Tag: Corey Kluber

Corey Kluber Can Put Name in World Series Lore with Game 7 Triumph

In sports, there is no greater crucible than Game 7.

It’s the mother of all small samples. On such a limited, glaring stage, peons can rise and the great sometimes wilt.

On Wednesday against the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field, Cleveland Indians right-hander Corey Kluber will have a chance to ascend from great to legendary.

It’s one start. And the stakes couldn’t be higher.

Cleveland could have secured its first championship since 1948 on Sunday, but lost 3-2 at Wrigley Field. After heading back to Ohio on Halloween, the Indians endured a nasty trick in Tuesday’s Game 6, as Chicago pounded them 9-3 to knot the series at three games apiece.

Chicago was shut out twice in the series’ first three games, but the club’s offense has stirred from its hibernation. The Cubbies have momentum, fleeting as it is, after winning two straight.

Now, it falls on the stout shoulder of Kluber, who has been mostly excellent since the calendar flipped to October.

Scratch that. Kluber has been mostly excellent, period.

A Cy Young Award winner in 2014 and an All-Star this season, Kluber has eclipsed 200 innings and 200 strikeouts each of the past three years.

The 30-year-old has been equally impressive in his first postseason go-round, posting an 0.89 ERA while allowing just 22 hits and eight walks with 35 strikeouts in 30.1 innings. His arsenal of pitches—the power sinker, cutter and sweeping breaking ball—have been working to devastating effect.

He’s already 2-0 in this World Series after pitching the Tribe to victory in Games 1 and 4. It’s been a throwback showing, as ESPN.com Jayson Stark spelled out:

The ace has started Games 1 and 4, and won Games 1 and 4by giving up a total of one run in 12 innings. It’s no big deal to him. But who does this in the modern world of pitch counts, innings thresholds and third-time-through-the-order phobias? Nobody does this. That would be your answer. He’s the first starting pitcher to win Games 1 and 4 of any World Series since Jose Rijoin 1990.

If Kluber cashes in another gem Wednesday, he won’t merely give the title-parched city of Cleveland its second major sports parade of the calendar year after the Cavaliers hoisted the NBA trophy in June. He’ll etch his name, indelibly, in the annals of World Series lore.

Only 13 pitchers have won three games in a single Fall Classic, according to Benjamin Hoffman and David Waldstein of the New York Times. The last man to do it was Randy Johnson for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001. That was a decade-and-a-half ago. Johnson has a bust in Cooperstown.

On October 24, before the World Series began, yours truly argued the Indians needed Kluber to do his best Madison Bumgarner impression. 

With Cleveland’s rotation depleted by injury and facing a deep, hungry Cubs lineup, it made sense for the Indians to saddle and ride an unflappable stud the way the San Francisco Giants rode Bumgarner in 2014.

These narratives rarely unfold so neatly. Yet here we are, with Kluber one step away from joining the firmament of postseason demigods.

He will be throwing on short rest. The specter of fatigue hangs in the air like an autumn mist. 

On the other hand, manager Terry Francona didn’t call on either Andrew Miller or Cody Allen in the Indians’ Game 6 shellacking, meaning the Tribe’s two-headed bullpen monster will be rested and ready to gnaw through the late innings.

If Kluber can give the Indians five or six solid frames and exit with the lead, he’ll have done his job.

That assumes Cleveland can dent Cubs starter and reigning MLB ERA king Kyle Hendricks, who has allowed just three earned runs in 20.2 innings this postseason. It also remains to be seen what Chicago closer Aroldis Chapman has left in the tank. 

As Game 7s go, this should be a doozy. The Indians believe they have the right man on the hill.

“Conversations with him, the way he treats his body, the way he works his routines,” Francona said of his confidence in Kluber’s stamina, per Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune. “Good players, good pitchers can do special things. He’s in that category.”

Good is one thing. Legendary is another. Kluber will be gunning for the latter.

He’ll do it against a Cubs offense that’s suddenly humming. He’ll do it in front of a home crowd whose vibrating, long-suffering anticipation is surpassed only by the fans rubbing rabbits’ feet on Chicago’s North Side.

