Corey Kluber Scorches Cardinals in 18 Strikeout Masterpiece
Last season, Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber had a tremendous breakout year. Storming his way to Cy Young Award honors, Kluber took the league by force in his first full MLB season. To the tune of an 18-9 record, 2.44 ERA and a whopping 269 SO, he absolutely crushed the competition. Throughout the course of the season, he became the Indians’ unquestioned ace. Kluber was the teams stopper and best player, without doubt one of the premier pitchers in the league.
It came as a shock to everyone when Kluber wasn’t his same dominant self this season. Winless through his first seven starts, and sporting an ERA over five, something just didn’t seem right. The player who had established himself as such a reliable force on the mound wasn’t anywhere to be found. “What’s wrong with Corey Kluber?” was the question on everyone’s mind.
In Wednesday’s start, his eighth of the season, it seems Kluber answered that question. Striking out a career high 18 batters, he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. Enough to earn a 2-0 win for Cleveland. It seems the Corey Kluber of 2014 is definitely still here. While everyone feared the worst, it turned out the only thing to worry about was whether Kluber was going to break the all-time record for strikeouts in a single game or not. He came awfully close to tying the mark of 20 set by Roger Clemens and Kerry Wood.
After signing Kluber to a 5-year $38.5million contract in the off-season, the Indians don’t have anything to worry about. He’s still clearly one of the games most dominant pitchers. I would look for a string of quality outings starting now. After a few stinkers, Kluber should be primed to shake off the cobwebs and continue making major league batters look stupid. After tossing one of the best 8-inning outings in the history of the game – look out.
Landin Murphy covers MLB for MFST, you can follow him on Twitter @Landinfitness