video thumbnail

KC@CLE: Kluber fans career-high 11 in complete game

Indians manager Terry Francona is not big into trends. He does not care what happened in the previous day's game or what statistics reveal about the past week or month. To him, all that matters is each at-bat or plate appearance.

That explains why, when asked about his team's offensive woes throughout April, he will not cite a specific problem.

"I always think it's different every day," Francona said. "That's why I don't think you ever really hear me say how we are in the last 10 [games], or how we are in the last trip, or the month of April, because it really doesn't matter. What matters is or record and what we do going forward."

Cleveland believes that its offense will warm up with the weather. After all, the Indians experienced similar woes in the batter's box in the early portion of last season.

In the meantime, the Indians can consider themselves fortunate to have their No. 2 starter, right-hander Corey Kluber, taking the mound opposite the veteran Jered Weaver for Tuesday's tilt against the Angels. Kluber has not required much run support lately. In fact, he was about as good as it gets in his last trip up the hill.

On Thursday in Cleveland, Kluber dismantled Kansas City's lineup in his first career complete game. Not once did Francona warm up a reliever while Kluber sliced his way through 101 pitches. He ended with a career-best 11 strikeouts and issued no walks, with just one unearned run relinquished.

"It was nice," Kluber said. "I really wasn't trying to make a bigger deal out of it than going out there and trying to get three more outs. Maybe that's why it worked out."

That outing marked the first time since May 15, 1981 -- Len Barker's perfect game -- that an Indians pitcher had at least 11 strikeouts with no walks or earned runs allowed in a complete game.

"He's not the loudest guy in the clubhouse, but there's a fire there, man," Francona said. "He competes. One of the nice things about the way he pitches, he gives me a reason to brag about him, which I love. He wants to be really good, and he goes at it the right way.

"For a kid that doesn't have a ton of time in the Major Leagues, he's a good pro."

Over his past four starts (29 innings), Kluber has a 2.79 ERA, with 29 strikeouts and just three walks. In three of his five outings this month, he ended with zero walks on his line. Against the Royals, he threw 74 percent of his pitches for strikes.

Weaver has also turned it on of late, spinning a 1.50 ERA in 12 innings across his past two starts. On Wednesday in Washington, he was charged with one run on seven hits, finishing with two strikeouts and one walk in a no-decision.

Indians: Chisenhall vs. righties
With Weaver slated to take the mound, there is a good chance that Lonnie Chisenhall will be in the lineup. The lefty-swinging Chisenhall has seen only one at-bat against a left-hander this season but has hit at a .381 clip through 15 games.

Francona has tried to maximize Chisenhall's offense by playing the percentages.

"That's a really hard one for me," Francona said. "You get a guy like Lonnie that's got the ability to play every day. And you think, well, 'OK, the only way he's ever going to find out is if you do it.' But then you've got a guy like [Mike] Aviles sitting there. So you try to strike a balance, and winning has to always come first."

Angels: Morin waiting his turn
The way the Angels have had trouble hanging on to late leads, the Major League debut of rookie right-hander Mike Morin should come quickly. Morin was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake on Sunday to help the Angels' struggling bullpen.

"I think Mike has really progressed," manager Mike Scioscia said of the 2012 13th-round Draft choice, who began the season with Double-A Arkansas but was quickly promoted to Salt Lake. "We need guys who can come up and hold leads for us. We think Mike can do that."

Worth noting
• The Indians headed into this series ranked 12th in the American League in team homers, with only 17. Yan Gomes' solo homer on Sunday snapped a 52-inning drought for the Tribe. Carlos Santana added a three-run shot in the fourth inning on Monday.

• Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton (surgery on left thumb) expects to have the cast removed from his hand by the end of this week, and he is scheduled to resume baseball activities (throwing and swinging a bat) next week.

• Indians designated hitter Jason Giambi might be in Tuesday's lineup, considering he has hit .353 in his career against Weaver. Santana has hit at a .500 clip off the right-hander.

MLB.com Comments