CLEVELAND (92.3 the Fan) – Prior to Corey Kluber going to the disabled list following a three-inning outing in Detroit on May 2, the former Cy Young winner looked like a shell of himself. Since the right-hander has come off of the disabled list, he might have put together the most dominant 10-game stretch of his career.
In those 10 starts, Kluber boasts a 1.52 ERA over 71 innings with 107 strikeouts and a .163 batting average against him.
In Sunday’s win, Kluber recorded his ninth double-digit strikeout game with a season-high 14, also notching his team-record 10th consecutive night with eight or more Ks. He has now struck out 10 or more in seven of his last eight, 8-of-10 and 9-of-12.
Manager Terry Francona says the uptick is a product of a Cy Young candidate not resting on his laurels, always aiming for more.
“He’s kind of set the bar pretty high,” Francona said. “In this game, when you’re consistent, that’s a good thing. … He’s one of the best in the game. It’s nice when a guy reaches that point and continues to really get after it and work so he can even try to get better.”
Kluber came into Sunday in a tie for second in fWAR among American League starters with Rays righty Chris Archer, who had hard five more starts under his belt. Kluber also ranks second in baseball in FIP, ranking behind Red Sox lefty Chris Sale in both categories.
Four and out
Run support is key for any pitcher, but may not be more so for any other team than that of Kluber and the Indians.
In Kluber’s last 55 starts in which the Indians scoring four or more, including Sunday, the Indians are now 55-0.
The righty said the run support coming early has a deeper impact than just allowing him to be comfortable.
“That’s always nice. To score early is a big boost, let alone to put up four in the first,” he said. “Kind of spreads things out early. It gives the pitcher a lot of room for error, but it also puts the other guy on the ropes. Later on in the game, you kind of see what can happen.”
Just the right Guyer
After coming over to the Indians at the Trade Deadline in 2016, OF Brandon Guyer has had a tremendous effect as a platoon outfielder for the Indians, especially while going 6-for-18 in the post-season.
The 2017 season has not been kind to the 31-year old between a wrist sprain that sidelined the righty for a month and a half. In the 35 games he had played entering Sunday, he had struggled to a .190/.264/.291 slash.
On Sunday, Guyer broke the game open with a bases-loaded double in the first to give Kluber that four-run lead.
As the team has struggled with runners in scoring position and Guyer has struggled completely, the timing of the hit could not have been any more perfect.
“That was a big hit for us, really big,” Francona said. “Because he was such a force for us the second half of last year. To get him, when he came back from being hurt, there hasn’t been a ton of at-bats. That’s why he left him in to face Joe Smith, just because we can get him going. He’s such a productive bat, especially against left-handers.”
Guyer was just happy to help.
“It’s all I want to do, is try to help the team win,” he said. “And I knew after that, putting up a four-spot in the first inning, with a guy like Kluber on the mound, odds are we’re probably going to have a pretty good chance to win the game. That felt good, felt good to come through and help the team win.”