from the Tigers series, which certainly was a meager home stand but really it is just irrational fear of a large valley. This fear burgeons from watching a rotation and really pitching staff as a whole that has had a lukewarm week. With Scott Kazmir and Corey Kluber set for the weekend, the continual litmus test for both these guys will occur Fenway style. This next week is one that will show whether the Indians veteran leadership is what we think it is, can they stop themselves from sliding, can they avoid any sort of legitimate sized valley? Time will tell.
Kluber’s final audition
With Brett Myers coming closer and closer to a return to the big league rotation, Kluber has yet one more start to prove his value to the organization. While he may be supplanted by Myers in the short term, with Kazmir struggling and Myer’s pre-disabled list issues, being the first one up could turn into a full-season opportunity. Of course Carrasco looks ready and when the suspension becomes workable, he should be in Cleveland as soon as possible.
However, Kluber has been solid, possibly establishing a role as sixth starter or maybe long guy in the pen. In fact, to my surprise, Corey has flashed some above-average velocity, specifically against Detroit on Tuesday night.
I am not much of a Kluber supporter. In the past, I have been incredibly disappointed in him as a prospect but this call-up Kluber has looked different. Excluding his first start against Detroit this season, Kluber has averaged six innings plus and three runs or less. These numbers won’t exactly knock your socks off but he has filled in adequately in an area of need.
Kluber’s control looks to have improved as well as he has walked only one and a half per nine while striking out eight and a half per nine. Lastly, Kluber’s FIP (Fielding Independent Ptiching adjusted to E.R.A. scale) has him at 3.62, vastly outperforming the 5.19 E.R.A. he has to date.
Once again, I don’t believe Kluber is a full-time starter in the big leagues, but I do believe that he offers solid value to this teams as a sixth/seventh starter or perhaps as a long man and he has done quality job covering for an rotation injury.
Up Next: Indians vs. Red Sox @ Fenway Park 1:35 PM
Scott Kazmir 2-2 with a 6.35 E.R.A. faces Red Sox lefty Jon Lester 6-1 with a 3.15 E.R.A. Kazmir has struggled in his last two outings and this is a key starter for the re-energized lefty. To date, Kazmir’s velocity has slowly been peaking, however, performance has not completely coincided with increased fastball velocity. One has to think with the depth waiting in Columbus that Kazmir has just four or five more starts left to figure it out.
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Depth? Bauer has been awful his previous two starts and Carrasco is no more reliable than Kazmir. There is no depth in this organization as far as starting pitching is concerned.