One man's picks for the best pitching performances of the year by Indians starters, featuring work by Justin Masterson, Scott Kazmir, Ubaldo Jimenez, Corey Kluber, and Danny Salazar:
10) Danny Salazar (July 11 vs. Blue Jays)
Salazar made his MLB debut that day, one of the best debuts in franchise history. He didn't allow a hit until the 6th, finishing with 1 run allowed in 6 innings, with 7 strikeouts, the most by any Indians pitcher in his first game since Luis Tiant set a franchise record with 11 Ks in his debut in 1964.
9) Ubaldo Jimenez (September 29 @ Twins)
Jimenez struck out 13, tied for the most by any Indians pitcher in a game during the 2000s (CC Sabathia in 2007 was the last to do it). Jimenez exited after losing the shutout with 2 outs in the 7th, finishing with 5 hits and 1 walk in 6.2 innings, and 1 run allowed to go with the 13 Ks.
8) Corey Kluber (June 16 vs. Nationals)
Washington got multiple runners on base with nobody out three times during the game. Kluber struck out the side in the 4th, then used double plays to help himself out of those jams in the 6th and 7th. He finished with 8 strikeouts and 0 walks in 8 shutout innings.
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7) Ubaldo Jimenez (June 1 vs. Rays)
Jimenez pitched 8 shutout innings, the first time he'd accomplished that since the Indians acquired him at the trade deadline in 2011. He finished with 7 strikeouts against just 4 hits and 1 walk, and none of those base runners got as far as third base.
6) Justin Masterson (April 7 @ Rays)
Masterson had out-dueled NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey on Opening Day, now, in his second start of the season, he faced AL winner David Price. Masterson struck out 8 in 7 shutout innings, and retired the final 13 hitters he faced as he became the first pitcher ever to beat both reigning Cy Young winners in the first month of the season.
5) Ubaldo Jimenez (July 28 vs. Rangers)
Jimenez struck out 6 while allowing just 2 hits (with 3 walks) in 8 shutout innings. He retired the final 9 hitters he faced, but with Ubaldo at 110 pitches through 8, Terry Francona didn't give him a chance to record his first complete game as an Indian.
4) Justin Masterson (April 12 vs. White Sox)
This was Masterson's first shutout since 2010, Masterson struck out 7 while allowing 5 hits and issuing 1 walk, and because the Indians didn't score until the bottom of the 9th, this was a tense affair throughout, and also the Tribe's first home win of the season.
3) Justin Masterson (June 30 @ White Sox)
This was Masterson's third shutout of the season, making him the first Indians pitcher to throw that many since Dennis Martinez in 1994 (Greg Swindell in 1988 was the last to throw 4). Masterson had 8 strikeouts, as well as 14 ground-ball outs, including 4 double plays, with 6 hits and 1 walk.
2) Scott Kazmir (July 24 @ Mariners)
Kazmir struck out 7 in 8 innings, allowing only 2 hits and giving out just 1 walk. This was the first time Kazmir pitched 8 innings in a game since June 6, 2008, and if not for an Asdrubal Cabrera throwing error, Kazmir wouldn't have allowed a run on this day, and might even have been given the opportunity to try and finish off a shutout.
1) Justin Masterson (May 13 vs. Yankees)
Masterson's second shutout of the season was his best (if only for coming at the expense of the hated Yankees). He collected 9 strikeouts, while allowing just 4 hits (3 of them infield hits) and issuing 3 walks. It wasn't until the 9th inning that the Yankees had their first solid hit, or hit anything farther than the middle of the outfield. For my money, this was the best pitching performance of the year by any Indian.