Corey Kluber has been the rock of the Cleveland Indians‘ rotation so far this year. He went seven strong innings against an extremely hot Detroit Tigers team, and helped the Tribe prevail in extra innings. The Indians had lost four in a row before this victory, and hadn’t won a game since Kluber’s last start.
The 28-year-old right-hander had all of his stuff working well tonight, striking out eight hitters. He definitely sent a message to the Tigers as Kluber’s first pitch to Miguel Cabrera ran well inside and nearly hit the reigning MVP. It clearly bothered Cabrera, who proceeded to strike out in that same at bat.
Kluber only made a few mistakes in his outing tonight, allowing Detroit to score three runs while he was pitching. He left a ball out over the plate to Rajai Davis in the fifth inning which resulted in a two-run double. And the only other run the Tigers produced against Kluber was a solo home run by Victor Martinez in the top of the second, when Kluber threw a curveball down and in and Martinez golfed it over the right field wall.
The key for Kluber was being able to minimize the damage when runners reached base. This is the big reason why Kluber is succeeding (not to mention exceptional movement on his cutter and curveball) and the other Tribe pitchers have had trouble recently.
This was a huge win for the Cleveland Indians, who had a miserable record against the Tigers last year (4-15). It would be the perfect time for the Indians to bust out of their slump, not only to get their season back on track, but to prove to the Tigers (and themselves) that they can compete in the AL Central.