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10 unbelievable facts from Corey Kluber's 18-strikeout start

10 unbelievable facts from Kluber's 18-K start

Coming off his 2014 Cy Young, everyone expected another stellar season from Cleveland ace Corey Kluber. Entering Wednesday night, that hadn't happened yet. 

Through his first seven starts this season, the right-hander was 0-5 with a 5.04 ERA. It was kind of like the Klubot had been corrupted by a malevolent AI -- you know, like Ultron in that popular superhero movie that is out right now.

But there was never much reason to be concerned. All of Kluber's rate stats suggested much better success -- his K/9 and BB/9 rates were still quite similar to last season (9.3 and 2.2, respectively, compared to 10.3 and 1.9 last year) and his FIP was a much more respectable 3.20. 

On Wednesday night, he righted the ship all at once. On the same night that Indians legend Bob Feller's exhibit officially opened at Progressive Field, Kluber tied the Cleveland great by striking out 18 batters. Said Kluber about sharing the record with Feller after the game

"Any time that you throw your name in there with Bob Feller, that's obviously very humbling and a great accomplishment. More important is obviously getting the win."

Before we go any further, here's the hot GIF action I know you're craving. That's right -- all 18 strikeouts jammed into three beautiful GIFs. 




Here are 10 more wonderful facts from the night:  

• Kluber had all of his pitches working. He struck out six batters on his curve, five on his four-seam fastball, four on his sinker and three on his slider.

• Kluber is just the 29th player in history to strike out 18-plus batters in a game. And the first since Ben Sheets did it on May 16, 2004. 

• His 18 strikeouts are more than five qualified pitchers have this whole season: Doug Fister, Kyle Gibson, Mike Pelfrey, Kyle Lobstein and Jeremy Guthrie.

• Kluber entered the game ranked 14th in the Majors in strikeouts with 46. He is now tied for first with 64 with James Shields.

• Kluber is one of only five different pitchers in baseball history to strike out 18 or more batters without surrendering a base-on-balls, joining Luis Tiant, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson and Kerry Wood. 

• Kluber recorded 24 whiffs. 186 different pitchers have thrown at least 100 pitches this season while getting that many whiffs or fewer. 

• His 18 strikeouts are the second-most for a pitcher allowing one hit or less. Only Kerry Wood's record 20-strikeout game is ahead. 

• Kluber ties Randy Johnson for most strikeouts in a start going less than nine innings. Johnson also struck out 18 in eight innings when he faced the Rangers on Sept. 27, 1992

• Kluber's game score of 98 is also the highest-ever for a start going less than nine innings, topping Yu Darvish's score of 96 in 2013

• Thanks to Cody Allen's one strikeout in relief, the Cardinals matched their team record with 19 strikeouts. Of course, that other 19-strikeout game was a 20-inning affair with the Mets

(Additional reporting by Jordan Bastian / Sources: Baseball-Reference Play Index, Fangraphs)

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