Two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber will go into his start Monday night in Kansas City in an unfamiliar position: in a slump.
In his first 14 starts this year [url=http://www.officialislanders.com/authentic-adidas-chris-wagner-jersey]Youth Chris Wagner Jersey[/url] , Kluber was 10-2 with a 1.99 ERA. But in his last three starts, Kluber is 1-2 with a 6.59 ERA.
Nevertheless, the slumping Kluber will be on the mound Monday night for the Cleveland Indians, who, not coincidentally, are slumping as a team.
Although they walloped Oakland 15-3 on Sunday, the Indians have lost four of the first six games on their nine-game trip that will conclude with three games in Kansas City.
Kluber, who is 10-6 with a 2.82 ERA in 21 career starts against the Royals, will try to get back on track against one of his favorite opponents.
Kluber’s three-start slump is actually two really bad ones sandwiched around a really good one. It started June 15 with a 10-3 loss to Minnesota in which Kluber gave up four runs in five innings.
However, Kluber’s next start, on June 20, was a 12-0 win over the Chicago White Sox in which he pitched seven scoreless innings and gave up one hit.
But on June 26 in St. Louis, Kluber had his worst start of the year, his worst in several years. In an 11-4 loss to the Cardinals, Kluber was removed from the game after giving up six runs in 1 2/3 innings.
“He’s human. Guys don’t go 35 starts (during the season) without a bump in the road,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
Kluber said, “No excuses. I just didn’t get the job done. I had some things going on delivery-wise and didn’t execute my pitches consistently.”
Although the Indians have a comfortable nine-game lead in the American League Central, they have had trouble winning on the road.
Cleveland is 27-13 at home but just 18-24 on the road, the only division leader in the majors with a losing record on the road. The Indians are hoping Kluber can help shake his slump and get a road win Monday.
Kluber is 11-4 with a 2.54 ERA overall this season. One of those wins came against the Royals on May 13, a 6-2 Cleveland victory in which Kluber pitched seven innings without allowing an earned run.
The Indians bolstered their bullpen Sunday by selecting left-hander Marc Rzepczynski from Triple-A Columbus and optioning starter Adam Plutko to Columbus.
Kluber’s mound opponent Monday night, Royals right-hander Jakob Junis (5-9, 4.67), is also mired in a slump.
Junis hasn’t won a game since May 18. In seven starts since then [url=http://www.officialislanders.com/authentic-adidas-jaroslav-halak-jersey]Womens Jaroslav Halak Jersey[/url] , he is 0-6 with a 6.30 ERA. His last start came June 26, a 5-1 loss to Milwaukee. In that game, Junis pitched five innings, giving up four runs and seven hits with seven strikeouts and three walks.
Junis’ last start against Cleveland came May 13. In a 6-2 loss to the Indians, he pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs and six hits with seven strikeouts and two walks.
In three career appearances against Cleveland, Junis is 0-1 with a 5.93 ERA.
The Royals, who have lost three in a row, were glad to see the calendar change to July. They went 5-21 in June, the worst record in June in the team’s 50-year history.
During a horrid stretch in which the Baltimore Orioles keep finding ways to lose, J.T. Realmuto did his part to extend the downward spiral.
Realmuto homered twice and had four RBIs off Alex Cobb, and the Miami Marlins beat the skidding Orioles 5-4 on Saturday.
Realmuto singled in a run in the first inning, hit a two-run shot in the third and led off the sixth with his ninth home run on a 3-1 pitch. It was his fourth career multihomer game, the second this season.
Baltimore has lost nine straight, its longest skid since an identical run in July 2011. The Orioles tied a club record with their 11th consecutive home loss and fell to 19-50 overall, the worst record in the majors.
”Nobody’s going to feel sorry for you,” manager Buck Showalter said. ”They step on your neck when you’re down, and we did the same to other clubs. We’ve got to figure out a way to get back into that mode. We’ve just had a little trouble keeping the ball in the park.”
On Friday night, Baltimore managed only three hits in a 2-0 loss. In this one, the lowest-scoring team in the American League wasted 11 hits, a home run by Jonathan Schoop and two RBIs by Manny Machado .
Cobb could only blame himself for letting Realmuto outdo the Baltimore offense.
”When you have a good hitter up there, you can’t fall behind and then give them a cookie down the middle,” Cobb lamented. ”It’s frustrating that it was one guy but it was more frustrating that I let him win the at-bats before he actually hit the home run.”
Former Oriole Wei-Yin Chen (2-3) limited Baltimore to three runs over six innings to earn his first victory since April 28.
Drew Steckenrider worked the ninth for his first save [url=http://www.officialislanders.com/authentic-adidas-john-tavares-jersey]John Tavares Jersey[/url] , putting Miami in position to complete its initial series sweep of the season on Sunday.
The Marlins have won five of six to put some pressure on fourth-place New York in the NL East.
”We’ve got a lot of young guys on this team who are gaining a lot of momentum, getting a lot of confidence,” Realmuto said. They’re starting to swing the bats really well. We’ve got young guys producing for us every night. When that happens, you just gain confidence, and over a period of time you get better and better.”
Cobb (2-9) allowed five runs on seven hits over seven innings. He’s given up a total of 14 runs in his last two starts.
”Just a few fastballs that I left over the middle of the plate that didn’t come back that really ended up being the difference-maker,” Cobb said.
Miami hit leadoff doubles in the first and second innings, with both runners coming around to score. Realmuto followed a walk with a home run in the third to make it 4-0.
”It was one of those games that starts so good,” manager Don Mattingly said. ”First couple innings are kind of what you’re looking for from your club.”
In the Baltimore third, Machado hit a two-out, two-run single to increase his RBI total to 52.
Schoop went deep in the sixth and an RBI single by Danny Valencia got Baltimore to 5-4 in the seventh.
Baltimore’s Adam Jones has hit safely in all eight interleague games (13 for 33, .394). … Realmuto has a .350 batting average in 31 career road interleague games. … Baltimore is 2-6 vs. the NL, Miami is 3-3 vs. the AL.
Marlins: INF Miguel Rojas was rested, one day after being bruised by a pitch that hit his left hand. ”Felt OK, actually looked OK, but wasn’t able to put a lot of pressure on that bottom hand,” Mattingly said, adding, ”He’ll probably be in there tomorrow.”
Orioles: LHP Richard Bleier will have season-ending surgery Tuesday to repair his left shoulder. It’s a Grade 3 latissimus tear. … 3B Tim Beckham (groin) was slated to be the DH for Double-A Bowie in the second game of his rehab assignment. … OF Colby Rasmus (hip) is expected to come off the DL next week.
Marlins: Rookie Trevor Richards (1-3, 4.41 ERA) makes his eighth career start in the series finale. The right-hander earned his first big league win on Tuesday against San Francisco.
Orioles: Dylan Bundy (4-7. 3.66) seeks his fifth win, which would account for one-quarter of the team’s victories this season.