Luis Severino, Corey Kluber? What Pitching Duel?

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Friday, July 13.

On paper, last night’s besg matchup looked like maybe a 2-1 or 3-2 game.  The Indians’ Corey Kluber was the last Cy Young award winner. The Yankees’ Luis Severino was last year’s surprise rookie who seems to have come into his own this season.  So what happened in downtown Cleveland?  a 7–4 Yankee win with home runs flying on both sides.

Neither starting pitcher had his best stuff. It didn’t take long to see that Severino had brought at best his B game. Jose Ramirez and Edwin Encarnacion launched mighty home runs off the Yankees’ 14-game winner. He only lasted 5 innings.  While Kluber, who is 12-5 survived into the 8th that was more a sign of how bad the Indians’ bull pen has been, rather than how dominant Kluber was. Brett Gardner unleashed two home runs and Didi Gregorius drilled one, none of which would have been likely if Kluber had his best stuff working. With Severino gone, it took Adam Warren, David Robertson (the game’s winning pitcher,) Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman to shut the Indians down.  Without Andrew Miller who hasn’t pitched since May, their bull pen looks like the Hairy Buffalo Club compared to the Yankees’ now defunct Studio 54. That fact kept Kluber in the game much longer than he will be once Miller returns, or once the Tribe acquires another reliable reliever. Such animals are rare and prized just now, as the trade deadline nears, so in this case the manager took a risk.  Kluber was already at 100 pitches before the 8th inning began but his skipper, Terry Francona gave him the nod.  He walked Gregorius on 4 pitches, then served up a double to Hicks who had just 3 hits in 25 tries against Kluber.

Before the game, the manager joked that he would pay to see a Kluber-Severino matchup.  Hopefully, if we get one in October it will be a tighter battle than the one last night. When Ramirez let fly, he tied the game 4-4 in the 5th where it would stay until the 8th.  It was his 28th home run before the All-Star break, a number no prior Indian had reached.  Albert Bell came the closest with 27 long ones when Jacobs Field was new.

Tonight, the youngsters take the hill.  The Indians send out Shane Bieber who is 4-1 but has never faced the big bats of the AL East.  Domingo German is the Yankees’ choice. His record is 2–4 though he has shown flashes of brilliance, like striking out 10 Rays back in mid-June.

The AA Diamondbacks, which are the Southern League’s Jackson Generals have been here before.  While I rarely write about the minors this is their second write-up of 2018.  This time, they found themselves down at home to the Mobile Bay Bears 7-3 in the last of the 8th. The bears are the Angels’ AA squad and might have thought they had the home town team beaten.  However, Jackson scored 4 in the 8th to tranquilize the Bears and 1 in the 9th to walk off the stunned Bears 8-7. Daniel Robertson played a role the last time the Generals made this forum, and this time he drove in his team’s first run and walked to lead off the 8th inning. Jamie Westbrook was the real hero smashing a grand slam to knot the game at 7. After Josh Prince tripled to start the 9th and was run for, Robertson singled his pinch-runner home for the winning run.

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