Cleveland (92.3 the Fan) – Bring on the “Mike Clevinger over Trevor Bauer” takes.
Called up from Triple-A Columbus to fill in for Corey Kluber, Clevinger was in control for 5 2/3 innings in his 2017 debut. The right-hander allowed just one hit over that span in his first big league start of the year, walking four and striking out five.
The man himself said a lot of his adjustments were mental.
“Controlled intensity,” Clevinger said. “I wasn’t trying to throw 96, 97 every time. It was just finding my rhythm, finding the lower half of the zone, then trying to hit that.”
Clevinger threw 91 pitches in his season debut, with almost an even distribution of fastballs and off-speed pitches. He threw 33 two-seam fastballs, and 15 four-seamers maxing out just north of 94 mph. His secondary pitch was his curve, which he threw 21 times.
“The Flow” had his rhythm and his command for the entirety of his outing, executing the vast majority of his pitches in the correct zone.
Only a handful of pitches were even in the zone and belt-high or above, concurrently.
The two-seamer, his primary pitch, drove the outing. Tailing low-and-in on righties, Clevinger’s fastball stayed low, either hitting corners or starting then exiting the zone.
The fill-in starter blasted the lower-outside of the plate with those most of the 15 fastballs, leaving one in the zone, one high and on the black and five inside on his arm-side.
Clevinger threw six sliders, garnering two batted outs, two foul balls and two balls called.
Not to be forgotten was his changeup, which garnered five swinging strikes on 16 pitches, plus three outs on a double play and flyout.
“I thought his stuff was good,” Manager Terry Francona said. “You can tell he’s made a few adjustments at Triple-A with his delivery.
“It gets you excited, not just that he got them out, but for the future that he made some adjustments and he’s got the chance to get deep in a game.”
Allen or Nothing
Closer Cody Allen notched his ninth save of the season on Sunday, the 101st of his career.
The AL Reliever of the Month struck out his 24th batter of the year, averaging almost two strikeouts per inning. He came into the game striking out 46 percent of the batters he faced.
His walk percentage (8.0) is also the lowest of his career, as are his line drive percentage (8.7), and FIP, the third-lowest in baseball at 0.20.
Ironically, Allen’s AVG against (.239) and WHIP (1.25) are as high as they have been since his rookie year in 2012.
Los Lonely Run
One of the last Indians bats to get going, Carlos Santana drove in the winning run in both Tribe wins in Kansas City, including the only run in Sunday’s contest.
Looking at Santana’s splits throughout his career, his .258/.391/.446 mark in high leverage situations are higher than those in medium and low leverage at-bats.
Santana also has a history against the Royals, with a 1.003 OPS against the team, the highest mark against any opponent in which he has appeared more than 11 times.
He splits .301/.424/.579 against the AL Central rivals in his career.