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Blue Jays 11, Indians 4: Saturday's One Last Thing on Corey Kluber and keeping hitters honest

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 2, 2015

The Indians took another hard loss, this one at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays, 11-4 on Sunday.

Corey Kluber was roughed up, allowing five runs (four earned) on eight hits to go with two walks and three strikeouts in just five innings. He’s now 0-4 this season with a 4.62 ERA.

Saturday’s One Last Thing: Corey Kluber thinks he isn't keeping hitters honest enough.

Kluber hasn’t yet been at the same level last last season, and he’s still searching for his first win in 2015.

Through April, it didn’t seem to be much of a concern, as his numbers in the first month of the season compared to those from last April were almost identical (4.14 to 4.24 ERA, 37 to 34 innings pitched, 35 to 36 strikeouts).

So it appears as though Kluber starts slower than he finishes. That trend isn’t an issue in and of itself, but it’s magnified right now simply because the Indians aren’t winning or hitting.

Lately, each start has been a little rougher than the last for Kluber. He said after the game tonight he think it’s because he isn’t sequencing his pitches correctly.

“Not doing a good job of keeping guys honest,” he said. “For the most part, guys are hanging out over the plate. When they’re doing that, you’re kind of eliminating one half of the plate and when you do make a mistake, it’s magnified.”

Kluber added that he doesn’t think hitters have really changed their approach against him and that everything physically is feeling fine. He just isn’t doing enough to mix things up, whether it be pitch type, order or location.

Kluber was asked if his fastball command was where he wanted it to be—Indians manager Terry Francona cited that as maybe the biggest reason for Kluber’s tough night Saturday. Kluber said he’s thought the command has been OK but added, “It hasn’t been unbelievable but the biggest thing is not working both sides of the plate, not keeping hitters honest.”

Kluber might be a habitually slower starter, but the Indians will need him to figure things out sooner rather than later to right the ship. A lot of his advanced numbers are fairly similar as far as pitch selection, though he is giving up line drives at a higher clip (21.4 percent last year, 25.5 percent this season).

Perhaps it’s because he isn’t keeping hitters honest enough, as he says.

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Cleveland Indians routed by Toronto Blue Jays 11-4

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 2, 2015

Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber again struggled to show the same sharpness from last season’s Cy Young campaign, third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall made a costly error and the bullpen was roughed up in an 11-4 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays Saturday afternoon at Progressive Field.

Kluber (0-4) lasted only five innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on eight hits to go with two walks and three strikeouts. He entered the fifth inning with the score tied 2-2 but lost it after a single and back-to-back walks set up a two-RBI single by Blue Jays designated hitter Jose Bautista. Kluber was able to induce Edwin Encarnacion to ground into a double play and Russell Martin to ground out to end the inning and limit the damage.

In the sixth inning, though, the Blue Jays (12-13) didn’t go as quietly.

Outfielder Kevin Pillar opened the inning with a double to end Kluber’s day and bring in Marc Rzepczynski. A walk and a sacrifice bunt put two runners in scoring position. Former Indians outfielder Ezequiel Carrera hit a ground ball to Lonnie Chisenhall, whose throw to home plate beat the runner but was in the dirt, allowing the Blue Jays to take a 5-2 lead.

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Cleveland Indians CF Michael Bourn scratched from lineup with neck strain; Tyler Holt starting

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 2, 2015

Indians centerfielder Michael Bourn has been scratched from Saturday's lineup due to a cervical (neck) strain.

Bourn, after losing his helmet while running, slid hard into home plate during Friday night's 9-4 win against Toronto and slammed his head on the ground. Bourn was called safe but after a Blue Jays challenge was determined to have been tagged.

He was 9-of-23 since being moved down to the No. 9 spot in the order and had collected a hit in five straight games.

Tyler Holt, called up Friday after TJ House was put on the disabled list, will start in center field and bat ninth Saturday. Jason Kipnis will lead off.

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Michael Beaven’s One Last Thing: Indians open May with 9-4 win over Blue Jays

By Michael Beaven Published: May 1, 2015

CLEVELAND: It is May, and the Indians have a 1-0 record in the month following a 9-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night at Progressive Field.

Indians players and coaches left the ballpark feeling good following a frustrating April that concluded Thursday with a 7-14 record.

Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley and Brett Hayes each welcomed the new month by hitting a home run to lead the Indians on a night when Blue Jays starter and Mark Buehrle and Indians starter Carlos Carrasco each struggled to pitch effectively.

Friday night’s One Last Thing: Turning the page on the calendar and embracing a new month.

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Indians 9, Blue Jays 4: Kipnis, Brantley, Hayes hit home runs in victory to open May

By Michael Beaven Published: May 1, 2015

CLEVELAND: The Indians welcomed the month of May with a potent offensive attack Friday night at Progressive Field.

Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley and Brett Hayes each hit a home run as the Indians defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 9-4 before a crowd of 15,088.

The powerful hitting helped the Indians open May at 1-0 following a 7-14 April to begin a 2015 season full of high expectations.

Neither starting pitcher, Mark Buehrle for Toronto and Carlos Carrasco for Cleveland, was especially sharp, but the Indians offense allowed Carrasco (3-2) to get a win because they banged out 13 hits.

