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Second Thoughts Game #64: Indians 5, Rangers 2

With each start, Corey Kluber continues to prove his worth to team

Second Thoughts Game #64: Indians 5, Rangers 2
June 12, 2013
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It's Finally Over

A win! Some of us may have forgotten what it felt like. Losing streaks are tough on a team and its fans, but it's trying times like these that show what a team is really made of regardless of whatever hype surrounded it prior to the season. After a three-week stretch in which the Cleveland Indians played baseball reminiscent of the legendary 1990s teams came three weeks of highly-forgettable games, including the eight-game losing streak, which the Tribe snapped with a 5-2 win over Texas on Tuesday.

Now the question is which team is the real Indians? Or perhaps neither is a true representation of their capabilities and we're still waiting for the real Tribe to show up. One thing's for sure, though, if the Indians want to work their way back into contention, they'll need to play as much quality baseball as they can regardless of their opponent. That means each part of the team picking each other up as they did on Tuesday night where the offense took the early lead and built on it throughout the game to keep the pressure off Corey Kluber, who pitched extremely well.

Keep It Up, Corey!

Speaking of which, there is no possible way I can give postgame analysis about this particular victory without doing some bragging about Indians starter Kluber, who I have defended for quite some time amidst rampant skepticism. Well tonight the right-hander may have put a considerable amount of that doubt to rest as he pitched a career-high eight innings in Tuesday's 5-2 Indians victory. Kluber had carried a shutout two thirds of the ways into the eighth inning until giving up an RBI double to David Murphy to put Texas on the board.

Considering that Kluber was coming off a frustrating start against the Yankees and that the Rangers are by far an elite offensive ball club, eight innings of one-run ball is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. In theory, Kluber probably could've had a shot at a complete game shutout if he had put another zero on the board, but who knows since AJ Pierzynski clubbed a solo shot in the ninth. The Indians were victorious and he still got the win.

Not too long ago, some were questioning Kluber's ability to pitch in the majors. Looking at the facts, he's only had one true bad start out of nine so far this season back in Detroit on May 10th where he only lasted four and two thirds innings while giving up eight runs. However as his season has gone on, it's looking more and more like that particular start was an anomaly as the right-hander has posted a 3.08 ERA in his other appearances in 2013 and has had a quality start against the Tigers since then.

Yes, he struggled in New York last week, but he recovered after a poor start to the game to pitch six innings and save the bullpen, which at the time was in need of some time off. Terry Francona said it himself after the game. Kluber is growing up before our eyes as a pitcher and learning fast. He's now 4-4 with a 4.09 ERA on the year and has stepped up potentially as a long-term solution for a rotation spot temporarily vacated by injured veteran starterBrett Myers.

Quote of the Game:

"It's good to get back in the 'W' column. We can stop worrying about it now and just relax and play ball," – Mark Reynolds on snapping the eight-game losing streak.

Quick Game Facts:

Despite their recent struggles, the Indians own an 11-2 record against AL West teams this season.

Corey Kluber is the first starting pitcher this season to pitch at least eight innings against Texas at Rangers Ballpark.

All Indians starting players collected a hit in Tuesday night's game for the fifth time this season.

Up Next: Indians vs. Rangers @ Rangers Ballpark. First pitch at 8:05pm ET.

The Indians not only snapped their losing streak. They now have a chance to claim their first series victory since sweeping Seattle, another AL West team, in four games on May 17th-20th. Ubaldo Jimenez has seen both ends of the spectrum in his last two starts as he took a beating in Detroit last week after dominating Tampa Bay the weekend before. He'll be opposed on Wednesday by the Rangers and young right-hander Nick Tepesch.

Right now, it's all about winning the games at hand and getting back in a groove before talking about challenging the Tigers in the division race again. These guys had their backs against the wall and pieced together a quality team win. Now, can they build off it? That's the question.

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

User Comments

June 12, 2013 - 7:12 PM EDT
kipnis and cabrera strike out way too much for 2 and 3 hitters. its bad enough our rbi guys k so much but these two are terrible this year with all the ks.

would move cabby after the yr to save money and aviles will perform just as well until lindor is there late next yr.

cabby has tanked each of the last 2 yrs and was no better before he got hurt.

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