All pitchers, no matter how they are, will have duds every once in a while. It is concerning, though, when you have three duds in a row. That's how many bad outings Corey Kluber has had in a row. The good news is that Kluber's velocity hasn't dipped; he was regularly hitting 95-96 in yesterday's game.
Perhaps Kluber has gotten too predictable when it comes to location, as was the case in a couple circumstances yesterday. Pitching is all about creating uncertainty in the minds of the hitter; although stuff (velocity and movement) certainly helps, the battle between pitcher and hitter takes place mostly in the realm of the mind. When a major-league hitter can eliminate locations, he becomes a great hitter. Most of the big hits the Blue Jays had on the day came on pitches out over the plate, so perhaps next time you'll see Kluber buzz hitters on the inside half of the plate in his next appearance.
Tyler Holt got the start yesterday, and it wasn't because Terry Francona wanted to get him into a game as quickly as possible after his recall. Michael Bourn was suffering from a bit of whiplash sustained when he slide hard into home plate in Friday night's game. Bourn has been hitting much of late, and hopefully he'll only miss the one game.
As a season turns south, you tend to look at just about any possible to turn things around. Paul Hoynes looks at the reasons why Francisco Lindor is still in Columbus, and whether bringing him up would be the tonic that this team desperately needs. Lindor would provide an immediate defensive upgrade over Jose Ramirez, who has looked a lot worse this season at shortstop. I wouldn't count on him immediately become a top-of-order catalyst that he could eventually become, though.
The issue that is become readily apparent to me is that the Indians' roster just isn't built very well. The position players aren't hitting or fielding (usually you pick one, preferably you have a couple that can do both). The bullpen isn't the dominating force that it was a year ago, which magnifies the flaws on the hitting side of the ledger. I hate to make comparisons to teams in other sports, but the Cavaliers faced a similar issue early in their season, and made a series of trades that gave their rotation a more balanced composition. It's getting to the point where the Indians need to make those kinds of moves.
Latest 25-man/40-man roster
Nick Swisher is in the latter stages of his rehab assignment in Columbus, and the Indians will need a starter for when TJ House's spot in the rotation comes up again. The Indians will likely send down/designate a reliever and Tyler Holt for those two spots, which will mean that once again Mike Aviles would be the backup center fielder. Perhaps the Indians are looking to trade David Murphy, which would allow them to keep a true backup outfield on their roster.
You'll notice that I've listed the 2015 WAR this time, which is now available from Baseball-Reference. The pitching stats are pretty much what you'd expect, but some of the position player stats are rather curious. Lonnie Chisenhall is hitting .227/.263/.307, yet has one of the highest WARs among position players, which is apparently due to his defense (Rfield = 5). The same with Jason Kipnis, who has a 0.8 WAR largely because of defense (Rfield = 4). Michael Bourn has a poor hitting and fielding component, and as such is the worst position player on the team according to WAR.
Finally, to the person who sent the postcard: Thank you. Your words were both touching and humbling. The only response I can manage is to promise that we will try to continue to provide Tribe fans a home away from home, wherever they might be in the world.