If the season ended today, there would be a compelling case to be made that Jake Junis, a 2011 29th-round draft pick, should win the Cy Young. Yes, it’s ridiculous to suggest calling the season in April, but a little pitcher hyperbole never hurt anyone, right?
Speaking of which, Cleveland’s Corey Kluber also has a strong case for the two-week Cy Young Award. The Klubot has already won the award twice, and a third victory is not out of the question if he keeps throwing baseballs the way he has to start the season.
Meanwhile, Matt Harvey will toe the rubber today against the Brewers, trying to throw the Mets to their 12th win in their first 13 games.
All that as Mother Nature figures to play a prominent role during today’s slate, with the wind expected to be out of control across the country.
Toronto Blue Jays (+210) @ Cleveland Indians (-236) | O/U: 7
4:10 p.m. ET
Jaime Garcia (1-0, 3.18 ERA) vs. Corey Kluber (1-1, 1.57 ERA)
Klubot: Last season, Corey Kluber became one of only 18 pitchers in the history of baseball to win multiple Cy Young awards. His bid to join an exclusive club to win at least three Cy Youngs (which includes active pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer) is off to a great start. He has dazzled so far this season, with a 1.57 ERA and a stunning 27:4 K:BB ratio in three starts. Kluber’s fast start should excite Indians fans, as he typically gets stronger as the year goes on. Just take a look at these numbers by month for his career:
*And those April numbers even include this year’s strong start.
In the last five years, the under is 72-55-3 (57%) when Kluber starts. If the wind is blowing in from the outfield (from left, from right or from center), the under improves to 27-16-2 (63%). The forecast calls for 16 MPH winds blowing in from right field. — John Ewing
Jay Walking: The Blue Jays have had some success against the Indians ace. In his career, Kluber has made at least three starts against 15 MLB teams. Of those 15, he has the highest ERA against the Blue Jays. In six starts vs. Toronto, Kluber has a 2-3 record with a 4.46 ERA, 1.51 WHIP and .271 batting average against. Josh Donaldson appears to see the ball particularly well against Kluber: He’s 7-for-19 (.368) with four walks and only three strikeouts. — Stuckey
Jaime’s Weird Start: Jaime Garcia was a nice little get by the Blue Jays to help shore up the back end of their rotation. There’s nothing too fancy about the veteran southpaw, but when he’s healthy he’s a master of the solid, unspectacular outing — which is all you can ask out of your fourth or fifth starter.
Garcia has logged 11.1 innings in his first two starts as a Blue Jay, posting a 3.18 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and a 3.64 xFIP (a regressed version of Fielding Independent Pitching). However, the 31-year-old’s underlying metrics have been very un-Jaime-Garcia-like. Over his career, Garcia has been a terrific ground-ball pitcher, with a 56.1 GB%. This year, despite his good back-of-the-baseball-card numbers, Garcia has a 40.7% groundball rate. Instead, the native of Reynosa, Mexico has been striking out batters at an unusually high clip. It’s a very small sample size, but through his first two starts, Garcia has punched out 26.7% of the hitters he’s faced, which is much higher than his 19.3% career mark.
So yes, this version of Jaime Garcia isn’t the one we will expect to see for the rest of the season, but that doesn’t mean his numbers will balloon. He’ll strike out fewer batters, but we should expect to see a lot more ground balls going forward. — Michael Leboff