Editor's Note: This post ran back at the end of July, when Corey Kluber pitcher the Indians' first Maddux in more than five years. The wait was not nearly as long this time around, as just seven weeks after Kluber, Carlos Carrasco pitched a Maddux. I've made a couple edits to the post and added in a section on Carrasco's performance at the bottom of the post.
You may recall that in his previous start, Corey Kluber took a perfect game unto the 7th inning, and if Ryan Raburn hadn't... well, whatever you want to call what he did... Kluber probably would have had his first ever shutout that night. I guess he didn't feel like waiting, because he got that first shutout Wednesday night, and it was one of the best games you'll ever see, ruthless in its efficiency. Kluber needed only 85 pitches to get through the game. That incredibly low total means last night's game was a Maddux*.
*Regular LGT readers are familiar with the Maddux by now, but in case you're not: A Maddux is a complete game shutout on fewer than 100 pitches. There are tons of facts/leaders/records on the Maddux here.
It was the first Maddux of Kluber's career (though he had a shot at one through 7 innings in his previous start, so it wouldn't be a surprise if he's got another one of them up his sleeve at some point), and only the 7th in Indians history. (Pitch count records have only been fully kept since 1988, so that's the start of the "Maddux Era") Seven is one of the lowest totals of any MLB team, especially if you disqualify the four expansion teams that didn't exist when the Maddux Era began. You can find every team's Maddux count (and the number thrown against them) here.
Cleveland Indians Madduxes:
Greg Swindell (May 2, 1988 vs. Angels): 2 H, 2 BB, 4 K, 94 pitches - The Tribe's first Maddux is still the one that featured the fewest hits allowed. (tied by Carrasco on 9/17/2014)
Charles Nagy (June 12, 1992 vs. Yankees): 5 H, 0 BB, 5 K, 90 pitches - Nagy had help from three double plays, the most found in any of these seven games.
Bartolo Colon (June 8, 1998 vs. Pirates): 4 H, 1 BB, 3 K, 96 pitches - Colon didn't appear to be headed for a Maddux, but he got through the last two innings on just 14 pitches.
Bartolo Colon (March 31, 2002 @ Angels): 5 H, 2 BB, 5 K, 98 pitches - Thrown on Opening Day, this is the only Maddux ever thrown in March, making it the earliest Maddux ever.
Paul Byrd (August 6, 2007 @ Twins): 4 H, 1 BB, 1 K, 99 pitches - The one strikeout is the lowest total of these seven games; only three Madduxes ever have featured zero strikeouts.
Cliff Lee (June 14, 2009 vs. Cardinals): 3 H, 2 BB, 6 K, 93 pitches - Lee walked two of the first three batters of the game, one of the more unlikely beginnings to lead to a Maddux
Corey Kluber (July 30, 2014 vs. Mariners): 3 H, 0 BB, 8 K, 85 pitches - There's a lot to say about this one. (see below)
Carlos Carrasco (September 17, 2014 @ Astros): 2 H, 1 BB, 12 K, 98 pitches - See farther below for more on this one.
- Kluber's game featured the fewest pitches of any of the Tribe's seven Madduxes. In fact, it was only the 20th Maddux ever to feature 85 or fewer pitches.
Kluber's 8 strikeouts are the most by an Indians pitcher in a Maddux(the MLB record is 12, by Cliff Lee, but while he was with the Phillies).
- Combining those last two points, among the 20 Madduxes on 85 pitches or fewer, Kluber's 8 strikeouts are tied for the most.
- Kluber faced only 28 batters, which is the fewest of any of these seven games. Among the 283 Madduxes on the books, there have been 14 in which the pitcher faced the minimum of 27 batters, including Perfect Game Madduxes thrown by Dennis Martinez, Kenny Rogers, David Cone, and Philip Humber.
- Kluber's Maddux is one of only two by the Indians to feature 0 walks, but among all Madduxes, 58% didn't feature any free passes.
- Kluber threw only 16 balls the entire game. That's the second fewest in any Maddux ever, behind only Chris Bosio, who threw only 15 of them in a 1992 gem.
In Kluber's last two starts he's thrown 18 innings, allowed 0 earned runs, recorded 18 strikeouts and 0 walks, and thrown a Maddux. Fittingly, the last MLB pitcher to throw 9 innings with 0 earned runs and 0 walks in back-to-back starts was... Wait for it.... Wait for it.... Yep, Greg Maddux, way back in September of 2000. Both of Greg's games in that stretch were Madduxes, the final two of his career. With any luck, last night wasn't the last one we ever see Kluber pitch.
Carrasco's Maddux probably rates as the very best in franchise history. He not only shattered the team record for most strikeouts in a Maddux (which Kluber had just set at 8) with his 12 Ks last night, he tied the MLB record for strikeouts in a Maddux, previously held* by Cliff Lee, who set it in a 2011 game with the Phillies.
*Sandy Koufax also struck out 12 in a somewhat unofficial Maddux back in 1964... I call it somewhat unofficial because the Dodgers were the only team tracking pitch count back then, and the "official" Maddux era didn't begin until 1988, when MLB began tracking pitch counts league wide.
Carrasco's game score of 94 is easily the highest among any of the 8 Madduxes in franchise history, another record that had just been set by Kluber. A game score of 94 puts Carrasco's Maddux in a tie for 4th-highest game score ever in a Maddux, behind only games by David Cone (97), Philip Humber (96), and Kenny Rogers (95), each of which was a perfect game.