This World Series is all about overcoming history. On Wednesday, in the ultimate crucible, Kluber can make some of his own. 


All statistics current as of Tuesday and courtesy of MLB.com and Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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Corey Kluber Announced as Indians’ Game 4 Starter for 2016 World Series vs. Cubs

Fresh off his historic start in Game 1 of the World Series against the Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber has gotten the nod from manager Terry Francona to start Game 4 on Saturday, Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller reported Wednesday.

Francona also added that Kluber will go for Game 7 if necessary, via Matt Snyder of CBS Sports. 

Kluber helped the Indians take a 1-0 series lead by striking out nine batters over six innings without allowing a run Tuesday.

His performance was headlined by a dominant start as he became the first pitcher in World Series history to strike out eight batters in the first three innings, via the Fox telecast: 

He also set an Indians World Series record for strikeouts in an entire game, surpassing Orel Hershiser in Game 1 of the 1995 series against the Atlanta Braves and Jaret Wright in Game 7 of the 1997 Fall Classic against the Florida Marlins, both of whom fanned seven. 

More importantly, Kluber threw just 88 pitches on the night, which could go a long way with just three days of rest. 

The 30-year-old has only started a game on three days’ rest once in his career, and it came earlier in the postseason. After throwing 100 pitches in Game 1 of the ALCS against the Toronto Blue Jays, Kluber returned for Game 4 and went five innings, allowing two runs on four hits as the Indians lost 5-1. 

But given the way the powerful Cubs offense had such difficulty getting to Kluber, it’s only natural that Francona and the Indians will want to roll out their ace as much as possible in the World Series. After all, this was a Cubs team that had scored 23 runs in the final three games of the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers

What makes Kluber so difficult is his deception on the mound. With the same windup and release point for each of his pitches, it’s all but a guessing game for batters to try to decipher whether his pitch will stay true like a fastball or perform a last-second, severe break like his devastating cutter. 

It makes Games 2 and 3 that much more important for the Cubs now that the ace they couldn’t touch is looming in Game 4. 


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com

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Corey Kluber Sets World Series Record with 8 Strikeouts Through 3 Innings

Cleveland Indians starter Corey Kluber was as good as ever in his Game 1 start in the World Series.

The ace shut down the Chicago Cubs the first time through the order, accumulating eight strikeouts in the first three innings. According to Buster Olney of ESPN.com, he became the first to accomplish this feat in the World Series.

Per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, this is also the Indians’ record for strikeouts in a World Series game.

Kluber finished the game with nine strikeouts in six shutout innings, allowing just four hits and no walks. He exited with Cleveland holding a 3-0 lead and the team eventually won 6-0.

C.J. Nitkowski of Fox Sports 1 discussed the pitch that has helped him out in the early going:

This type of effort is nothing new for Kluber, who has been outstanding all postseason long. In three playoff starts over the first two rounds, the right-hander had a 2-1 record and a 0.98 ERA. He also had 20 strikeouts in 18.1 innings.

It is a continuation of his success during the regular season, which saw his first All-Star appearance thanks to 18 wins and a 3.14 ERA. He won the Cy Young Award in 2014 during a year where he posted his career-best 2.44 ERA.

Cleveland’s postseason strikeout record is 12 by Charles Nagy in 1996, per ESPN Stats & Info. The most Kluber has had in 2016 is 11, which came on Aug. 31 against the Minnesota Twins.

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Indians May Need Corey Kluber’s Best Madison Bumgarner Imitation in World Series

The Cleveland Indians don’t need Corey Kluber to be anyone other than himself.

He’s one of MLB‘s top-shelf arms, after all—a Cy Young Award winner in 2014, an All-Star in 2016 and a stud throughout this postseason. He’ll take the ball in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday with the faith of a title-starved city behind him.

Still, if Kluber could be Kluber with a dusting of Madison Bumgarner, the Tribe wouldn’t protest.

We’re using Bumgarner as shorthand for a starting pitcher who slings a team over his back and carries it across the October finish line. It’s what MadBum did in 2014 for the San Francisco Giants. And it may be what the Indians ask of Kluber, per ESPN The Magazine‘s Buster Olney:

The calculus could change if Cleveland wins the first two games at Progressive Field and wrests control of the series.

