Raise your hand if you though you’d see a day when Corey Kluber would outperform Stephen Strasburg. Anyone? Anyone at all? I didn’t think so, but lo and behold that’s exactly what happened Sunday afternoon as the Indians rode the right arm of Corey Kluber to a 2-0 victory over Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals.
All of the sudden it appears as if Kluber, a former fourth round draft pick, has had the Chris Sale (Or at the least, a pretty good pitcher)” href=”http://wahoosonfirst.com/2013/06/14/corey-kluber-a-latter-day-chris-sale-or-at-the-least-a-pretty-good-pitcher/” target=”_blank”>metaphorical light bulb turn on. On Sunday he worked his way through 8 innings of shut out baseball allowing 7 hits and walking none while striking out 8. This comes on the heels of another spectacular outing back on Tuesday against the Rangers in which he also threw 8 innings and allowed only one run. For those of you keeping score, that is 16 innings, 1 run, 3 walks, and 11 strikeouts over his last two starts. There aren’t enough words in the English language to describe how phenomenal these past two performances have been. Absolutely outstanding.
As for Strasburg, this was his first start since coming off of the disabled list with a strained back muscle. He pitched well, but not to the typical Stephen Strasburg standard. It was also apparent that Strasburg was under very strict observation. His pitch count for the day was limited to 80 and after his 82 pitch of the day, Davey Johnson took the ball from him. Strasburg’s final line, 5 innings pitched, 1 hit and 1 run. He struck out only 4 and also walked 4, a clear indication that he was a bit rusty.
The Indians scored the first of their two runs on the day in the fourth innings. Jason Kipnis walked to reach base against Strasburg. He then stole second and advanced to third on a wild throw by Nationals’ catcher Jhonatan Solano. He then scored when Carlos Santana singled to center. The Tribe then got a bit of insurance in the eighth when Kipnis his a sacrifice fly to right. Michael Bourn, who had doubled to lead off the inning scored. Vinnie Pestano came in to finish things off in the ninth to earn his first official save of the season.
However, the story of the day had to be Kluber. His continued run of success has been a critical part in the Indians recent success following an eight game losing streak. If he can continue to pitch like this the Indians rotation becomes that much better. When Zach McAllister returns from the disabled list the Indians could potentially have one of the more formidable rotations in the AL. Who would have that would be the case come mid-June? Baseball is a funny game like that sometimes.
The Good: Corey Kluber, Corey Kluber, COREY KLUBER! I can’t begin to emphasize enough just how spectacular his performance was on this day. Added bonus points to the offense as well. Sure, they only scored 2 runs, but they didn’t get shut out against Strasburg. That by itself is an accomplishment and didn’t allow Kluber’s great performance to go to waste.
The Bad: Nothing. Despite the lack of offense on the day it was excusable considering the caliber of the opponent. Plus the Indians have now won two series in a row against two teams that are believed to be World Series contenders. Not too shabby.
The “Huh?”: COREY KLUBER! Seriously… where is this coming from? Eight innings, no runs, 8 strikeouts. I can’t believe it.