Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals struck out 20 batters on Wednesday night, tying an MLB record. Amazingly, he blitzed the strike zone, throwing 96 strikes in 119 pitches. It was truly an amazing performance.
That dominant outing got me thinking, wondering which Cleveland Indian has the best chance of striking out 20 batters in a single game. The Tribe is blessed with plenty of strikeout machines, so it's actually a decent little debate.
Let's have some fun and take a look at some odds on how likely it'd be for our Tribe hurlers to tie or break the strikeout record.
Corey Kluber (6 to 1)
Kluber already has an 18 strikeout game to his credit, a gem from 2015 in which he absolutely shut down the Cardinals. Can he get to 20 k's in a game... sure. But he is a little older than the other pitchers in the Tribe's starting rotation and he hasn't looked incredibly dominant yet this year. Still, it takes just one magical game and I wouldn't count Kluber out.
Carlos Carrasco (8 to 1)
A juicy bet here, as Carrasco career-high is 15 punchouts, coming last September. The right-hander has posted elite strikeout rates and has filthy stuff, plus he's younger than Kluber.
Danny Salazar (12 to 1)
Nobody doubts Salazar's strikeout ability. The question is whether Salazar could work deep enough in a game with his control issues to get to 20 K's?
Trevor Bauer (25 to 1)
Value bet here. Bauer has reached 11 strikeouts in a game before and has teased us Tribe fans with his sometimes unhittable stuff. Will he ever put it together? Maybe not, but again, he'd need just one magical game to set the mark.
Mike Clevinger (60 to 1)
Clevinger broke out last season, posting a 2.73 ERA in Double-A Akron and striking out 145 batters in 158 innings. He features an electric fastball and crazy awesome hair.
Brady Aiken (100 to 1)
How can you turn down 100 to 1???
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So, which odds would you cash in on? Which pitchers would you stay away from?