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October Confidential: Indians

Rival players offer inside look at facing AL Central champions
September 28, 2016

How do you beat the Indians? asked rival players from around Major League Baseball to offer an inside look at how best to face the American League Central champions.Corey Kluber "Aggressive. Comes right at you, here it is, try to hit it. Really good sinker, good cutter, good breaking

How do you beat the Indians? asked rival players from around Major League Baseball to offer an inside look at how best to face the American League Central champions.
Corey Kluber
"Aggressive. Comes right at you, here it is, try to hit it. Really good sinker, good cutter, good breaking ball. Three or four pitches, the mix that he can throw in any count. Probably one of the better pitchers in the AL. It depends on the count, but try to go away. Try to hit the ball between the [shortstop and second baseman] early. Sometimes he will throw offspeed late in the count, even if he's down in the count 2-0 or 3-1. He might try to get you to make a dumb mistake. If the count and the timing presents itself, I'll try to pull him every now and then. But for the most part, I try to stick with a nice approach away."
-- AL Central outfielder

"He loves his cutter. He has one of the best right-handed sliders in the game. He loves, loves, loves back-dooring the two-seamer. It seems like each and every year it gets better, with more sink and more run. You see highlights of it [starting] way off the plate and coming back over. He hardly ever comes in. A lot of heaters but also loves that cutter/slider about 88-89 mph."
-- AL Central infielder
:: ALDS: Red Sox vs. Indians coverage ::
Trevor Bauer
"He's been able to spot up more lately in his starts. [But] for the majority of his outings, it's been effectively wild. So you really need to almost make sure you sit one spot, one speed and when you get that pitch, don't miss it. With a guy being effectively wild like that, he can get you off your game in a hurry. You take a bad swing, you swing at a curveball in the dirt or whatever it may be, it can hurt you. So be precise, look for one pitch and don't miss it. He's got good stuff, though. He's got electric stuff. A great curveball, good changeup, a fastball in and out. He does miss his spots occasionally. Especially late in counts, if he goes 2-0, 3-0, 3-1, he's going to come and … might catch the middle part of the plate. That's something I try to do some damage off of."
-- AL Central outfielder
Andrew Miller
"Best lefty reliever in the game. I think that Aroldis Chapman is a good reliever for sure, but [Miller] comes in and does what he does probably the best besides [Chris] Sale. Best curveball in the game, lefty-wise. He's going to come right at you. You can't try to pull him because of that breaking ball away. You have to stay on it as long as you can and hit the ball the other way and try to do it with authority. Be confident in your swing. Stay on the ball, stick your nose out there and hopefully it's not a heater in and doesn't kill you."
-- AL Central outfielder

"It looks like he's throwing from right field. He has so much angle. Four or five years ago, he didn't know how to throw a strike. But he's really starting to command. He has really good stuff, but sometimes with his command he'll miss over the plate. But he has so much angle coming in that he feeds on pounding righties in and throws that slider to your back foot. He throws a lot of sliders and throws even more now from what I've seen."
-- AL Central infielder
Cody Allen
"You are so worried about his curveball that it kind of gets you off your own approach. You go up there sitting one pitch, and if you are sitting that pitch, don't miss it. That's realistically what it comes down to. If you do miss it, you are not going to get a good pitch to hit the rest of the at-bat. His breaking ball is dominant. Same arm speed and angle as his fastball, but it falls off the table and disappears. He's a great closer. He's a guy that comes in and has those two pitches that he works so well with and can mess with you mentally. My approach is see it and hit it. Don't try to hit it on one side. Just be ready to hit and be on time and hope for the best."
-- AL Central outfielder
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"He's a fastball-curveball two-pitch guy. Loves his heater. He's a short-arm guy who throws 95-96 mph and gets a little bit of ride on his fastball that gets on you. He likes to throw up in the zone. It's like Trevor Bauer. Very few guys have true curveballs anymore -- with so many sliders, not many 12-6 curves anymore. So he has that ride and can pitch off that curveball."
-- AL Central infielder
Jason Kipnis
"I would say heaters away to him. He likes to pull the ball and you can go sliders down -- like, down on the plate to him. I feel like against me, he's got to be geared up for the heater so he gets ready early."
-- AL Central relief pitcher
Mike Napoli
"I'd go sliders away, heater in for effect and back to the slider away. You don't want to leave it over the plate anywhere, down or up. He seems to hit the fastball well, down or up. You've got to go higher than high if you want to go up. He can still swing at the one at the chin and hit it out."
-- AL Central relief pitcher

Carlos Santana
"I just stay away from him, and if you are going to throw a breaking ball, throw it down. Make sure it's down in the dirt. He's a free swinger, so anything over the middle to middle-in, it seems like he likes to pull the ball and hits it pretty far."
-- AL Central relief pitcher