Bravo Corey Kluber

by Gordon Watkin | Posted on Tuesday, May 19th, 2015
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Kluber has transcended his season with 30 strikeouts in his last two starts.

Corey Kluber is back, and it has hitters terrified. In my last piece involving Corey Kluber, I touched upon some of the inconsistencies in his approach, which included the abandonment of his pitch selection that earned him a Cy Young Award in 2014. Recommendations included throwing less cut fastballs and more curveballs to change the eye level of hitters and off the inside of the plate. Well he did just that, striking out 30 hitters in two starts, the second highest mark in franchise history. Furthermore Kluber struck out the first 5 batters he faced against the Chicago White Sox, and appeared prompt to pitch further into last night’s ballgame should Terry Francona have requested.

Prior to his incredible run, Kluber possessed a 5.06 ERA, was winless and struggled to keep the opposition off the base paths owning a WHIP of 1.402. Following his recent dominance, Kluber has lowered his ERA to 3.79 and now owns a WHIP of 1.12 in large part due to the 30 strikeouts to single walk accumulated throughout 17 masterful innings. Kluber was rewarded for his efforts receiving his first win of the season against St Louis, and an unfortunate no-decision in yesterday’s 2-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox.

Kluber had shown signs of resurgence, as he was the recipient of an inflated BABIP this season, and received an anemic amount of run support. While the lack of runs has been a continued trend in each of Kluber’s last two starts, it appears the right-hander is simply moving beyond the fact his team struggles to generate offense during his starts, and is taking matters into his own hands.

The reasoning behind Kluber’s success lays completely on pitch selection, throwing his cut fastball less frequently, to preserve the pitch as an “out” option. The curveball has been used more, changing the eye-level of hitters, and the implementation of the four-seam fastball and changeup has added a change-of-pace dynamic to matchups. Hitters are held honest and obliged to protect the plate in 2-strike counts, and are not able to lock in on the cut fastball as they had most of this season.

Kluber is scheduled to pitch May 23rd against cross state rival Cincinnati, facing the likes of Jay Bruce and Joey Votto. Bruce has been mitigated, going 2-4 with two singles and no RBIs or Runs. Votto has never faced Kluber in his career, making for an interesting matchup, as Votto has hit .275 with 7 Homeruns, 16 RBIs and an OBP of .389 thus far in 2015. Votto also possesses a healthy 17BB/23K ratio. Should Kluber be able to mitigate the Reds’ power bats, his dominance will ensue.

Welcome back Corey Kluber, you were missed.

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Gordon Watkin
About the Author

Gordon is a Sport Management graduate from Brock University. He has a background playing professional soccer, but is an avid sports fan particularly of the Cleveland Indians. Follow Gordon on Twitter @GordonWatkin.

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