Tribe improves to 43-44
In his final start before All-Star rosters are announced, Corey Kluber made an emphatic case that he belongs on the American League team, striking out 10 in 8.1 innings, while allowing just 1 run on 4 hits and a walk. His ERA is now down to 2.86, 8th in the league, and he's up to 137 strikeouts, 4th in the league.
His only hiccup of the afternoon came in the 5th inning, when he allowed a home run to Kansas City's Mike Moustakas, who has some sort of black magic working for him against the Indians. His overall batting line of .195/.259/.385 this season makes him one of the worst hitters in the league, but against the Indians he's hitting .345/.400/.931. Five of the ten home runs he's hit this season have come against the Tribe.
With the Klubot doing his whole search and destroy thing so effectively today, the offense didn't need to do much. Carlos Santana led off the bottom of the 2nd with his 13th home run of the season (putting him back into a tie with Michael Brantley for the team lead). Three batters later, Yan Gomes launched his 10th homer of the year, and with Ryan Raburn aboard when it happened, the Indians were ahead 3-0 at that point, with all the runs they'd need.
Shortly after Moustakas put Kansas City on the board, the Indians struck back, when Brantley singled in Kipnis, giving Dr. Smooth RBI #57 on the year. Tonight he'll be named an All-Star, an honor he richly deserves.
Cody Allen came in for two quick outs in the 9th, picking up his 9th save of the season and dropping his ERA to 2.39. Also of note from the 9th inning, Tyler Holt made his MLB debut for the Indians after being put in as a defensive substitute. He was called up this morning after Michael Bourn was put on the disabled list. Look for Holt to see time in center field over the next couple weeks.
Today's win moves the Tribe back within a game of .500, and within two games of the Royals, who remain in 2nd place. The Indians will face the Yankees four times during the upcoming week, then the White Sox for three games. All of that action will take place at home, and it would be nice to see the Indians roll into the All-Star break with a winning week that would put them back at .500 (or better).
Win Expectancy chart:
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