Kluber gets roughed up by Miggy again
Tribe's ace has struggled against slugger before, gives up homer to him in 4th
DETROIT -- Plenty of pitchers over the years have struggled to devise an effective game plan for attacking Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera. Count Indians ace Corey Kluber among those who are still searching for the right way to approach the former Triple Crown winner.
During Sunday's 8-1 loss to the Tigers, Kluber was victimized once again by Cabrera, who launched a solo home run off the American League's reigning Cy Young Award winner in the fourth inning. Asked for the best way to pitch Cabrera, Kluber did not have an answer.
"You're asking the wrong guy," Kluber said.
An assortment of issues paved the way for Cleveland's latest loss -- chief among them a rain delay that lasted nearly two hours. The storm that poured down on Comerica Park midway through Sunday's game forced Kluber to the showers after only five innings. Following his exit, the bullpen gave up six runs and the offense never got anything going.
That led to yet another hard-luck loss for Kluber (3-8) this season.
The lack of run support for Kluber (Cleveland has only averaged 2.36 runs per game in his 14 starts, scoring two or fewer runs in 10 of those games) has magnified each of the right-hander's mistakes. Over the course of his career against Cabrera, there have been plenty of missed pitches, including the first-pitch fastball that landed in the center-field greenery on Sunday.
Kluber said he does what he can to stay in attack mode against the slugger.
"I think that's my mindset for every hitter," Kluber said. "Just because he's had success off me in the past, I'm not going to shy away from him ever or try to make the perfect pitch or something like that. I'm going to stick to my game plan, and it's just a matter of making a good pitch."
What happened with the fastball that Cabrera crushed for the homer in the fourth?
"It curved back to the middle," Kluber said.
Cabrera has been an overpowering nuissance for the Indians this season, hitting .647 (22-for-34) with five homers and 15 RBIs in nine games against Cleveland. Over the course of his career against Kluber, Cabrera has hit at a .571 (20-for-35) clip with five homers and 10 RBIs. That marks the most homers Kluber has yielded to any one hitter, and it's tied for the most Cabrera has hit against any pitcher.
In fact, Cabrera's average against Kluber is the highest for the slugger against any pitcher he has faced more than 15 times in his career. That list includes 117 pitchers.
"We stay aggressive," Cabrera said of facing Kluber. "Sometimes, we swing early in the count. Sometimes, we take a pitch, try to get deep in the count."
Over the past century, only Cabrera and Hall-of-Famer Babe Ruth have belted at least 30 home runs and posted an average of at least .350 against the Indians.
Kluber was asked if he has ever witnessed one hitter dominating a single opponent like Cabrera has with the Tribe this year.
"If you're asking if he can, he is right now," Kluber said. "We just need to do a better job of consistently executing pitches to him. I think he's doing a really good job of hitting mistakes when we throw them."