Assuming that doesn’t happen, however, manager Terry Francona will think twice before digging deep into his depleted rotation against a dangerous Chicago Cubs lineup.

Before we explore that, let’s recount what Kluber has accomplished this October.

Through 18.1 innings spread over three starts, the 30-year-old right-hander owns a 0.98 ERA with 20 strikeouts and has held opposing hitters to a .197 average.

He won his first two starts, in Game 2 of a division series against the Boston Red Sox and Game 1 of the American League Championship Series against the Toronto Blue Jays, logging 13.1 shutout innings with 13 strikeouts.

He absorbed his lone loss in Game 4 of the ALCS, yielding four hits, two walks and two earned runs in five innings. That start came on short rest, so you could argue it’s a cautionary tale.

It’s not as if Kluber was a gas can, however. He struck out seven and flashed the array of weapons—a power sinker, cutter and sweeping breaking ball—that make him one of MLB’s least comfortable at-bats.

Kluber has eclipsed 200 innings in each of the last three seasons. Durability is listed under the “special skills” section on his resume.

He’s also got that intangible quality—call it grit, call it moxie, call it what you will. It’s what Bumgarner exudes at his scowling, otherworldly best.

“Corey’s a tremendous competitor,” Indians closer Cody Allen said after Game 1 of the ALCS, per MLB.com’s Jane Lee. “It never looks like the game’s speeding up on him or it’s getting out of control, and that’s the sign of a true ace.”

After that win, the New York Post‘s Ken Davidoff conjured the Bumgarner comp, so we’re not pulling this from the speculative ether.

OK, now a few words about the rest of the Indians’ starting rotation.

Josh Tomlin has been a revelation, going 2-0 with a 2.53 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 10.2 innings. Trevor Bauer, however, is a question mark as he recovers from a drone-induced finger injury. Rookie Ryan Merritt is the lone lefty in the mix, but he’s made only two big league starts in his nascent career.

All-Star Danny Salazar is an intriguing X-factor. He hasn’t pitched since going down on Sept. 9 with a forearm strain, though, and can hardly be counted on.

That’s a lot of ifs and maybes. Kluber is a safe bet. Fortunately for the Indians, he’s got backup.

Allen and setup man Andrew Miller have combined for 19.1 innings of 10-hit, no-run ball with 33 strikeouts. In essence, they’ve made every Indians playoff game a five- or six-inning affair. If the Tribe have a lead late, forget about it.

Kluber, then, won’t necessarily have to flirt with complete games. Five or six strong frames may be all the Indians require with Miller and Allen waiting to finish the kill.

In that sense, Kluber could channel a combination of 2014 Bumgarner and the 2014 Kansas City Royals, the club Bumgarner vanquished that year in the Fall Classic.

The ’14 Royals, you’ll recall, had a shutdown bullpen headlined by Greg Holland, Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera that ruthlessly shortened contests. Add a thoroughbred No. 1 starter to that squad, and it probably would have won it all, as it went on to do in 2015.

Kluber should focus on being Kluber, comparisons and distractions aside. He’ll have his hands full against the Cubbies, who lead all postseason qualifiers with 48 runs scored.

If he’s looking for someone to emulate, however, he could do worse than MadBum.

Or, to put it another way, he couldn’t do much better.


All statistics accurate as of Monday and courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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Corey Kluber Injury: Updates on Indians Star’s Quad and Return

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber is among the most dominant hurlers in baseball, but the former Cy Young Award winner will miss time after going down with a quadriceps injury.

Continue for updates.

Kluber Timetable Revealed

Tuesday, Sept. 27

According to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com, the quadriceps strain is expected to keep the pitcher out for seven to 10 days.

Kluber lasted only four innings in his last start before coming out with an apparent groin injury. However, the MRI revealed it to be a different leg issue. 

Bastian broke down what this means for the Indians, who have already clinched the division title: 

The Tribe boasts a spectacular starting rotation featuring several power arms, but Kluber is arguably the best among them, and he is producing to the tune of 18-9 with a 3.14 ERA in 2016.

