Is there any way we can blame Angel Hernandez for this one?
A Classic Pitchers’ Duel
Corey Kluber once again asserted himself as the Tribe’s best pitcher this season. Kluber shut down the Dodgers’ offense over his first six innings of work. He had a good two-seam fastball going, and he successfully worked off that pitch. He threw a nice cutter and mixed in some absolutely nasty sliders, including one to strike out Andre Ethier with runners on second and third with one out on the fourth.
The Dodgers notched their lone run in the seventh inning. Ethier led off with a triple to left field. Michael Brantley got his glove on the ball, but was unable to reel in what would have been a spectacular catch. Kluber did his best to bear down, getting Juan Uribe to ground out to a drawn-in Asdrubal Cabrera at short to hold Ethier at third. Kluber then punched out A.J. Ellis on another filthy slider to record the second out of the inning. After an intentional walk to pinch hitter Hanley Ramirez, fellow pinch hitter Clint Robinson rolled a grounder back up the middle for his first career hit to put the Dodgers up 1-0.
Kluber allowed six hits over his 6.2 innings, striking out five while issuing only the single intentional walk. All told, it was the kind of outing a team looks for from its best starter.
The only problem was Dan Haren was better. Haren was painting corners all night, using his sinker against lefties, his cutter against righties, and mixing in some splitters for good measure. Haren struck out five while allowing just one hit the whole night. Michael Bourn legged out an infield single in the third after David Murphy walked and reached second on a sacrifice bunt from Kluber. The Indians failed to cash in on the opportunity when Asdrubal Cabrera struck out looking. The Indians would not get another base runner the rest of the game, as Brian Wilson and Kenley Jansen each retired the side in order to finish out the game.
The Bottom Line
As Matt Underwood and Rick Manning pointed out, sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the opposing pitcher. That was the case on Sunday against Felix Hernandez, and it was the case again against Dan Haren tonight.
In the big picture, this loss drops the Tribe to 7.5 back of Detroit in the Central and 5.5 back of Seattle for the second Wild Card. Those are hardly insurmountable deficits, but the Tribe will have to do a lot less hat-tipping if they’re going to make a run.