Don’t be concerned about Cleveland right-hander Corey Kluber’s 4.24 ERA and 1.00 WHIP this season as the former Cy Young Award winner continues to post outstanding peripherals: 9.26 K/9, 1.32 BB/9, 0.79 HR/9, 2.89 FIP and 3.03 xFIP.
And, despite garnering just nine wins last year, Kluber finished with a 9.93 K/9 rate together with a 2.97 FIP and 3.05 xFIP. I should also note that the 30-year-old has compiled a 3.05 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP and a 10.0 K/9 rate since the outset of 2014.
Through his first five starts this year, Kluber owns a better walk rate, home run rate and ground ball rate than he posted last season. With a significantly better defense behind him, Kluber remains a legitimate ace in 2016.
Let’s also note that Cleveland’s under-performing bullpen has started pitching to form with a 2.62 ERA over its last seven games. Cleveland relievers also own a 2.70 ERA and 1.17 WHIP at night and a 3.60 ERA and 1.20 WHIP versus division opponents.
Meanwhile, Detroit starter Animal Sanchez could not have scripted a worse start to 2016, posting a 6.08 ERA and 1.85 WHIP in his first five outings. Sanchez is also 1-2 with a 8.31 ERA and 2.31 WHIP over his last three starts and has failed to reach six innings in each of his starts this season.
The 32-year-old’s underlying metrics paint an even darker picture – 6.08 BB/9, 1.90 HR/9, 36.8% GB%, 5.78 FIP and 4.90 xFIP. Sanchez has yielded 34 home runs in past thirty starts dating back to last season.
In his last two starts against the Indians, Sanchez has yielded a combined 11 runs (10 ER) on fifteen hits over 8 1/3-innings pitched. In contrast, Kluber has not allowed more than two runs in any of his last three outings against Detroit. With Cleveland standing at 15-6 in Kluber’s last 21 starts during game 2 of a series, take the Indians and invest with confidence.