CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Corey Kluber is often lauded for his impeccable work ethic. But those heaps of praise don’t just come out of nowhere.
He earns it.
Kluber, who constantly lives up to his nickname, the Klubot, is always working on his craft.
But one of the more delicate things the Indians’ ace has learned to balance is the art of listening to himself and his body. After all, what good is all the hard work if it doesn’t lead to being your best version of yourself?
“I think you need to keep in mind also that the ultimate goal is to be at your best every fifth day,” Kluber said on Friday night. “So, I think there’s times where it is tough to maybe back off a little bit in-between starts, but I think it’s just something you kind of learn a little bit.”
Kluber appears to have mastered that art, becoming the first Cleveland pitcher since Jake Westbrook from 2004-2006 to log three consecutive season of 200 innings pitched or more, accomplishing the feat during Friday’s 11-4 rout of the Detroit Tigers.
In his most recent outing, the right-handed hurler logged seven innings, allowing four runs on five hits, walking three and striking out seven.
The righty also moved into sole possession of 11th place on the Indians all-time strikeout list on Friday night, passing Addie Joss.
Was it his best performance? No. But it was certainly good enough to keep him near the top of the running for his second American League Cy Young Award.
And it’s Kluber’s consistency that really impresses his manager, Terry Francona.
“He’s proven, not only to himself but to the league, that he can go out there every five days, year after year after year, and still be good,” Francona said. “And that’s hard to do. I think that’s what turned him into an elite pitcher, in my opinion.
“Doing it once is pretty awesome. But doing it time after time is really tough.”
Kluber has posted a 3.13 ERA this season, striking out 215 in 204 2/3 innings this season. The righty ranks third in the AL in wins above replacement (4.9), fifth in ERA (3.12), first in FIP (3.25), fourth in strikeouts and fourth in WHIP (1.04).
And much like his 2014 AL Cy Young campaign, the righty has been at his best in the second half of the season (8-1, 2.40 ERA after the All-Star Break).
Improving as the year progresses is another testament to his routine and hard work.
“I think it’s kind of a learning process, as far as the first time you get to a certain threshold,” Kluber said. “You’ve never been there before, so you’re learning how to listen to your body and things like that. And then, you’ve never done it back to back, you’ve never done it three times, or whatever.
“I think it’s all kind of listening to your body, knowing when to push it, knowing when you might need to back off, things like that.”
And it’s that type of consistency which has the Indians confident every time Kluber takes the hill.