Hard-luck Kluber: Ace's record far from indicative of performance

BY foxsports • July 24, 2015

Pitching far better than his record indicates, Corey Kluber is grateful anytime the Cleveland Indians can be productive at plate.

After receiving more than enough run support in his last outing, Kluber tries to win consecutive starts for the second time this season Friday night against the visiting Chicago White Sox.

In danger of perhaps becoming the AL's first 11-game loser, Kluber (5-10, 3.38 ERA) had 10 victories by this point last season when he finished 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA en route to winning the AL Cy Young Award. He received an average run support of 4.39 in 2014, but is getting only 2.74 this year.

However, Cleveland (45-49) broke out Saturday when he yielded three runs and seven hits in 7 2-3 innings of a 9-4 victory at Cincinnati. Kluber last won two straight starts May 23 and 28.

"Just to let Kluber have a game where he had a little bit of a lead, that was really good," manager Terry Francona told MLB's official website. "It's a nice way to play a game. It's a formula for winning."

Kluber has never called out his teammates for their offensive shortcomings, but certainly welcomed pitching with a 6-1 lead after 2 1/2 innings last weekend.

"When you have that cushion, you can kind of get away with some stuff, because you don't have to worry about being quite as fine," said Kluber, 5-5 with a 2.62 ERA in his last 13 starts. "You can just go out there and attack guys."

The Indians totaled one run while Kluber went 0-1 with a 4.20 ERA and struck out 18 in two road losses against Chicago (43-50) this season. He's 2-0 with a 2.40 ERA in his last two home starts versus the White Sox.

Melky Cabrera, 7 for 15 with a double and a triple against Kluber, homered twice in Chicago's 8-1 series-opening rout Thursday. Cabrera is batting .333 with six RBIs in the last five games.

After being held to one or two runs five times while losing six of the previous seven, the White Sox hit a season-high four homers Thursday. Jose Abreu did not homer, but singled to extend his hitting streak against the Indians to 11 games.

Run support has been an even bigger problem for Chicago's Jose Quintana (4-9, 3.83), who has been backed with a league-low 2.63 per game. His teammates have scored five runs while he's gone 1-1 with a 1.38 ERA against Cleveland in 2015.

The left-hander, however, looks for a better effort after his string of nine straight quality starts ended Saturday when he allowed four runs and 10 hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 7-6, 13-inning loss to Kansas City.

"It's too hard for me when you want to go and get the quality start for the team," he said. "I'll keep going for the next one."

Michael Bourn is 2 for his last 14 with six strikeouts against Quintana, but he and rookie Francisco Lindor combined for half of the four hits Cleveland managed against Jeff Samardzija and the White Sox on Thursday.

Lindor is batting .391 (9 for 23) with three RBIs in the last five contests for the Indians, who have totaled five runs and hit .152 during a three-game home slide.

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