Indians ace Corey Kluber has been struggling the last few weeks and the organization should look to shutting him down for a few weeks.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner had another rough start Thursday night against the New York Yankees. Despite going 7.1 innings and striking out nine, Kluber gave up eight hits and six earned runs including two home runs in his fifth loss of the season.
It was his fourth start in his last six where he’s given up at least three runs, over his last six starts he has an ERA of 5.03 and has seen his season ERA from 1.99 to 2.76.
After going 8-2 with a 2.00 ERA in his first 12 starts, his last eight starts have compiled a 4-3 record with a 4.03 ERA.
While the organization isn’t saying anything, it seems like something is affecting Kluber’s performance because he’s struggling although we have seen this from him before.
At the beginning of last season, Kluber struggled during the first month of the season and was eventually shut down with a back strain. He came back in June and went on an absolute tear going 15-2 post injury en route to his second Cy Young award.
Then once we hit the postseason, it seemed like the back injury flared up again for Kluber and he struggled in the ALDS against the Yankees giving up nine earned runs in 6.2 innings pitched over two starts. He denied he was hurt but he didn’t look like the Cy Young winner during those starts.
I just wonder if the back is starting to flare up again along with having to carry an extra load with the bullpen struggling and manager Terry Francona leaning on his starters to give a little extra until Chris Antonetti can find help in the bullpen.
It’s great that we’re hitting the All-Star break right now and I think the Indians should give Kluber an extended break over the next couple of weeks to give him some extra rest and potentially extra treatement on his back if that is indeed the issue.
The Indians currently hold a 7.5 game lead over the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central division. Letting Kluber skip a start or two after the break will not hurt the team in my opinion in the division race.
They have Adam Plutko currently in the bullpen who can start for you as well as calling up perhaps Mitch Talbot who is down at Triple-A Columbus and could give the Indians a spot start to give Kluber extra rest.
The Indians need to focus on the bigger picture and that is October and the playoffs. If something is wrong with Kluber, they need to address it sooner rather than later because he’s a big part of the potential success the Cleveland Indians could have in the postseason.