CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber has been jokingly referred to as “Kluber-Bot” because of his regimented, emotionless approach on the mound, and in preparation for his first-ever postseason start, the one-time American League Cy Young Award winner is doing what he knows best.
Kluber has summoned all of his focus for Game 2 of the American League Division Series against the Boston Red Sox at Progressive Field, which could give the Indians a commanding lead in the best-of-five series heading into Game 3 at Fenway Park Sunday after a 5-4 win Thursday night.
“I’m sure there will be some errors, but at the same time, I get nerves if it’s a live practice in Spring Training,” Kluber said. “It just means you care what you’re doing. I’m looking forward to it.
“I try to take each one as the biggest game. I think, obviously, there’s stages everybody goes through, but as far as the game itself, I try to take each one as the most important game.”
In what was a bounce-back year for Kluber record-wise after a 9-16 campaign in 2015, the right-handed ace regained his Cy Young form and went 18-9 with a 3.14 earned run average and 227 strikeouts against 57 walks over 215.0 innings of work.
Although Kluber’s strikeout numbers were down from each of the las two years, he allowed his fewest number of hits, 170, since 2013, when the Indians clinched one of the American League Wildcard playoff spots.
In two starts against Boston this season, Kluber is 1-1 with a 4.38 ERA over 12.1 innings of work.
“They know what I want to do; I know what they want to do,” Kluber said. “They’re a very good hitting club. It comes down to executing. It’s not a matter of coming out with a secret or trying to trick one another. It’s a matter of going out there, and I’m going to try to execute pitches, and they’re going to try to hit mistakes.”
And Kluber will be especially cognizant of limiting those mistakes because left-handed fire-baller David Price will be on the mound for the Red Sox, just as he was in one of Kluber’s starts against Boston earlier this season.
However, Price’s presence on the mound will not cause Kluber to break from his routine.
“When you’re facing somebody that’s a pitcher of his quality, I think that mistakes might happen more,” Kluber said. “But I think that goes back to my thought process of taking a pitch at a time and trying not to get caught up in the moment or who you’re pitching against. Most of it is trying to go out and execute your game plan.”