The Indians starting rotation has been on absolute fire right out of the gate. Starting pitching wins baseball games. It’s sort of like the equivalent of a good defense in basketball or football. Even if you struggle to score, keeping the opposition contained will keep any team in any game. For the Cleveland Indians, their starting pitching has kept them in ballgames and then some.
Indians Starting Rotation: Strength in Youth
After the departure of Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer over the course of the past year, many expected the Indians starting rotation to take a step backward. Not a huge drop, as MLB.com projected them to be a top-five rotation in the game. Still, they haven’t performed any worse.
If anything, they’ve gotten better. This staff gave up 10 earned runs in just the first three games in 2019. So far this season, they’ve allowed a total of eight earned runs through six games. Yes, three of those games came against a lowly Kansas City offense. But the other three came against a much-improved White Sox bunch that can really hit the baseball.
The most impressive aspect of this all, perhaps, is how much Terry Francona can rely on the young guys in the Indians starting rotation. Carlos Carrasco is the only one over the age of 30 and has been with the big league club since 2009. There are other guys with experience in this rotation though too. Heck, Shane Bieber just won the All-Star Game MVP in front of his home crowd last summer.
Mike Clevinger has pitched in seven total playoff games. This means guys like Adam Plutko, Aaron Civale, and Zach Plesac have others on the staff they can look up to and really learn from. That mentor role belonged to Kluber in the past. Now everyone knows they need to step up, and that will once again serve as a big advantage for the Cleveland Indians.
Sprint, Not a Marathon
The decision from manager Terry Francona to use a six-man Indians starting rotation to start the year seemed… interesting. In his defense, it was hard to know that someone like Plesac would be giving you outings like the one he gave on Wednesday’s finale against the White Sox.
In this shortened season, every night will carry far more importance than any season before. So far, so good, out of the gate for this Indians’ rotation. Per cleveland.com, the last time six Indians starters started the season pitching at least six innings and gave up two or less runs was over a century ago, in 1905. Posting numbers that took over 100 years to replicate might just be a sign that you are doing something right as a rotation.
Add that in with a 4-0 record and a 1.85 ERA after one trip through the rotation and I’d say this group is well on its way to being the best in baseball.
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