Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

There is something oddly familiar about the Indians so far

tribe carlos carrascoThe Cleveland Indians have a familiar look to them through the first eight games of the 2013 season.

It’s not so much the offense,even though the 2-3-4 for part of the lineup (Asdrubal Cabrera, Jason Kipnis and Nick Swisher, the man with the largest free agent contract in franchise history) are hitting a combined .172 with just two home runs and six RBI on the season.

Or that the Tribe has scored one or fewer runs three times in the past six games, helping contribute to the Indians losing five of those games.

No, it’s the starting pitching that is giving Tribe fans flashbacks to 2012, when the Indians had the worst starting rotation in the American League.

This year the only wins from a starting pitcher have come from Justin Masterson, who couldn’t be any better after going 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA in his two starts. Unfortunately this is 2013, not 1913, so Masterson can’t pitch every day and that’s turning out to be a problem.

The rest of the rotation has posted an 0-5 record and an ERA of 8.70. In six games, the starters have only thrown a combined 30 innings while giving up 27 earned runs, 32 hits and 13 home runs. Although to be fair, three of seven home runs that Brett Myers has allowed in 10.1 innings of work came in a relief appearance of starter Carlos Carrasco.

Starters pitching in relief? This truly is a Tribe Town! (As the 12,663 in attendance Tuesday night would be happy to tell you).

Even when you include Masterson’s numbers, it’s not a pretty picture. The Indians are 14th in the American League in starters’ ERA, 14th in earned runs, have given up the most home runs and issued the most walks.

While it is obviously very early in the season, the poor performance of the starting rotation is giving us flashbacks to last season when the Indians went 5-24 in August as they were dragged down by their starting pitching. That was a streak that saw the starters post a collective ERA of 6.44 – the worst in baseball but positively stellar compared to what has transpired so far this year.

Corey Kluber, who was 2-5 in 12 starts last season, gets his chance tonight as he becomes the seventh starting pitcher the Tribe has used through the first nine games of the season (weather permitting, of course).

It’s possible that Kluber can halt the skid, just like it’s possible that Ubaldo Jimenez will somehow become a consistent pitcher and Myers will remember how to be a starting pitcher after spending last season in the bullpen for the Chicago White Sox and Houston.

And if Kluber joins his fellow Wahoos and turns in a poor performance? Well, Masterson pitches again on Friday night against the Chicago White Sox.

At least we can hope that will be a night worth watching.

(Photo by The Beacon Journal)

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