Corey Kluber’s numbers aren’t pretty, and he’s still winless after six starts this season. Yet after another rough outing, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner said there’s nothing wrong with him physically.
Jose Bautista drove in four runs and the Toronto Blue Jays roughed up Kluber in beating the Cleveland Indians 11-4 on Saturday.
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Kluber (0-4) allowed five runs and eight hits in five-plus innings. The Indians have lost all of his six starts this season.
”My stuff’s the same as it always is,” Kluber said after being asked how he feels physically.
Kluber believes his problem is related to pitch sequence.
”I’m not doing that good a job of keeping guys honest,” he said. ”For the most part guys are hanging out over the plate and when they do that, they eliminate one half of the plate. When you do make a mistake it’s kind of magnified.”
Manager Terry Francona said there are no health concerns with Kluber.
”He was fighting his fastball command early, especially to his arm side so he started out throwing a lot of cutters,” Francona said. ”Once they kind of got a bead on that he was never able to command his fastball like he can or will.”
Bautista’s two-run single in the fifth broke a 2-all tie and Russell Martin homered in the fourth. Kluber was pulled after Kevin Pillar’s leadoff double in the sixth when Toronto scored six unearned runs.
Kluber was 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA last season, earning him a five-year, $38 million contract. The right-hander has allowed 17 runs and 31 hits over 17 1-3 innings in his last three starts, and has a 4.62 ERA overall
Aaron Sanchez (2-2) allowed two runs in 5 2-3 innings despite walking six. Martin had three hits while Edwin Encarnacion drove in two runs.
Toronto loaded the bases on a single and two walks with nobody out in the fifth. Pitching coach Mickey Callaway visited the mound, but Bautista singled up the middle for a two-run lead.
Bautista added a two-run double in the sixth when the Blue Jays sent 10 batters to the plate. Third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall’s throwing error made all the runs unearned.
While Kluber hasn’t shown last season’s form, he’s gotten little help from his offense. The Indians have managed nine runs overall with him on the mound and been shut out twice.
Kluber dismissed the lack of run support as being a problem.
”When you do that you start adding extra pressure,” he said. ”It’s already hard enough.”
Kluber went 2-3 with a 4.14 ERA in six April starts last season, and finished 16-6 with a 2.13 ERA in his last 28 starts.
The Indians haven’t won consecutive games since April 8-9, the second and third games of the season.
Chisenhall, Carlos Santana, Michael Brantley, Chisenhall and Roberto Perez had RBIs for Cleveland.
THIRD TIME WORKED
Bautista struck out in his first two at-bats against Kluber before delivering in the fifth.
”All I know he was throwing strikes early and expanding,” Bautista said. ”Some guys were able to get walks early and even though he got ahead early. We put a good sequence of at-bats together and got some runs.”
Blue Jays: 2B Devon Travis (sore left collarbone) returned to the lineup after missing Friday’s game. He took a hard grounder hit by Brandon Moss off the shoulder in shallow right field Thursday.
Indians: CF Michael Bourn was scratched from the lineup because of a cervical strain. He slid into the plate Friday and was shaken up briefly after hitting the ground face-first, but remained in the game.
Blue Jays: Toronto has won four of five games started by RHP Drew Hutchison, who will go against the Indians in Sunday’s series finale. He allowed six runs in four innings against Boston on Tuesday.
Indians: RHP Trevor Bauer (2-0) looks to stay unbeaten in his first career start against the Blue Jays. He’s pitched at least six innings in each of his four starts.