By Joe Cooper @joeRantSports on May 10, 2014
A player catching fire implies that at one point they were not playing particularly well. As the Tribe continues to distance itself from the dog days of April, these five guys are beginning to turn the corner as the team tries to win their third consecutive series against the Tampa Bay Rays. The offense is beginning to become more balanced and the pitching has been exceptional as the Wahoos have won six of their last eight.
Although there is still a lot of work to be done, Danny Salazar is beginning to come into his 2013 mold that earned him the starting nod in the Wild Card game. The team has won in his last two starts as the 24-year-old retired 13 by way of strikeouts in 11.1 innings.
Allowing 14 ER in his first four starts was not the beginning Corey Kluber had in mind. Fortunately for the Tribe Kluber got back on track in his last four outings giving up just six ER. The best start of the year for the Indians was Kluber’s eight-inning appearance against the Chicago White Sox where he blanked 13 batters on two walks and one earned. His efforts went to the wind when John Axford blew the doors open for a White Sox game-winner.
After Justin Masterson’s impressive Opening Day start he sputtered throughout the rest of April with a 4.84 ERA. In his last two outings the Tribe ace is beginning to regain his form administering just two ER in 13.2 innings, calming his ERA down to 3.86.
In the past three games alone Asdrubal Cabrera has boosted his hitting average from .205 to .254 with nine hits in his last 13 at-bats. The 28-year-old shortstop is deflecting talk of his status with the team with his bat hitting .367/.441/.667 in May.
The utility infielder has enjoyed a hot May so far as the ball is beginning to drop for hits on a regular basis. With a contact percentage of 86% Mike Aviles is reaching base hitting the ball to both sides of the diamond by the way of bloops, grounders and line drives. This run of success was made possible by All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis' trip to the disabled list.
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