Buehrle, Blue Jays shutout Indians, 5-0
Tribe bats scuffle against a familiar foe, as the team drops another series
CLEVELAND—It’s not quiet Easter, but the Indians offense tallied for a big egg Saturday afternoon at Progressive Field.
Backed by the arm of four-time All-Star Mark Buehrle (4-0, 0.64 ERA), Toronto shutout the Tribe for the first time this season, 5-0, to take the first two games of the three game series.
“He gets a lead, and kind of puts you in a rocking chair,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “It’s not just today, it’s been his first four starts and probably for the majority of his career.”
Buehrle was virtually unhittable against the stymied Cleveland offense, allowing just four hits in seven dominant innings of work. The former Chicago White Sox starter and World Series champion now leads the American League in both wins and ERA through four starts.
“You just have to tip your hat to Buehrle, he pitched really well today,” starter Corey Kluber said. “I think regardless whether the offense is scoring runs or not, I think it’s our job as a staff to pick them up when they’re not scoring runs, and we just weren’t able to do that today.”
Kluber (1-2, 5.40 ERA) would hang tough through most of the ballgame in his fourth start, but forfeited five runs (four earned) over 6 2/3 innings for his second loss of the year.
The Blue Jays offense would get to the right-hander early scoring twice in the first inning, first on a RBI single by outfielder Jose Bautista. Two batters later, catcher Dioner Navarro also knocked in a run with a base-hit, after a pass ball by Yan Gomes allowed Bautista to move to second on the play.
Toronto was at it again in the second, adding another run on a RBI single by shortstop Jose Reyes who was activated off the 15-day disabled list prior to the game.
The three runs were plenty for Buehrle, as Cleveland (7-10) is now 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position in the series, leaving 18 on base.
There’s no question the Indians offense has struggled out of the gate, as the team is hitting just .140 (6-for-43) with runners in scoring position over their last five games. Eight of the current 12 position players are also hitting under .250.
“Obviously, it hasn’t been the start we wanted as a group,” first baseman Nick Swisher said. “Then again last season we started the season 5-10, so it’s not time to jump off the bridge just yet.”
The Jays would tack on two more runs in the seventh on another hit by Navarro, this time a two out, two run single that sent Kluber to the showers.
Cleveland has now dropped seven of their last nine games, falling to a season-high three games under .500.
“The guys are good hitters, they’re going to hit,” Francona said. “Until that happens, you just have to fight and claw and try to do the best you can. We just can’t fall into the frustration and let that affect you. We really believe in this group a lot.”
The Indians fall to 2-7 when the opposition scores first, whereas Toronto improves to 9-1 when scoring the game’s first run.
“Tomorrow is all we’re worried about, because we can’t win seven in a row, we have to start out by winning one."
Up next for Indians: The Wahoo’s will look to salvage the series in the finale with the Blue Jays on Easter Sunday at 1:05 p.m. In search of his first win, right-hander Carlos Carrasco (0-2, 7.84 ERA) takes the hill against hard throwing Toronto starter Brandon Morrow (1-1, 5.52 ERA).
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If Kluber is back to normal he would be back in Triple AAA. I believe that is where he was about this time last year. After the 1st inning he did pitch well until he ran out of gas.
The first 17 games is exactly like last year. It almost like the movie Groundhog Day. If the Indains season is like Groundhog than the conclusion would be 92 wins and back to the one game playoff in October.
That's not a prediction for this year; I'm just saying it's too early to write off the season.