Game 160: Indians 1, Rays 0
Tribe improves to 84-76
At the time of writing this, the Oakland Athletics are up 6-2 on Texas and it looks like the Cleveland Indians have played their last baseball game in mathematical contention in 2014. We can, and we will, pick apart what went wrong and what went right, what we need to improve upon and what are looking for more of, but that is for another day. Tonight was a night for Corey Kluber. And, in typical Corey Kluber fashion, it was dominant.
Right out of the gate this game had the makings of another gem from Kluber. He immediately went to work striking out the side in the 1st inning. All told, Kluber would strike out 11 Rays batters, and give up only 5 hits. On separate occasions, he allowed a runner to reach 2nd and a runner to reach 3rd, but both times there were 2 outs. Despite all the masterful performances we've seen from our beloved Klubot this year, it never gets old and it never stops being fun.
But it wasn't just fun, it was historic. Corey Kluber finished this season in 6th place all time in Indians history with 269 strikeouts. The only two people with better strikeouts totals in a season are Bob Feller and Sam McDowell, both of who pitched without the DH and a taller mound. The 269 also gives him the AL lead (for now) over David Price and puts him tied for 110th all time in the history of Major League Baseball. It may not sound like much, but that is a huge sample size. Kluber's performance, and Cody Allen's strikeout in the 9th, pushed the Indians into the lead for the most strikeouts ever in a season, besting the 1,429 from last year's Tigers staff. A total that can only grow in the final two games.
The only offense of the night came from the unlikliest of heroes, one Jose Ramirez. The Angry Hamster*! Ramirez gave the Indians a lead in the 1st inning when he pulled a 96 MPH heater from Rays starter Chris Archer. The ball just barely cleared the yellow line in right field, but it counted. And given that another Indians hitter wouldn't even reach 2nd base for the rest of the evening, it's a good thing that it did.
The only disappointment of the night was that Michael Brantley didn't collect his 200th hit. But tomorrow is another day. Whether that day also includes the Indians still in the hunt for a playoff spot remains to be seen.
*I'm gonna make this stick.
Win Expectancy Chart:
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