After an excellent showing for the Cleveland Indians, Corey Kluber has tied Hall of Famer Bob Feller with four consecutive starts with double-digit strikeouts, a franchise record.
With yet another dominant start, Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians has tied Hall of Famer Bob Feller for a franchise record. Now, both pitchers stand with four consecutive games with at least ten strikeouts. Feller accomplished the feat during his final three starts in 1938 and his first in 1939. Nearly 80 years later, Kluber will have a chance to claim the throne for himself.
To tie the record, the 31-year-old Kluber tossed an absolute gem. He punched out 12 batters in eight innings of work, holding the Texas Rangers to just one run on three hits and one walk. The blemish on the scoreboard stemmed from Nomar Mazara’s solo blast in the first inning.
With his stellar performance, the righty continues what has been a dominant return. The 2014 Cy Young Award winner missed nearly all of May with a back injury, but he has not shown any signs of a lingering injury since his recovery. Over five starts, Kluber has pitched to the tune of a 1.29 earned run average. Better yet, his 13.37 strikeouts and 1.54 walks per nine innings, respectively, suggest that this level of production has been sustainable.
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Not only has Corey Kluber prevented runs at an elite rate while racking up an absurd number of strikeouts, but he has also prevented opposing hitters from making any kind of meaningful contact. Opponents have batted just .156, and they have yet to hit a home run in that time. 61.4 percent of batted balls have been come on the ground.
This dominance is surely a welcome sign for the Cleveland Indians, especially when considering that his work before the stint on the disabled list was decidedly less than pristine. Although he continued to post excellent walk and strikeout rates, the All-Star was unable to keep the ball on the ground when it was put into play. Opponents managed to score 21 earned runs in those 43 innings, although advanced metrics felt that this figure was higher than expected.
Not only has Kluber’s resurgence allowed him to drive the Cleveland Indians back to the top of the American League Central, but it has also made him a prime candidate to win the June Pitcher of the Month Award. Per FanGraphs’ WAR metric, Kluber was worth roughly one-half of a win more than the next-best pitchers, Max Scherzer and Chris Sale.
Also of note, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com wrote on Twitter that Kluber also tied Luis Tiant for the tenth spot on the Cleveland Indians career strikeouts leaderboard. With 1,041 strikeouts already under his belt, it is almost certain that he will move up the list once again before the end of the season.
In fact, he will likely finish 2017 in either seventh or eighth place in the rankings. The third slot could be in his sights by the middle of 2018, as he is only 236 strikeouts away from that position. The ace has averaged 247 strikeouts per season over the past three years.