Stetson alum Kluber was a strikeout machine
TODAY IN CENTRAL FLORIDA SPORTS HISTORY
Corey Kluber was on, like he had never been before, on any day, at any level of his pitching career.
The Cleveland Indians ace and Stetson University alum pitched his way into baseball’s record books as he struck out 18 in eight innings during a 2-0 win against the St. Louis Cardinals on this day in 2015.
Kluber joined Randy Johnson (three times), Roger Clemens (twice), Kerry Wood and Ramon Martinez as the only MLB pitchers to record 18 strikeouts through eight innings.
Having thrown 113 pitches, Kluber did not come out for the ninth. He also was just seven starts into a new season and was coming off an American League Cy Young Awardwinning campaign.
So Kluber did not get the chance to tie or break the record of 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning game, shared by Wood and Clemens.
Johnson and Max Scherzer also posted nineinning, 20-strikeout efforts but their respective games went into extra innings.
Orlando native and Boone High alum Cody Allen earned the save with a perfect ninth to close out the victory.
Allen later told Fox Sports Ohio that up until the point that he entered the game, he had been mesmerized by Kluber’s outing.
“I was definitely a fan,” Allen said.
It was statistical performance few could have seen coming. Kluber, who pitched at Stetson from 2005-07, was 0-5 with a 5.04 ERA before he took the mound against St. Louis. In fact, Kluber had allowed at least four earned runs in his last four starts.
St. Louis was 23-9 entering the game and went to post the most wins (100) in baseball that season.
By the time they were done facing Kluber, all but two Cardinals hitters had struck out at least twice against him.
Kluber, who did not walk a batter, also held the Cardinals hitless until the seventh inning when shortstop Jhonny Peralta managed a two-out single.
The only other St. Louis base runner came when Kluber hit Matt Holliday with a pitch in the first inning.
Kluber threw 65.5% (74) of his 113 pitches for strikes — 24 swinging and 20 looking. The other 30 strikes resulted in either a foul ball or were put in play. The Cardinals managed five fly ball outs and one ground ball out against Kluber.
He struck out Kolten Wong swinging on a 2-2 fastball to start the game and closed the top of the first inning with a strikeout of Peralta, who waved at a breaking ball in the dirt.
Kluber opened the third by fanning Mark Reynolds and went on to strike out nine of the next 10 batters. In all, Kluber struck out the side three times.
His 18 strikeouts also matched the team record for most in a nine-inning game, set by Bob Feller in 1938.
“Any time that you throw your name in there with Bob Feller, that’s obviously very humbling and a great accomplishment. More so important is obviously getting the win,” Kluber told The Associated Press after the game.
Stetson alum Corey Kluber became the fifth pitcher in Major League Baseball history to record 18 strikeouts in eight innings pitched during a nine-inning game on May 13, 2015.