First, the good news: For the first time this season, the Cleveland Indians scored a run in support of starting pitcher Corey Kluber.
The bad news: It wasn’t anywhere close to enough, thanks largely to Corey Kluber.
The Tribe closed out an awkward two-games-in-three-days-with-an-off-day-in-between home-opening series with an 8-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
Kluber was a near disaster in the first inning. He labored through 36 erratic pitches, issuing two walks and allowing three hits. The White Sox scored three runs, two of them unearned thanks to Eric Stamets’ inability to field a grounder from Jose Abreu. Kluber’s lack of command was a recurring theme beyond the first inning. He lasted 3.1 innings and was tagged for eight hits, six runs (four of them earned), and three walks, to go along with a meager four strikeouts.
It was an uncharacteristic outing for the Indians’ ace in more ways than one. Previously, Kluber was 9-0 with a 1.81 ERA, 100 strikeouts, and 13 walks in his last 74.2 innings against the White Sox. The bases loaded walk he issued to Dan Palka in the first inning was the first of his career.
What’s more perplexing is that the rotation had to be shuffled because Kluber did not want to pitch on Thursday with an extra day’s rest, so Shane Bieber’s first start of the season was pushed back to Friday. It was all for naught, as evidenced by today’s performance.
The Indians’ first run of the game came on a Carlos Santana RBI single in the first to score Jose Ramirez and put runners at first and second with one out, but Hanley Ramirez and Greg Allen struckout to end the inning. Hanley attempted to redeem himself in the ninth with a two-run homer to cut the White Sox lead to five, but it was too little too late.
Roberto Perez continues to search for that elusive first hit of the season. He is 0-for-11 through the Indians’ first five games. Greg Allen and Eric Stamets are both hitless, as well.