ALL. HAIL. KLUBOT.
Records: Cleveland 25-30, Colorado 28-26
Watching Corey Kluber dominate the opposition is one of the few things keeping hope alive. Start after start, Kluber continues to assert his role as not only a bona fide ace, but a truly elite starter. Tonight's game was no exception. Klubot's indestructible vibranium chassis sparkled over 7.1 innings as he notched another 12 strikeout to add to his league-leading total. The offense did its part for a change, backing up Kluber with what qualifies as an offensive explosion these days, helping the Indians take game one from the Rockies.
Kluber was nails from the start, getting through the first two innings easily and striking out the side in the 3rd. The only blip in an otherwise excellent outing was a two-run homer by Carlos Gonzalez in the 4th, and even the best pitcher in the league can be forgiven for being taken deep by Cargo. Kluber did manage keep the best hitter in the game entirely off the base paths, retiringTroy Tulowitzki easily in three at bats. But for a while, it looked like Kluber's start would be for naught. The Tribe offense managed just one run - courtesy of a Lonnie Chisenhall RBI single - in the first four innings. It was shaping up to be another one of *those* games, but something weird happened in the 5th inning.
David Murphy doubled to lead off the 5th, moved to third on a sac fly from Jesus Aguilar, and scored on a Michael Bourn single. Next up was Asdrubal Cabrera, who promptly deposited one into the right field seats to put the Tribe in the lead 4-2 (NB: suck it, Pluto). Doubles by Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall tacked on another run, and it was all the Indians would need given the pitching they had tonight.
Kluber pitched 1-2-3 6th and 7th innings, departing to a standing ovation with one out in the 8th. He finished the night with 12 K's, two runs, five hits, and just one walk. Mark Rzepczynski came on in relief and continued the pitching dominance, inducing a groundout and striking out Corey Dickerson swinging.
Cody Allen came on for a dominant 9th inning, striking out Tulo and Cargo back-to-back on two nearly identical, knee-shattering curveballs and inducing a weak pop-up for the third out. Was he perhaps giving us a glimpse of his potential as the Tribe's future shut-down closer? Wouldn't that be something.
This was a satisfying game to watch. A solid offensive performance, another excellent outing from our ace, and zero errors. I honestly can't believe I'm typing that. But seriously, in case anyone is doubting Klubot's emergence as an ace, here's his line for the month of May (h/t to no1ever):
4-0 in 6 games, 43 IP, 34 H, 8 BB, 60 K, 10 ER, 2.09 ERA, .977 WHIP
Once again, folks, that is elite. That is special. Even if we've got nothing else to be excited about in 2014, get excited about Corey Kluber.
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