CLEVELAND – Seventeen last strikes for the 17 pitches thrown by Milwaukee reliever Dan Jennings in the Brewers’ 3-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night.
1. There’s a reason that Cleveland’s Corey Kluber is the owner of a pair of American League Cy Young Awards.
2. Kluber has been fantastic in nearly every start this year for the Indians, with one of the exceptions being in early May against the Brewers. Milwaukee knocked off Cleveland that day 3-2 behind a home run from reliever Brent Suter who entered the game for an injured Wade Miley in the first inning.
3. Tuesday in Cleveland was a bit different.
4. Kluber pitched seven innings against the Brewers allowing just one run on seven hits and striking out seven batters.
5. Milwaukee scored in the third inning on an RBI-single by outfielder Lorenzo Cain after Manny Piña doubled and Jonathan Villar legged out an infield single before Cain stepped to the plate.
6. “We really had that one good opportunity [in the third]. Christian [Yelich] hit that one ball right on the screws and ended up lining out,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said about Kluber’s performance. “I thought we did a decent job against him. We hit some other balls pretty good and kind of right at some guys. We had some baserunners and just couldn’t get the next hit to make it another rally.”
7. Kluber allowed only three baserunners after Milwaukee scored in the third inning. No one made it into scoring position, either.
8. “It’s both side of the plate, that’s the tough part,” third baseman Travis Shaw said about Kluber. “He commands his fastball and his breaking ball to both sides of the plate. With a lot of guys you can – I don’t want to say eliminate certain zones of the plate – but with him you can’t. It’s just strike after strike after strike. If you don’t go up there ready to go you’re going to be behind and then you’re at his will.”
9. The offense struggling on Tuesday night should not come as a surprise. Kluber has yet to allow more than three runs in a start all season and has only allowed three earned runs in the five starts since the Brewers beat him on May 8.
10. Kluber’s performance out shadowed a terrific outing by Milwaukee’s Junior Guerra. He went six innings allowing seven hits and three runs while striking out five. Most nights, that’s a good enough effort to win. Tuesday it wasn’t.
11. “After the homer to Ramirez [Guerra] was really good,” Counsell said. “I thought he locked in and started elevating a little bit and made some nice pitches to a tough lineup.”
12. Prior to the game Shaw was spotted on the field prior to the game wearing the jersey of Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James. Shaw is an Ohio native and fan of both the Cavaliers and Cleveland Browns.
13. Following one of the games against the New York Mets a couple weekends ago Shaw had told me that he was going to attempt to attend Game 3 of the NBA Finals should the Cavs make it. He did say prior to Tuesday night’s game that he was unable to work something out to be able to go on Wednesday night.
14. Shaw did have something to smile about, as he crushed a home run in the ninth inning to bring the Brewers within one. The blast went an estimated 407 feet while clanging off the right field foul pole.
15. Tuesday night also happened to be a night in which the Cleveland Indians were honoring former Wisconsin All-American and Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas. Both Thomas and former NFL wide receiver Andrew Hawkins threw out first pitches prior to the game.
16. Thomas also sat down with me prior to the game. That conversation can be read here.
17. The Brewers and Indians will wrap up this quick two game set on Wednesday afternoon. Chase Anderson (4-3, 4.22 ERA) will be on the hill for the Brewers and Carlos Carrasco (6-4, 4.50) is slated to start for the Indians. First pitch is set for 12:10 p.m. CT.