CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians ace starter Corey Kluber had the shortest outing of his postseason career in his Game 2 start against the New York Yankees in the 2017 American League Division Series at Progressive Field last Friday night.
And after going only 2.2 innings in a game the Indians won, 9-8, in come-from-behind fashion in 13 frames, Kluber vows to do whatever it takes to put together a strong outing in a winner-take-all matchup against the Yankees at Progressive Field tonight.
“Everything,” Kluber said. “I didn't pitch well, didn't have good command, didn't throw the ball where I wanted to, so that's kind of what it boils down to.
“I think it's just identifying when things go wrong and trying to address what you need to do to correct them, and then, going about using those four days, or whatever it is, to address them and try to get things back on track.”
Kluber allowed seven hits, six earned runs and one walk against just four strikeouts over 2.2 innings of work before exiting Game 2, which is uncharacteristic of a player considered by many to be the favorite to win the American League Cy Young Award.
On the season, Kluber struck out 265 hitters against just 36 walks with 141 hits and 51 earned runs allowed over 203.2 innings of work. Kluber posted an 18-4 record and American League-best 2.25 ERA.
The AL Pitcher of the Month for June, August and September, Kluber struck out at least seven batters in 16 of his last 19 regular-season games.
During the postseason last year, Kluber posted a 4-1 record with a 1.83 earned run average over six starts. In 34.1 innings of work, he scattered 28 hits and just seven earned runs with eight walks against 35 strikeouts. Opposing batters hit just .222 against him over the three rounds of play.
“From the beginning, he was having a hard time finding his comfort level in his mechanics,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “I think it actually had gone back a couple games. He was getting a little low on that, kind of sitting on that back side. I think there's reasons for it. At times, I think he's probably making sure that that back doesn't act up or things like that.
“He just wasn't himself. He was having trouble getting ahead, and then, when he did, he was having trouble putting hitters away. Now, like we kind of know Klubes, he went out and had a really good side day, which if anybody's been around him for five minutes, his side days are not side days. They're game-on, and my feeling is that he'll be just fine.”
Although he struggled to find a rhythm against the Yankees in Game 2 and promised to change everything tonight, Kluber is keeping his approach simple despite it being a win-or-go-home scenario.
“It's still the game of baseball,” Kluber said. “You've got to go out there and you've got to, as a pitcher, execute your pitches. And hitters are going to try to take advantage of your mistakes. It boils down to it's still the same game, still 27 outs.”
© 2017 WKYC-TV