The Cleveland Indians starting rotation that was the backbone of their success last year has been questionable this season. The pitchers have a combined record of 18-19 with a 4.89 ERA in 46 starts. This has been a Dr. Jeykll and Mr. Hyde starting rotation. There have been great games to watch and then there have been some horrendous outings.
It starts at the top with the Cleveland ace, Corey Kluber. He is currently on the disabled list but is expected to be back Thursday. Klubot is 3-2 on the year in six starts which isn’t terrible, but the machine looks human after all. He has surrendered 21 earned runs including seven home runs to give him a 5.06 ERA. Corey has experienced some rough outings this year, but his return is more than needed.
Meanwhile, Mike Clevinger has been a respectable replacement. He has won two of the four games he started while losing one. He has an ERA of 2.82 with a surprising 25 strikeouts and a mediocre 12 walks.
Besides the pleasant surprise of Clevinger, the one bright spot of Cleveland rotation has been Carlos Carrasco. He has a 4-2 record with a 2.93 ERA and a 0.54 WHIP. Also, he has allowed 19 runs in 58.1 innings pitched and currently averaging one strikeout per inning. He has been the anchor for the Indians rotation. Cookie is ranked 18th in the league for ERA but has been more reliable than Danny Salazar, Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin who rank 82nd, 90th and 92nd.
The point is the bottom three of the rotation has been horrendous. Salazar lost six games last years and has lost five already in 2017. He does have three wins and 73 strikeouts in just 52.1 innings but has underwhelmed with 32 earned runs and 5.50 ERA. The Indians need Salazar to regain his 2016 form and solidify the middle of the rotation.
Although Cleveland can improve all over, the tail end of the rotation has been questionable. Both Bauer and Tomlin have ERAs over 6.00 and have a combined 10 losses in 18 starts. They have been tough to watch on more than one occasion. Bauer looks a tad better than Tomlin, but something’s got to give.
As mentioned earlier, Kluber is expected back Thursday so a decision has to be made. Clevinger has pitched well and arguably earned a spot in the rotation. That move could pump an underperforming pitcher. A trip to the bullpen might do Josh well like it has done in the past. This move may also motivate Trevor to ball harder knowing he may be next. It’s all speculation until we find out Thursday.
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