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Cleveland Indians place T.J House on 15-day DL; recall Tyler Holt from Class-AAA Columbus

By Michael Beaven Published: May 1, 2015

CLEVELAND: The Indians placed left-handed pitcher TJ House on the 15-day Disabled List on Friday with left shoulder inflammation and recalled outfielder Tyler Holt from Class-AAA Columbus to fill the spot on the Major League roster.

House, 25, lost his fourth consecutive start Thursday night when the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Indians 5-1 at Progressive Field. House has posted a 13.15 ERA over his first four starts of the season over 13 innings pitched. He has allowed 21 hits, 19 earned runs and 12 walks. He has seven strikeouts.

Holt, 26, was hitting .328 (20-for-61) for the Clippers with 12 runs, two doubles, one triple and four RBI in 19 games. He is eighth in the International League in on-base pct. (.438) and runs scored (12), and is tied for sixth in walks (12). He has appeared in games at all three outfield positions for manager Chris Tremie.

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Blue Jays 5, Indians 1: Thursday's One Last Thing on the Indians' April by the numbers

By Ryan Lewis Published: April 30, 2015

TJ House was solid for three innings and then feel apart in the Indians' 5-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays Thursday night.

House continued his poor start to the season. The offense did, too, leaving six runners stranded on base (five in scoring position) in the first three innings alone.

Thursday night's One Last Thing: The Indians' frustrating, rough, poor, inconsistent April by the numbers.

Just looking at the team numbers tonight. Here's where the Indians stand.

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Cleveland Indians, TJ House fall to Toronto Blue Jays 5-1

By Ryan Lewis Published: April 30, 2015

Indians starting pitcher TJ House's outing started out well, but he couldn’t keep the Toronto Blue Jays’ offense down for long in a 5-1 loss at Progressive Field Thursday night.

House didn’t allow a hit through three innings, retiring nine of the first 11 batters on ground-ball outs. Only two four-pitch walks kept him from three straight 1-2-3 innings.

It appeared to be a positive sign for House, who due to the schedule in the first month of the season and then Trevor Bauer getting food poisoning last Saturday, hadn’t had many opportunities to throw on a normal, every-fifth-day schedule. Indians manager Terry Francona said before the game he hoped this would be the start of House settling down.

In the top of the fourth inning, though, things came unglued. Jose Bautista opened with a walk and Edwin Encarnacion and Danny Valencia each followed with a single to right field to make it 1-0. Russell Martin doubled to right field to score one and Kevin Pillar doubled to left to score two, putting the Blue Jays up 4-0. Later, Jonathan Diaz’s sacrifice bunt capped the scoring.

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Indians 7, Royals 5: Wednesday's One Last Thing on Jason Kipnis' and Michael Bourn's positive nights

By Ryan Lewis Published: April 30, 2015

The Cleveland Indians snapped a four-game losing streak with a 7-5 win over the Kansas City Royals Wednesday night.

Wednesday’s One Last Thing: The Indians are finally getting some positive signs from Jason Kipnis and Michael Bourn.

Indians manager Terry Francona this past Sunday moved Michael Bourn down to the No. 9 spot in the lineup for the first time in his career. That pushed Jason Kipnis up to the leadoff spot.

Four days later, both are starting to swing the bat better.

Kipnis hit a three-run home run Wednesday, which was his first home run since July 31 of last season, a stretch that spans 67 games and 265 at-bats. Kipnis was dealing with an oblique injury last season that sapped his ability to really drive the ball—especially to the opposite field—and then got off to a slow start this season while not showing much power.

“It was a nice feeling—something I haven’t felt in a while,” Kipnis said. “There’s going to be pressure on myself to do well no matter what. But, just to finally have it happen, to finally see it, is always refreshing.”

Bourn went 2-for-4, including an RBI-double down the right-field line in the sixth inning that put the Indians ahead for good. Tuesday, Bourn went 1-for-3 with a stolen base.

“Bourny’s never going to hit .180. But I do think he’s taking some better swings,” Francona said. “Regardless of where he hit in the order, I think he’ll heat up. Sometimes until they do, you got him sitting there in the leadoff spot, it’s a little more glaring, especially when we’re not scoring runs.”

Carlos Santana has been getting on base (three more walks Wednesday night), Michael Brantley has been hitting well (.333 entering Wednesday) and Brandon Moss has four home runs in the past two weeks. Offensively, the Indians haven't done much more than that. Kipnis and Bourn, two veteran players in the middle of long-term contracts, are two needed pieces to a struggling offense that are starting to join that group.

The Indians have had an April to forget. If Kipnis and Bourn can continue to make progress, Bourn will likely by moved back to leadoff, Kipnis will slide down to second and the Indians can have the top of the order they envisioned at the outset of this season.

Francona's move seems to be producing the right results for now.

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Cleveland Indians end four-game losing streak, beat Kansas City Royals 7-5

By Ryan Lewis Published: April 29, 2015

It was only last Sunday that Indians manager Terry Francona put Michael Bourn in the No. 9 spot in the lineup for the first time in his career.

On Wednesday, Bourn came through with the hit that put the Indians up for good in a 7-5 win against the Kansas City Royals.

The win ended a four-game losing streak and avoided a sweep at the hands of the Royals.

After the lead changed hands a few times, the Indians (7-13) entered the bottom of the sixth inning trailing 4-3. Lonnie Chisenhall and Roberto Perez each doubled to open the inning off of Royals starter Yordano Ventura, tying the score at 4-4. Bourn, still hitting ninth, roped a double of his own down the right-field line to give the Indians a 5-4 advantage.

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