By: Corey Perez
CLEVELAND, Ohio- On a night where the weather made us wait a little longer for baseball, the Cleveland Indians gave their home fans something for their troubles, as they beat the Seattle Mariners by a 6-5 final on Friday night. Rain delayed this one about 10 minutes, but Francisco Lindor gave the fans something to cheer about in his first at bat and the Tribe never looked back.
Coming into Friday the Indians had lost three of their four previous meetings to Seattle this season, then Corey Kluber happened. While the Mariners were able to give Kluber his only loss this season on Opening Day, Kluber wasn’t going to let that happen again. And neither was the Indians offense as they hit five home runs, including hitting back to back twice.
Cleveland and Seattle continue their four game weekend series Saturday afternoon at 4:10pm. Carlos Carrasco takes the mound for the Tribe as he looks to continue his hot start, as he hopes to improve to 5-0 on the season. Cookie Carrasco has 28 strikeouts compared to just six walks, and is 1-0 vs the Mariners this season.
1) Long Ball Spring
Coming into Friday night the Indians had scored a lot of their runs via the long ball, and that trend continued vs the Mariners as they hit five out of the ballpark en route to their 6-5 victory. Twice during the game the Indians were able to connect on back to back shots as they jumped out to a 6-0 lead through the first five innings, unfortunately this long ball trend probably won’t last all season. While it would be extremely exciting for the Indians to consistently knock the ball around the ballpark like they did tonight, it is just one of those trends that is likely to fizzle out over the course of a 162 game season. This line-up isn’t exactly built to live and die by home runs, while it capable of lighting up the scoreboard, the long ball isn’t exactly what people expect when you scroll through the batting order. Luckily the Tribe offense has had success via the long ball this season, as they have struggled stringing together multiple base hits in an inning.
2) Masterful Once Again
This can’t be said enough, Corey Kluber is very good. While that seems like such an elementary thought for most Indians fans, it can’t be undersold how good the 2x Cy Young winner is. Not only is Kluber good, but he is also extremely consistent. Kluber struck out 10 batters for the 2nd time this season, but the 41st time for his career. It’s not often a pitcher strikes out 10 guys, let alone twice in the first two months of the season.
Usually the narrative after a Corey Kluber start is how the offense once again let their ace down with lack of run support. Tonight that was not a problem as the Tribe jumped out to an early lead, and Kluber pitched like it. He wasn’t his dominant KluBot self tonight, but he didn’t need to be. He still kept an aggressive Mariner offense on its toes all night long by beautiful control he had of his breaking ball.
3) 9th inning to forget
Corey Kluber pitched 8 ⅔ innings on Friday, and unfortunately couldn’t get the last out before Terry Francona turned to his closer. The usual lights-out Cody Allen allowed three runs in the 9th, only two were technically scored his fault. In a game the Indians dominated from the opening pitch through the 8th inning, the 6-5 final leaves a lot to be desired. A fan said it to me best following the game, “ No better time to give up a three run homer than when you have a four run lead.” While Allen is usually a guy you can rely on to close out the game, tonight does leave you scratching your head. Cleveland can’t really afford for Allen to fall out of form, as they just placed Andrew Miller on the DL yesterday, the back end of the bullpen can’t continue to slip up. Especially on nights you’re not holding big leads late in games.