Kluber, Indians blank Rays, 1-0; Tribe eliminated from playoff race
Cy Young candidate Kluber shuts out Tampa, but team falls short of October
The lights above Progressive Field will not shine bright come October.
But for one more night on Friday, Corey Kluber (18-9, 2.44 ERA) shined the brightest.
Hurling eight dominant innings of shutout baseball, Kluber led the Indians in the series opener past Tampa Bay for a 1-0 victory.
“He looked like he was on a mission,” manager Terry Francona said. “He’s kind of been like that since the second game of the year. I would say it was his best, but he’s done it so many times and has done it so consistently.”
The American League Cy Young candidate was at it again from the very first inning, striking out the side to start the ballgame.
He would also net all the run support he needed early as well, courtesy of rookie shortstop Jose Ramirez. The 22-year-old belted in the lone Tribe run of the night, on just his second homer of the season off Rays starter Chris Archer (10-9, 3.33 ERA).
“We get the Jose home run and it holds up,” Francona said. “Archer pitched really, really well.” The former Indians prospect held the Wahoos to one run on three hits over a solid 7 2/3 innings of work.
His only problem became Kluber, who went onto blank Tampa for just five hits over eight frames, striking out 11. It marked the third consecutive start the right-hander struck out at least 11 batters in a game.
“Klubes just dominated his stuff,” Francona said. “He had to work a couple times, but really he was tremendous. He’s been unbelievably consistent, and at a high level. Take out the Oakland outing in the beginning of the season, and it’s been fun to watch.”
Unfortunately for Cleveland (84-76), Oakland would also spoil the Indians chances of playing on baseball’s biggest stage. With the A’s winning over Texas on Friday, it officially eliminated the Tribe from the postseason race about an hour after the game.
Despite, the end of a successful playoff run, the team managed to set a new major league record in the eighth inning. No other pitching staff in the history of baseball has racked up more strikeouts than the 2014 Indians (1,431).
“I think it talks to stuff,” Francona said. “I think those types of things happen when you’re pitching correctly.”
“We have good pitchers on our staff with good stuff,” Kluber said. “That record probably speaks volumes for what kind of stuff we have.”
The ace finishes the season with 18 wins, the most for a Cleveland starter since Cliff Lee in 2008. Not only that, his 269 strikeouts on the year are the sixth best in club history, the most since Luis Tiant fanned 265 in 1968.
“Just consistency,” Kluber said, when noting what stands out to his record-breaking season. “Taking the ball every time and going out there and for the most part giving the team a chance to win.”
He was also quick to pass some of the limelight to his battery mate.
“I think Yan [Gomes] is by far the best catcher in the league,” Kluber said. “I don’t think you can put an amount on how much he helps us out as a staff. I think he does a lot more than he gets credit for.”
Now, the 28-year old Kluber will look to get credit and notice from baseball voters in the coming weeks, when the Cy Young Award winner is revealed. A serious case could be made for Cleveland’s ace.
“It would be a great accomplishment,” Kluber said. “But the most important thing right now is that the team won.”
“He’s been consistent and has been our horse all year,” closer Cody Allen said.
It was Allen that came into notch his 24th save of the season with an easy ninth, securing both the win for the team and Kluber.
“Seeing his success is pretty gratifying,” he said. “It would be awesome. All the guys in here think he deserves it, but it’s not up to us. He’s put in a big body of work and is deserving of it.”
Up next for the Indians: Although they’ve been eliminated from the playoff race, the Tribe still looks to end the season on a high note. Carlos Carrasco (8-6, 2.64 ERA) takes the hill for the Wahoos Saturday night against Rays right-hander Alex Colome (1-0, 3.63 ERA) at 6:05 p.m.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
W/R to Corey Kluber.. spelled with a K: The Cy Young consider he's earned puts him in line with the elite pitchers in the game today.. The AL should be Kluber, Hernandez, Scherzer, Shields and Sale, in that order & for valid reasons.... We'll see how the actual voting comes out..
W/R Jose Ramirez: Is not an everyday player in MLB yet.. He's working closer to it.. but really isn't one yet and may not ever be one... Just look at his first 100 AB's as a regular (which were pretty impressive.) then look at his next 100 AB's: At best, he's been below a replacement player level. Defensively, he's made most of the plays he should.. he's made a few spectacular plays he shouldn't...He has range and a good arm. Not turning double plays in crucial situations.. not catching the ball cleanly in key moments. are part of his "learning curve" right now.. . He has a lot of growing up to do if he's going to be an every day player.. We'll see..
in one of postings the name garrett anderson got put in same sentense with michael Brantley. I am mentioning that because in one of my comments i believe it was in 2012 i started drawing comparisons to those two way ahead of everyone else. i am taking credit for it it was my comparison and that was 20/20 foresight
1. Great pitching.
2. Almost zero offense.
3. J Ram showing he belongs on the field.
With the win Cory has a shot for the Cy Young. A 1 - 0 loss or a no decision would have ended that hope.
Actually the most since Sam McDowell had 304 K's in 1970