Things are not going well for Corey Kluber. So far as a big league pitcher he’s 0-2 with a 6.27 ERA in four starts. To make matters worse, he’s allowing almost two home runs per nine innings. There’s a possibility that he’s simply getting unlucky thanks to a BABIP of .349, but the authority with which opposing players are hitting his pitches suggests otherwise. Kluber just hasn’t been a good pitcher for the Indians, it’s as simple as that. Now he gets to face a Yankee team that makes a habit of chewing up and spitting out weak opposing pitching.
As for Sabathia, he’s having another phenomenal season in Yankee pinstripes. However he’s coming off the disabled list following left elbow inflammation, so odds are he won’t be throwing nine innings and 100+ pitches. The Yankees will more than likely keep him on a short leash and allow him to ease his way back into the rotation. It’s possible he could show signs of rust so the Indians might have a decent chance to get a few rallies going. Expect Sabathia to throw only five or six innings before giving way to the bullpen.
In game two, the Indians will send Justin Masterson to the mound. As we pointed out earlier this week, Masterson is the one pitcher against whom the Indians have repeatedly played well for during this recent run of bad baseball. The question is, can they keep it going? Even more importantly is which version of Masterson is going to show up on Saturday: the one who goes eight innings and allows one run or the one that last four innings, has no control, and allows upwards of eight runs? He’s coming off of an awful start against the A’s in which the latter version showed up. Hopefully he can put it behind him against a much tougher Yankee team.
Give the Yankees credit. They have a way of taking even the most average players and bringing out the best in them. Kuroda was a decent pitcher during his time with the Dodgers, but this year with New York he’s been great. He’s got a 2.96 ERA despite starting half of his games in the bandbox that is the new Yankee Stadium is quite the accomplishment. Over the past month he’s been absolutely filthy. Since July 18, he’s 4-1 with a 1.39 ERA and a .202 batting average against. He’s also averaging over seven innings per start and has thrown a complete game in that span.
- Game 3: Ubaldo Jimenez (9-12, 5.59/4.82) vs. Freddy Garcia (7-5, 4.96/3.94)
In game three Ubaldo Jimenez will get another crack at a team he was brought to Cleveland to dominate. Who knows what to expect at this point. Jimenez has been so erratic in terms of his performance in 2012 that it’s not even worth trying to predict what he’s going to do at this point. He’ll either pitch into the seventh inning, strike out 10 and look absolutely brilliant or he’ll barely make it four innings, give up six runs, and walk just as many. There won’t be any in between. One can only hope that Jimenez is up for the task of taking on the team that might be representing the AL in the World Series come October.
Meanwhile, the Yankees will send Freddy Garcia to the mound to close out the series. He’s not the same pitcher he once was when he was the man in Seattle, that’s a given. Garcia is at the point now in his career where he’s willing to give the Yankees whatever they need at any given time. He started the year in their rotation, moved into the bullpen for a two month stretch, and then returned to the rotation in July. However, he’s still capable of shutting down opposing lineups for five or six innings and could make things difficult for the Indians.