Five games into the 2017 season the Indians pitching staff has not lived up to expectations. Even though they have not looked good, I think most of us can probably agree that it’s a little early to hit the panic button. We’re five games into a 162 game season, and there is plenty of time for them to get on the right track. Coming out of spring training, the staff is just starting to get used to lengthening out their outings, and they are trying to move from just working on getting all of their pitches working to actually strategizing to fit in-game scenarios.
Through the first five games, Carlos Carrasco was the only one with an ERA under 6, and Corey Kluber’s six innings in the opener were the longest of all the outings. Not great for a staff that is expected to be one of the best in the majors, but it will probably take a few starts from each pitcher before they start to get into their routine and establish the regular season flow. Things are different from spring training where they are scheduled to throw only a certain number of innings before they even head out to the mound to get their work in.
Carrasco and Danny Salazar are coming off of injuries sustained last September, so they have been out of regular action even longer than the others. They are also trying to be cautious to not end up back on the disabled list this year. With Carrasco’s injury history, it will be very important for him to bring things along slow. Kluber is a notoriously slow starter in the early months of the season, but he knows how to pace himself and be ready for the late season push and the playoffs. Josh Tomlin and Trevor Bauer are known to be streaky at times. They can go through spurts where they look very good and then get knocked around for several starts in a row. A poor opening week from the staff is nothing to be too concerned about, and I’m sure they will come around soon.
Kluber already started to turn things around a little bit in the last game of the series against the Diamondbacks on Sunday. He gave up only two earned runs in six innings, so it was a pretty solid outing. The Indians still lost the game and got swept in Arizona, but they went .500 on the road trip to start the season. There is no reason to overreact about the starters only one week into the season. There’s a lot of baseball to be played between now and October.
There will be ups like the sweep of the Texas Rangers to begin the season and downs like getting swept by the Diamondbacks in the second series of the season. The Indians are a good team, and they will probably have a great year. The baseball season is long and full of ups, downs, twists, and turns, and we should all just buckle up and enjoy the roller coaster ride.