Aug 29, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber (28) delivers in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Indians pitching has struck out 1266 batters this season – the most in the American League, and all of baseball. The Cubs are close behind the Tribe, trailing by just three strikeouts, but as of Thursday Cleveland was in the lead. Meanwhile, the Indians have a dominant lead over the second-place AL team, as the New York Yankees have 30 fewer strikeouts.
Why is the Tribe so good? Four of their pitchers crack the AL Top-10 list in strikeouts, and that puts them in the Top 25 in the entire league. In the AL, Corey Kluber is third with 219, and Carlos Carrasco is sixth with 187 punch outs. Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer rank eighth and ninth, with 182 and 165, respectively. Those are some quality totals. Reliever Cody Allen has also tacked on 92, while Zach McAllister has struck out 76.
No other team has that many individuals at the top of the list. The Tribe has one of the most lethal rotations in baseball, and they send many a batter back to the dugout without ever making contact.
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The Cleveland Indians are four games back in their quest for a Wild Card berth. Can they do it?
The numbers don’t lie: it will be hard for them to make up the difference, because they’re not controlling their own destiny. Instead, they’re counting on teams like New York, Texas, Houston and Minnesota to falter and give the Indians a chance to catch up in the standings.
However, the Tribe has looked so good that it’s impossible for fans not to feel just a little hopefully that another Wild Card game is in their future. They’ve gone 24-18 since the start of August, posting a .571 winning percentage. Before the All-Star break, they were 42-46 – not even at .500. It will take some luck, but the Indians have played themselves back into contention, and the last two weeks of the season should be fun to watch.