MLB

Indians' Kluber faces Padres in first July start after hot June

CLEVELAND -- Coming off one of the best months of any pitcher in team history, Corey Kluber will start Tuesday night at Progressive Field as the Cleveland Indians host the San Diego Padres in the first game of a three-game series.

Kluber (7-2, 3.02 ERA) was named the American League's Pitcher of the Month for June, during which he made six starts and was 4-0 with a 1.26 ERA while averaging 13.4 strikeouts per nine innings (64 strikeouts in 43 innings).

Kluber led the majors in ERA, strikeouts and innings pitched in June.

In Kluber's six June starts, opposing batters hit .150 against him, with a .192 on base percentage. In Kluber's six starts, the Indians outscored their opponents 38-14.

Kluber is also the only pitcher in Indians history with 60 strikeouts and no losses in a calendar month -- and he has done it twice. He also did it in May 2014.

Kluber has had 10 or more strikeouts in each of his last four starts, the only pitcher in Indians history to have four consecutive 10-plus strikeout games in one season.

"He's a testament to what good, old-fashioned hard work ethic can do," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "How many guys in the league throw just as hard as him? But just because of hard work, he's turned himself into one of the best pitchers in the game. And good for us."

Not only will San Diego be facing an historically good pitcher Tuesday night, its hitters will be facing a former Padre. Kluber was a fourth-round pick by San Diego in the June 2007 draft.

In 2010, Kluber was a relatively unknown Double-A pitcher when the Indians acquired him from the Padres as part of a three-team trade.

Tuesday will be Kluber's second career start against San Diego. His first came April 8, 2014, when he was the winning pitcher in an 8-6 Cleveland victory. In that game, Kluber pitched six innings, giving up three runs and nine hits with eight strikeouts and no walks.

Kluber's mound opponent Tuesday will be Trevor Cahill, who will be activated off the disabled list to make the start. Before going on the DL, Cahill made seven starts and was 3-2 with a 3.27 ERA.

In his last three starts before being put on the DL with a right shoulder strain, Cahill was effective, going 2-1 with a 1.56 ERA, 21 strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings and an opponents' batting average of .190.

Cahill made two minor league rehab starts while on the DL.

"I've been feeling good and I've been able to throw all my pitches in every start with no problems, so I'm ready to go," Cahill told MLB.com.

Something has got to give Tuesday night because so far this season San Diego has been a bad road team and Cleveland has been bad at home.

The Padres are coming off a 5-4 homestand against the Detroit Tigers, Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers. San Diego has one of the worst road records in the majors at 12-26 (.316).

Oddly enough, Cleveland, despite being in first place in the American League Central, has one of the worst home records in the AL at 18-21.