Cleveland Indians: Corey Kluber’s Dominance Takes a Historical Turn

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Corey Kluber and Bob Feller Joined by Historic Feats

With each and every start, Corey Kluber further cements his legacy in Cleveland Indians lore. From the Cy Young award to an 18 strikeout game and everything in between, we have seen Kluber do some phenomenal things over the past two and a half seasons. On Wednesday night, he added another chapter to his story.

In Wednesday’s loss to the Royals, Kluber racked up nine more strikeouts in eight innings of work. That now has him enjoying some elite company within the Indians record books. With those nine strikeouts, Kluber has now fanned 59 batters over his last five starts. That is the most by any Indians pitcher over a five-game span in a single season ever and the most in a five-game span since Bob Feller struck out 60 in a five-game stretch spanning the 1938 and 1939 seasons.

Corey Kluber and Bob Feller. Think about that for a moment. Feller is widely regarded by many as the greatest pitcher in the 100-plus year history of this franchise. Corey Kluber is now doing things that rival only him. What I’m trying to say is that what we are witnessing from Corey Kluber is becoming historically significant. That’s not something that should be taken lightly by any means.

What’s might be even more impressive for Kluber is the fact that this five-game stretch is self-contained within a single season. For Feller, he required both the 1938 and 1939 seasons to achieve his accomplishment. Feller struck out 28 in the final two games of the 1938 season and then 32 in the first three games of 1939. He had the added benefit of prolonged rest between starts two and three. For Kluber, this is happening during the heart of one season. In a way, it’s almost more impressive all things considered.

And not only has Kluber crept into Indians history with his recent performance, but he has also done the same with the Major League Record book. Since 1914, only three pitchers have put together five-game stretches during a single season in which they struck out 59 or more batters with five walks or less. (Credit to STO for pointing out this stat)

Screen shot courtesy of STO/Fox Sports Ohio Cleveland

Pedro Martinez, 1999: 69 strikeouts, 5 walks

  • Curt Schilling, 2002: 59 strikeouts, 3 walks
  • Corey Kluber, 2015: 59 strikeouts, 3 walks

    Both Martinez and Schilling are regarded as two of the best pitchers of their generation, with Martinez often brought up in conversation among the greatest pitchers ever. Schilling will more likely than not enter the hall of fame. Martinez will be inducted this year as a first ballot entry. That is impressive company.

    Are we witnessing the makings of a hall of fame career? Possibly, but in all honesty it’s far too early to tell. Kluber has been phenomenal really since the halfway point of the 2013 season. Two and a half seasons is not nearly enough to fill a hall of fame resume, but it is a start. For Feller, Martinez, and Schilling, they had careers spanning nearly 20 years apiece to collect accomplishments and accolades.

    The bottom line in all of this, and I made mention to it in a piece last week concerning Kluber and the use of wins as a viable stat, we are seeing the makings of something special. He should be appointment television at this point. He should be a reason for anyone who considers themselves a fan of the Indians to make their way down to Progressive Field every fifth day or so.

    Most importantly, Kluber isn’t going anywhere. The Indians have him locked up at an affordable price for the foreseeable future. Don’t be afraid to love him. Embrace the Klubot.

    Next: ASG voting needs to be changed

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