The Cleveland Indians starting pitching staff wasn’t exactly lights-out after their first rotation to start their 2014 campaign. After ace Justin Masterson‘s seven-inning, three-hit shutout on opening day, the Indians starters have managed just four innings per start, giving up 35 hits, nine earned runs and 15 walks in the past five games.
Tonight against the San Diego Padres, Corey Kluber gave his team six quality innings, striking out eight and leaving the game with a 6-3 lead. The Indians went on to squeak by 8-6. It may only be the third series of a long, grueling MLB season, but it’s absolutely pivotal for Cleveland to get a good start if they want to make a run like last season. With the Central Division improved all around and an always tough Detroit Tigers leading the way, the Indians can’t afford to fall behind early on in the season.
As the season grinds on, it’s going to be more difficult for quality starts as opposing teams get more familiar with the pitchers and arms start to fatigue. The Tribe’s lineup has been producing runs since spring and with a solid defense behind them, it’s up to the pitching staff to give the team early success.
Kluber’s performance tonight was a complete 180 from his first start where he gave up five runs in only three innings. It’s a bounce back Indians fans are hoping to see from the rest of Cleveland’s pitching staff.