When you asked Indians fans at spring training what kind of team we would have this season, what they described is what you saw tonight. A complete game shutout from Corey Kluber backed by artillery fire from the entire Indians batting order sieged the Orioles down to nothing in a 12-0 blowout. The Tribe now own a six-game winning streak and have not lost since this wonderful little guy entered our lives.
And do you love little Jose (I sure do)? Well, let’s talk about his living, fire-breathing counterpart.
Like Edwin Encarnacion last night, Jose Ramirez earned his own section. Ramirez hit two doubles and a triple tonight. What we’re talking about isn’t just a single game of dominance, though. This is our reigning AL Player of the week, and we can take a quick look at why:
Jose Ramirez, last seven games:— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) June 20, 2017
-Batting .594 with a 1.868 OPS
-14 of 19 hits are extra-base hits
-Scored 11 runs
-Lost his helmet twice
That’s pretty good, wouldn’t you say? He’s now gobbled up 42 total bases in seven games. Baseball writer Kevin Dean kept track throughout the game of various players that Ramirez passed in fWAR. The list included Kris Bryant, Carlos Correa, and George Springer. Just nasty.
There are a number of interesting streaks Ramirez can chase if he continues to mash doubles. More important to me is his overall production spike. The Indians struggled for much of May to produce anything exciting at the plate. After that gruelling stretch Indians fans have been treated to a spectacular show from several players, but especially Ramirez. It comes at a particularly good time: during an unusual slump from Francisco Lindor. As long as one part of the Indians left infield stays scorching hot, the runs will mount.
I sincerely hope that Ramirez gets to the All-Star game. His level of play is worthy of national attention; his hair, flair, and helmet-flying antics? Even more so.
Kluber nearly threw a Maddux tonight. It would have been nice to see another Klubbux (you have permission to shoot me) but I don’t think anyone will be disappointed with a complete game shutout. Eleven times, Kluber sent an Orioles hitter back to the dugout. He allowed only three hits — none of which were driven — and did not walk a single batter.
Short of throwing a perfect game, it’s hard to imagine Kluber pitching much better.
It’s difficult to understate how valuable this start might be for the Indians, as well. They are currently in the midst of a three-week long stretch with more baseball games than days. By giving the entire bullpen another day of rest Kluber ensures the Indians will carry an advantage throughout the rest of this series and limit the buildup of attrition throughout the month. Does that all go out the window if the Indians play a 24-inning game tomorrow? Sure. I don’t think that detracts at all from the brilliance of the Klubot.
We talk sometimes about Carlos Carrasco potentially eclipsing Kluber as the ace of the staff. When Kluber strides out with a gunslinger’s poise and sits everyone on the opposing team down without so much as a smirk, it’s hard to imagine anyone outgunning him for the role.
A Few Tribe Notes for to Tidbit
- Every single Indians starter earned a hit today, except for Francisco Lindor. Five Indians had two hits; two Indians had three hits.
- Bradley Zimmer beat out yet another ground ball he had no business beating, and this time I think it’s because the fielder knew he needed to get the ball out of his glove quickly, and it ate him up. Never leave the lineup, Bradley.
- Sandy Alomar Jr nearly met his maker in the 8th inning thanks to a foul ball from the bat of Francisco Lindor.
- In the 4th inning, the Indians pulled away courtesy of three consecutive doubles from Jose Ramirez, Edwin Encarnacion, and Lonnie Chisenhall. They added a fourth from Austin Jackson before the end of the frame.
- Twenty-six batters went to the plate for the Indians in the 4th, 5th, and 6th inning.
The Indians take on the Orioles once again tomorrow night. Josh Tomlin and Chris Tillman face off in a game that may not feature a fastball faster than 90 mph.