Roster Update: The Indians allowed the Pittsburgh Pirates to claim John Axford off waivers yesterday, saving the team the final month and a half of his contract. The move was made possible by the success of young pitchers like Kyle Crockett and Nick Hagadone along with the undependable nature of Axford.
In his place, Michael Bourn has finally been activated from the DL. Bourn has played in just 66 games between two DL trips thanks to his hamstring, but could be a huge part of the Indians for the rest of the season with both David Murphy and Nick Swisher expected to be out at least a month.
Player of the Game
As seems to happen in every game he pitches, Corey Kluber took home tonight’s Player of the Game. This time around he threw 7.2 innings he allowed just one earned run and even that wasn’t completely his fault (more on that later). Kluber struck out 10 (more on that as well), leading to a POG score of 7.84 in his no decision. He has now won the Player of the Game in six straight starts and nine of his last ten to move into first on the team with 13 total this year.
Zach Walters is making it very easy for Tribe fans to forget Asdrubal Cabrera, a player many wanted to forget while he was still in Cleveland. Walters gave the Tribe the lead in the fifth with his second home run as an Indian. His first home run came earlier this week and was a walk-off shot against Arizona that gave the Tribe a 3-2 win. Walters also singled later in the game and has reached base in each of his first four games with Cleveland.
Corey Kluber has been shutting teams down so easily this season he tried to make things a little bit more interesting for himself tonight, giving the Orioles a few scoring chances before shutting them down. The biggest was in the third when Ryan Flaherty and Jonathan Schoop singled prior to a one out walk to load the bases. With the table set, Kluber struck out two in a row to end the inning. In his 7.2 innings, five hits, two walks and a Mike Aviles error lead to seven Baltimore base runners, all but one were stranded on base. His only run allowed came after he was pulled from the game in the eighth when Bryan Shaw let Nelson Cruz score from first on two singles.
KKKKKKKKKKluber Watch: Corey started slow, but struck out three in the fifth and two more in the seventh to bring his game total to ten. With that, he now has 197 on the season as he looks to become the first Indians pitcher with 200 K’s in a year since C.C. Sabathia did it in 2007 (209 total). He came into the game tied for 31st in single season strike outs in Indians history with Len Barker (1980 and 1982) and is now in sole possession of 23rd, surpassing Bob Feller’s 1947 season. He remains on pace to finish the season somewhere between fifth and fifteenth in Indians history.
Scott Atchison threw an incredible 10th and 11th innings, striking out one and earning his sixth win of the season to push his record to 6-0. The win was made possible by Mike Aviles, who hit the Indians second solo home run of the night to lead off the bottom of the 11th.
In another questionable bullpen decision, Bryan Shaw was brought in by Terry Francona in the top of the eighth with two outs and a runner on. While Shaw has been fairly solid all season, he has pitched in five of the Indians last six games and gave up singles to both Orioles batters he faced. While Kluber was likely unable to pitch any more after reaching a season high 116 pitches, almost anyone would have been a better choice coming out of the bullpen, including Cody Allen, who ended up having to pitch in the eighth anyway after Shaw was unable to retire a single batter.
Yet again, the top of the line-up was unable to produce as the Indians have scored just one run in the past two games. Tonight, the starting two through six hitters went 2/19 with five strike outs. It is possible that the Indians currently have the best starting pitcher in the American League in Corey Kluber, but unless the offense is able to perform at a minimum level, they won’t even be able to win when he starts. It is a shame that he was unable to acquire his 14th win of the year despite leaving the game in the eight inning without allowing a run.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 2 – Baltimore Orioles 1
On Deck: The Indians will get to see Ubaldo Jimenez on the side of the field they prefer as he will start against Carlos Carrasco, Saturday night at 7:05 PM in Cleveland.