Cimber shrugs off slump: 'That's baseball'

August 21st, 2019

NEW YORK -- Sometimes pitchers can fall into slumps, too.

While the term “slump” may not often be used in reference to pitchers, Indians manager Terry Francona said that reliever may currently be working his way through one.

In the Indians' 9-2 loss to the Mets on Tuesday night at Citi Field, Cimber gave up three runs in one-third of an inning on two hits and a walk, in another rocky August outing.

“It just looks like he’s not finishing his pitches, like he’s trying to 'put it there' instead of relying on some convictions where he gets that late movement,” Francona said. “Hitters go into slumps. When pitchers kind of do, I don’t know if anybody calls it that. Sometimes it’s a little bit of bad luck. Sometimes it just looks like he just doesn’t quite trust [himself] at the very end. He’s got to let it go so he gets that late movement.”

The right-hander ended July with a 2.86 ERA, giving up 14 earned runs in 44 innings with 12 walks and 28 strikeouts up until that point of the season. But after seven appearances this month, Cimber's ERA has bumped up to 4.18 after allowing eight runs in 3 1/3 frames.

“That’s baseball,” Cimber said. “You can play well and then all of a sudden it just happens and you’re running through a rough patch. Everybody does it. The game can really bring you to your knees sometimes and you just got to keep looking forward, keep grinding and fight your way through it. It’ll be different next time.”

After throwing his fastball 28.3 percent of the time in 2018, Cimber has thrown the pitch just 18.9 percent of the time so far this season. Hitters have logged a .300 batting average against his heater this season and the righty said his fastball has presented the biggest challenge during this tough stretch.

“I’m just not really locating my fastball,” Cimber said. “So I’m falling behind guys and just not putting us in situations to get guys out.”

But even a night after Cimber’s struggles, Francona had the confidence to turn to his right-hander in a tie game in Wednesday’s 4-3 loss to the Mets in 10 innings at Citi Field. With the score knotted at 3, Cimber relieved Oliver Perez with two outs and a runner on first in the bottom of the eighth. The right-hander forced Wilson Ramos to hit a weak ground ball back to the mound to end the frame.

Luplow cleared to start land-based activities
Jordan Luplow has been sidelined with a right hamstring strain since Aug. 6, but the outfielder has been able to resume sprinting, hitting and throwing.

“He’s doing OK,” Francona said. “He went out to do like land-based stuff, which is good. So, you get him out of the training room, get him out of the pool -- he’s still doing all of that -- but doing some things with the tubing and stuff like that outside. So he’s starting to do that.”

Rodriguez in relief
Jefry Rodriguez gave up one run on a solo homer in 1 2/3 innings in relief in his rehab appearance for Double-A Akron on Tuesday. The Indians are looking to keep the longtime starter in a relief role as he makes his way back to the big leagues.

“We’re trying to figure out the right amount to stretch him out,” Francona said. “I think we’re kind of at the point in the season where trying to stretch him out to pitch a full game doesn’t make sense, but we’d like to have him available for some length and I think he should be able to do that just fine. … Maybe three [innings].”

This date in Indians history
1906: The Cleveland Naps turned the first triple play in franchise history in a 2-0 win in Game 1 of a doubleheader with the Washington Senators.