Saturday, April 11, 2015

Aces wild: Price, Kluber to duel in Cleveland

The Indians will again face a tough lefty with their ace, Corey Kluber, on the mound. It was Houston's Dallas Keuchel for the season opener. On Saturday at Progressive Field, it will be Detroit's David Price. Kluber pitched well on Opening Day, striking out seven and allowing two earned runs over 7 1/3 innings. Price was even sharper in Detroit's Opening Day victory over the Twins, striking out five over 8 2/3 scoreless innings.
Three things to know about this game:
• Kluber and Price faced off last year, too, but it didn't go so well for the Indians' ace. In what was arguably Kluber's poorest start of the season, he was unable to make it out of the third inning, allowing five earned runs and three homers. And it wasn't necessarily just that start. Throughout Kluber's career, he's struggled against the Tigers. Through 11 appearances and 63 innings against Detroit, Kluber holds a 5.00 ERA and .859 OPS against -- each the highest by any team Kluber's faced at least five times.
• Price, on the other hand, has fared quite well against the Indians in his career. His 2.64 career ERA, in nine starts and 58 innings pitched, is his third-best against any team he's faced at least five times -- his current club excluded.
• A left-handed-heavy lineup and struggles in the season opener against a tough lefty make it worth seeing how the Indians fare against one of the game's toughest lefties in Price. Ryan Raburn (career .793 OPS vs. southpaws) figures to find his way into the lineup, and recently promoted Jerry Sands could make his Indians debut as well.

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