Expectations were massive for Kluber entering the 2015 campaign after he went 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 269 strikeouts en route to the Cy Young Award in 2014.

Although he was unable to replicate those numbers, bad luck was among the major culprits, as his 3.49 ERA should have been lower when compared to his 2.97 FIP, per Baseball-Reference.com. He also posted a record of just 9-16 despite his strong peripheral numbers, which speaks to how little run support he received in 2015.

In addition to that, he was forced to deal with an injury late in the season, as a hamstring ailment limited him in September. He still managed to make 32 starts, though, and he has proved to be fairly durable over the course of his career.

Pitching is undoubtedly the Indians’ greatest strength, so they may be able to have success even without the 30-year-old veteran in the rotation despite all the positives he brings to the table.

With Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin also on the team, Cleveland boasts more power arms than any club in all of Major League Baseball.

The potential absence of Kluber will certainly test the Indians’ pitching depth, but they should still have a great chance to win on most days.

Kluber is the type of ace who sets the Tribe apart from the rest of the league, though, which is why his recovery and return to full health will be so important for Cleveland moving forward.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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Corey Kluber Replaces Marco Estrada on 2016 AL All-Star Roster

An injury to Toronto Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada opened the door for Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber to join the 2016 American League All-Star team.  

Per Major League Baseball‘s official Twitter account, Kluber was named to the squad as an injury replacement after Estrada went on the disabled list with back problems. 

Kluber, who won the 2014 AL Cy Young Award, has not made an All-Star team prior to this year, even though he’s been one of the league’s best pitchers over the last three years. 

The one stat for Kluber that jumps out this year is his high 3.79 ERA, which would be his worst mark over a full season since a 3.85 mark in 2013. 

However, as ESPN.com’s Keith Law noted in his breakdown of All-Star snubs, everything else Kluber has done made him worthy of inclusion on the team:

Kluber’s ERA is unsightly at 3.79, but he has the best FIP in the AL at 2.96, and the gap is really about Kluber’s having a bizarre, probably flukish time with men on base, especially with men in scoring position: Hitters have slugged .529 off him in 82 such plate appearances. That’s well above his career slugging percentage allowed with men on base (.430), which is why I say it’s likely a fluke and not a good reason to leave off the roster someone who is clearly one of the top 10 pitchers in the league.

In addition to Kluber’s stellar fielding independent ERA, he is tied for first in the AL with 3.1 wins above replacement, per FanGraphs, fourth with 114 innings pitched and fifth with 114 strikeouts. 

It would be one thing if this were a one-year fluke for Kluber, but he’s been one of the AL’s best pitchers over the last three seasons. He doesn’t stand out as much in Cleveland’s rotation as he once did, however, because Danny Salazar made his first All-Star team this year, Carlos Carrasco has been terrific since returning from the disabled list and Trevor Bauer is having a breakout season. 

Kluber gives the first-place Indians three All-Star representatives, along with Salazar and shortstop Francisco Lindor. It’s been a great summer for sports in Cleveland already, and now the city’s baseball team will be well-represented on the Midsummer Classic stage to show the country it is a legitimate contender. 

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Indians’ Kluber Reaches 500 Strikeouts over 2-Year Span

Cleveland Indians pitcher Corey Kluber may have suffered through another rough outing, but his first strikeout in Monday’s 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins made him the Indians’ first right-handed pitcher since Bob Feller (1940-41) to record 500 or more strikeouts over a two-year span, per MLB Stat of the Day.

After striking out 269 batters in his Cy Young-winning 2014 campaign, Kluber entered Monday’s contest with 230 strikeouts this season, needing just one more to reach 500 over the two-year span.

He got the necessary strikeout against Twins outfielder Eddie Rosario to end the first inning, but only after surrendering an RBI double to Twins designated hitter Miguel Sano and a two-run home run to Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe.

With his team in an early 3-0 hole and the Twins getting the best of him in a second straight start, Kluber probably wouldn’t have cared about the milestone even if he had known.

