Cleveland Indians' Starting Pitching Has To Step Up To Stop Slump

By Matt Loede
Getty Images
Getty Images

The Cleveland Indians are in the middle of an ugly swoon. Sitting at 11-16, they are in last place in the AL Central and are set to limp home after another game on the west coast, a trip in which they are so far 0-5 against the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Angels. They haven’t been able to get big hits when needed, and their pitching has also been average at best.

Monday the team’s ace Justin Masterson couldn’t stop the bleeding, going 7.1 innings, allowing five earned runs on seven hits, two walks and six strikeouts. His early slump has seen him issue a team high 15 walks, give up 19 earned runs and carry a 4.84 ERA. The team is counting on him for not only being a veteran leader, but also to do what he does best and pitch well — which to this point he hasn’t.

Masterson isn’t the only issue; the team hasn’t been able to get much from either Danny Salazar (6.04 ERA, 0-3 record) or Carlos Carrasco, who was just thrown to the pen, sporting an 0-3 mark with a 6.95 ERA. When three of your top five starters are struggling, it’s going to cause issues. The pen has been pushed way too much, and as manager Terry Francona has pointed out countless times, there’s no better way for your baseball team to struggle than to blow out your pen night in and night out.

Corey Kluber and more so Zach McAllister have carried the starting staff to this point, going a combined 5-4 and showing some spark for the starting unit. But there’s no way they can do it on their own. It’s time for the rest of the staff to step up or this season may get even worse before it gets better.

Matt Loede has covered the Cleveland Indians for 20 years for National Networks like AP Radio, Metro Networks and other local and national stations. Follow him on twitter @mattloede.

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