The Cleveland Indians can ill afford to lose another starting pitcher to injury, so when their ace, Corey Kluber, was lifted after four inning and just 60 pitches on Monday night in Detroit, eyebrows were raised, nerves were frayed and breath was held.
Officially, Kluber left Monday’s start against the Tigers with right groin tightness, the team announced in the sixth inning. The early exit came after the Tribe’s ace went four innings, allowing a pair of runs and five hits, walking one and striking out three.
More details will be passed along as they become available.
Cleveland’s stellar starting rotation has been bitten hard by the injury bug this month, completely changing the complexion of a potential future playoff series for the Tribe.
The Indians recently lost starting pitchers Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco to injuries.
The Tribe is hopeful Salazar, who suffered a mild right forearm strain earlier this month, will be able to return and pitch out of the bullpen in the playoffs, but a fractured right hand will likely keep Carrasco from contributing in October.
The severity of Kluber’s groin tightness is not currently known, and anything beyond the original diagnosis is speculation.
The 30-year-old hurler, who is one of the leading candidates for the American League Cy Young Award, entered Monday’s opener against the Tigers with a record of 18-9 and a 3.11 ERA, striking out 224 hitters in 211 innings pitched.
Meanwhile, the 7-4 win by Cleveland over Detroit on Monday night clinched the Central Division title for the Indians.