Sunday, April 17, 2016

Matz, Kluber eyeing breakout starts in finale

A pair of dynamic starters will look to shake off slow starts to the season Sunday when Corey Kluber faces Steven Matz in a series finale between the Indians and Mets at Progressive Field.
A former American League Cy Young Award winner, Kluber pitched well enough to win last time out, holding the Rays to three runs over 7 2/3 innings. But he fell to 0-2 regardless, even as his ERA dipped to 4.85. The Indians, who have given Kluber three total runs of support in two games, could use another deep outing from him after leaning on their bullpen earlier this weekend.
The Mets are familiar with that sort of thing. In his season debut last week against the Marlins, Matz recorded just five outs, allowing seven runs. He will look to begin making good on his Rookie of the Year Award potential Sunday, starting on normal rest for the first time this season.
Things to know about this game
• Mets third baseman David Wright will have a scheduled day off Sunday. Wright has started six consecutive games, including four days in a row before Thursday's team off-day broke up the streak. The Mets are still trying to rest Wright every third or fourth day as a way to help him manage his spinal stenosis condition.
• Yoenis Cespedes knows Kluber well from their shared time in the AL Central, going 4-for-12 against the right-hander with one home run. Cespedes could be back at designated hitter for a third straight game on Sunday because of a "tremendous bruise" on one of his legs, the result of diving into the stands in an attempt to catch a foul pop Wednesday.
• It might seem like a safe bet that backup catcher Roberto Perez would get the start on Sunday, but look for Yan Gomes to be back behind the plate again. Gomes has caught Kluber's past 22 starts, dating back to May 23 last season, when Cleveland's starting catcher was on the disabled list.

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