He did settle down a bit after the rough opening frame, ultimately allowing four runs, seven hits, three walks and six strikeouts on 102 pitches over six innings.

The loss dropped his record to 8-16, with the 16 losses putting Kluber one ahead of Oakland Athletics pitcher Jesse Chavez for the American League lead.

Kluber’s undoubtedly been one of the least lucky pitchers in all of baseball, as his ERA estimators on Fangraphs (FIP, SIERA, etc.) are all much better than his actual ERA, and he’s also suffered through terrible run support.

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Corey Kluber Injury: Updates on Indians Star’s Hamstring and Return

The Cleveland Indians rotation has suffered a huge loss, as reigning American League Cy Young winner Corey Kluber is dealing with an injured hamstring. 

Continue for updates. 

Kluber Out with Hamstring Strain

Friday, Sept. 4

According to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com, Kluber will not make his scheduled start Friday against the Detroit Tigers with a strained hamstring that could keep him out for an additional start. 

The good news for Cleveland is Bastian did note Kluber is expected to pitch again this season, though did not specify a potential return date. 

Kluber exploded onto the scene in 2014 with a 2.44 ERA and 269 strikeouts in 235.2 innings, becoming Cleveland’s third Cy Young winner since 2007. He has followed that up with another stellar season, leading the league in innings pitched (200.1) while posting a career-best strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.76). 

As the Indians were making their run to the playoffs two years ago, though, Kluber was on the sideline in September with a sprained right middle finger. He didn’t have any issues last year, making 34 starts, so the 29-year-old is not injury-prone. 

Cleveland’s rotation lost Carlos Carrasco to the disabled list with a sore shoulder at the end of August, so taking Kluber out of the mix leaves two huge holes for manager Terry Francona to work around. 

The Indians have climbed back to within striking distance of the second wild-card spot, entering play on Friday six games behind the Texas Rangers, so the loss of Kluber for even one start will make it difficult for them to have any hope of making up that difference with 30 games left. 

Even though the Indians have been a disappointment this season, Kluber has remained a rock at the top of their rotation. His absence will change the dynamic of Cleveland’s rotation, even if the team’s playoff hopes are slim at this point. 


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MLB Superstars Who Must Step Up for Their Teams Before It’s Too Late

From Andrew McCutchen to Chris Sale, some of baseball’s biggest names have been big-time duds in 2015.

The good news for the Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder and the Chicago White Sox ace is that it’s still early—really early. The bad news is that their teams play in two of the most competitive divisions in baseball—the type of divisions where a sideways start could be the kiss of death.

Combing through the league, McCutchen and Sale are two of the most prominent superstars who need to step up for their respective clubs before it’s too late, but they’re not the only ones. There’s also room on the list for a Cy Young Award winner and a member of one of the most hyped rotations in recent memory.

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Corey Kluber, Indians Agree on New Contract: Latest Details, Comments, Reaction

The 2014 American League Cy Young Award winner is staying put, as the Cleveland Indians agreed to a new contract with pitcher Corey Kluber.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com provided details:

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports confirmed Heyman’s report.

This deal should come as no surprise considering Kluber is fresh off a season where he turned in a 2.44 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 269 strikeouts on the way to an 18-9 record.

There are certainly high hopes in Cleveland for the 2015 season, and Kluber as the ace in the front of the rotation is a major reason why.

He is one of the best pitchers in all of baseball and will only turn 29 years old this season. The fact that he never pitched more than 148 innings in a single season before 2014 means he doesn’t have a lot of wear and tear on his arm. That should set up well moving forward, as Kluber just begins to enter his prime.

Ideally with this new contract, Cleveland can rely on its right-hander for years to come as the team’s ace.

Jeff Sullivan of Fox Sports pointed out one reason why Kluber has been so effective on the mound:

Corey Kluber’s been one of the best pitchers in baseball. According to MLB managers, he’s got one of the best breaking balls in baseball. Statistically, it profiles as one of the best breaking balls in baseball, and it compares favorably to two of the other best breaking balls in baseball.

That curveball will continue to haunt American League hitters for the foreseeable future after this new deal.

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