Kluber gets chance to bounce back vs. struggling Padres bats
After winning their home opener, the Cleveland Indians weren’t able to keep that momentum going throughout the rest of a three-game set.
They’ll attempt to bounce back in a visit from the San Diego Padres on Monday night, and Corey Kluber will try to get the series off to a strong start while rebounding from his first loss since the end of June.
Cleveland (3-3) beat Minnesota 7-2 on Friday but gave up a combined 17 runs in the next two games against its AL Central rival. The Twins took the lead for good in a 10-7 victory in Sunday’s finale with a three-run sixth inning.
The Indians, 51-30 at home in 2013 en route to their first playoff appearance in six years, will try to get back in the win column in their first interleague game of 2014. Cleveland was 8-2 against NL visitors last season and is facing San Diego (2-4) for the first time since taking two of three at Progressive Field from June 13-15, 2008.
Kluber will try to help send his team toward another series victory over the Padres. The right-hander, who won 11 games in his first full season, suffered his first defeat in 13 starts dating to June 27 with a 6-1 loss in Oakland on Wednesday.
Kluber failed to make it out of the fourth inning and was charged with five runs, eight hits and three walks.
"That was very un-Kluber like," manager Terry Francona told the team’s website. "He’ll bounce back. He just threw a lot of pitches (77), had to work for everything he got, had a lot of deep counts and fell behind a lot of hitters because of that. And, when he made a mistake, it came in the zone and they hit it."
Kluber will next face a team that’s batted .189 and scored 12 runs in its first six games. The Padres, however, managed to snap a four-game skid with a 4-2 win in Miami on Sunday.
Alexi Amarista hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning on his 25th birthday and helped San Diego score more than three runs for the first time this season.
"No doubt we’ve got to get the bats going," manager Bud Black said. "I’ve said that repeatedly over the last three to four days. You look at some of those averages and they’re obviously a little low. We need those guys to start getting some hits."
Black will send out Robbie Erlin for his first start of the season. The No. 5 starter was slated to pitch Tuesday but Black wanted to give Tyson Ross an extra day of rest.
Black also wanted to split up his two left-handers in the rotation, Erlin and Eric Stults, who will start Wednesday.
Erlin went 3-3 with a 4.12 ERA in 11 games – nine starts – last season. He made a relief appearance Wednesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers and recorded two outs in the eighth inning of a 5-1 defeat.
Erlin is making his first start against Cleveland. Elliot Johnson is the only Indians player to have faced him, going 1 for 3.
Seth Smith is the only Padres hitter to have faced Kluber and struck out in each of his three at-bats.