In the biggest start of his life, Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber showed everyone just how good he is under pressure. Thanks to his performance, the team got off to a good start in the 2016 World Series.
No one was very surprised when Indians manager Terry Francona announced on Sunday that Kluber would start Game 1 of the World Series for his team. He’s been the ace of the team for a few seasons now. Prior to this year, Kluber had never pitched in the postseason. Considering what he has been able to do so far, it’s safe to assume that he’s not exactly intimidated by the high stakes.
Kluber turned in an extremely impressive start in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night. He faced a dynamic Chicago Cubs offense that includes Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist. It was clear early on in the game that Kluber was locked-in and ready for the challenge.
Kluber started the game off by setting a new World Series record for strikeouts over the first three innings of a game. He struck out eight batters during this span. The Cubs were able to put the ball in play more often as the game went on. Kluber only recorded one more strikeout after his historic first three innings. Overall, he went six inning and did not give up a run while allowing just four hits. He did not walk anybody and had nine total strikeouts. At the time of his departure, the Indians had a 3-0 lead over the Cubs.
Francona decided to turn to setup man Andrew Miller for the next two innings. Although Miller did surrender two hits and a few walks, the Cubs were unable to score against him. The Indians tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, giving them a 6-0 lead. They went on to win the game by this score.
This isn’t the first time that Kluber has come up clutch for the Indians during the 2016 postseason. He threw seven shutout inning in Game 2 of the American League Division Series against the Boston Sox, a game in which his team won 6-0. He dominated the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, tossing 6 1/3 scoreless innings against an explosive Blue Jays offense. Cleveland won that game 2-0. Kluber’s only uninspiring start in the playoffs came in Game 4 of the ALCS. He surrendered two runs over five innings of work. This was the only game of the series that Toronto won.
If the Indians are going to win the World Series, they’re going to need to continue using the formula that won them Game 1. What that entails is strong starting pitching and a dominant bullpen complimented by a few runs from the offense. This did not happen in Game 2, as the Cubs were able to score a few runs early on and did not look back. Cleveland never really got their offense going, and Chicago cruised to a 5-1 victory. The only way that the Indians will defeat the Cubs is by playing like they did in Game 1.
Kluber’s great performance has set the tone for the rest of the World Series as far as the Indians go. Now we which team has more momentum as the Series shifts to Chicago tonight for Game 3.