Kluber has dropped three straight starts for the first time in his career heading into Saturday night's home matchup with the Chicago White Sox.Although he has been Cleveland's ace through much of the year, Kluber (13-9, 2.58 ERA) has hit a rough patch in posting a 4.50 ERA while losing his previous three outings. His most recent was very forgettable as he was tagged for a career-worst three homers and five runs -- two earned -- over a season-low 2 2/3 innings in Monday's 12-1 loss to Detroit.Manager Terry Francona pulled him after 57 pitches and a 5-1 deficit with an eye toward the remainder of the season."Klub could have stayed out there and battled and done just fine," Francona told MLB's official website. "But since we were down and there are no days off, now that we are in September ... the most important thing is to allow Klub to come back in five days and not work harder than he has."The right-hander is 1-1 with a 3.25 ERA in four starts against Chicago (63-77) this season. Jose Abreu is 6 for 13 with a homer against him in those games, while Conor Gillaspie has gone 4 for 8.Abreu is batting .510 with two homers and 10 RBIs during a 14-game hitting streak.Cleveland (72-67), trailing first-place Kansas City by six games in the AL Central, can't afford too many more losses from Kluber -- or anyone, for that matter.The Indians opened this three-game set Friday with a 2-1 victory when pinch-hitter David Murphy, activated from the disabled list before the game, singled in the winning run with the bases loaded in the 10th inning."You never figure that you'd be in that situation, but those are the most fun in baseball," he said.Michael Brantley is 14 for 39 during an eight-game hitting streak. He's 8 for 17 against Jose Quintana (7-10, 3.44) and Mike Aviles is 8 for 19, but many of the rest of the Indians haven't fared quite as well against Chicago's next starter.The left-hander has limited Jason Kipnis to a .238 average, Carlos Santana to three hits in 16 at-bats and Ryan Raburn to two in 14. Yan Gomes is 0 for 9 against Quintana and Lonnie Chisenhall 0 for 5.Kipnis and fellow left-handed hitter Michael Bourn were out of Friday's starting lineup against left-hander Chris Sale. It is unclear what Francona will do Saturday, and Bourn is a respectable 4 for 14 versus Quintana.Quintana is 3-0 with a 3.91 ERA in eight career starts against Cleveland, including 1-0 with a 4.76 ERA in three this year -- all at home. The Indians have won both times he has started against them in Cleveland.The White Sox had dropped five straight starts by Quintana before he gave up two runs in seven innings to earn Sunday's 6-2 win over the Tigers.Chicago shortstop Alexei Ramirez left in the fifth inning after being hit on the left foot by a pitch from T.J. House. Manager Robin Ventura said Ramirez has a bone bruise and it's possible he could play Saturday.Retiring slugger Paul Konerko is out indefinitely with a broken bone in his left hand.
Corey Kluber's strike out rate on curveballs is 57.4%, second only to Yu Darvish (57.5%) in MLB (min. 50 pitches). Kluber did not strike out a Tiger with his curve in his last start (Sept. 1), just the second time this season he did not record a strikeout on a curveball. The White Sox are batting .195 against curveballs this season, 27th in MLB.