Tribe improves to 77-73
Corey Kluber set a new career high by striking out 14 batters Tuesday night in Houston. Not only is that his personal best, it's the most by any Indians pitcher in the 2000s. The last Tribe hurler to record 14 Ks was Bartolo Colon in 1998. (The last guy to whiff 15? Greg Swindell, all the way back in 1987.)
This was Kluber 9th game of the season with 10+ Ks, which is the most such games by an Indians pitcher since Sam McDowell in 1970, back when there was no DH, and teams used just a four-man rotation. Kluber now has 244 strikeouts this season, which is also the most by an Indians pitcher since McDowell in 1970. If you prefer to look at strikeouts as a rate, instead of a total, Kluber has a strikeout rate of 27.45%, a figure McDowell isn't just the last Tribe starter to beat, he's the only one.
Kluber's ERA is now down to 2.42 (also a team best since before the DH), and he's one of just three viable Cy Young candidates in the American League. (Sadly, no matter how well he pitches in his final two starts, it's unlikely he'll beat out both Felix Hernandez and Chris Sale, each of whom not only have a strong case, but also much higher name recognition.
While the Klubot was the story of the game, there were some other happenings...
- Houston Jose Altuve tied and then broke the Astros single-season record for hits with his league-leading 210th and 211th of the year. He's batting .343, and unless he suffers something of a collapse he's going to become the first player in franchise history to win a batting title.
- Michael Brantley picked up his 183rd hit of the season, which is quite a bit behind Altuve, but still ranks second in MLB.
- Yan Gomes hit his 19th home run of the season, one of two hits he had on the night.
- Carlos Santana drew his MLB-best 103rd walk of the season. Only five players in franchise history have ever topped that total.
- Bryan Shaw continued his shaky September by allowing three base runners while recoding just two outs, but only one of those runners came in to score and Cody Allen came in for the final four outs of the game, picking up his 21st save of the season while lowering his ERA to 2.06 and ending the Tribe's losing streak at four.
The Indians aren't going to the postseason this year, but on a night when Kluber looked great, and Bradley, Gomes, Santana, and Allen all contributed, it's easy to believe the future is bright.
Win Expectancy Chart:
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