Corey Kluber was nothing short of magnificent on Wednesday night. There is absolutely no debating that. But just how historic was his 18-strikeout performance against one of the league’s fiercest lineups?
Over eight innings of work, Kluber sat down six innings worth of hitters via the strike out. He became the 30th pitcher in over 100 years to record 18 strikeouts in a game and only the 22nd to do so in a nine-inning affair. He became just the second pitcher in Cleveland Indians’ history — second only to Tribe legend Bob Feller — to record that many strikeouts in a nine-inning game and the first since Feller did it back in Fall 1938.
Sure, Kluber lost his no-hitter on a single by former Indian Jhonny Peralta. It wasn’t an obviously monumental achievement but, make no mistake, that performance wasn’t a dime-a-dozen.
Kluber joined Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Kerry Wood and Luis Tiant as the only pitchers since 1914 to record that man strikeouts in an outing, and it hasn’t been done since Johnson’s start on May 2001. He struck out every Cardinals’ hitter — save for Matt Holliday, who was hit by a pitch in the first — at least one time and struck out all by one batter (Matt Adams) on at least two separate occasions.
In a matter of firsts, the Tribe’s ace became the first pitcher in the last century to record 18-plus strikeouts, less than two hits and zero walks in a start lasting no more than eight innings. His Game Score of 98 was the highest outing lasting no more than eight innings since 1914.
It was far and away the best pitching performance in Major League Baseball since Wood’s infamous nine-inning and 20-strikeout performance, but what does it all mean?
Well, it means save your ticket stub from last night’s game because you’ll likely never see anything like it again.
Use the comments section below to let us know whether you think Corey Kluber, who was 113 pitches into his start, should have been allowed to go for 21 in the ninth.