Kluber, Carrasco recording rare feats as duo
KANSAS CITY -- Indians ace Corey Kluber has grown accustomed to hearing about statistical feats he has achieved, especially in terms of strikeouts. The right-hander accomplished plenty throughout his run to the American League Cy Young Award last season.
Kluber now has some historical company, and it has come from within the same rotation.
As a duo, Kluber and Carlos Carrasco rank as one of the most dynamic 1-2 punches in the history of Cleveland's franchise. They are the only Indians teammates other than Luis Tiant and Sudden Sam McDowell to each have at least 200 strikeouts in the same season. Tiant and McDowell did it twice (1967 and '68).
"It'll be fun to pitch together for a while," said Kluber, who has 230 strikeouts this season. "There's a lot of guys on our staff who have the potential to be here for a long time. For spurts, we've shown what we're capable of. Now, we need to take that next step and piece that consistency together for an entire season."
The Indians have a shot at having three pitchers with 200-plus strikeouts, as right-hander Danny Salazar will enter Sunday's start with 186 punchouts this season. In Major League history, only the 2013 Tigers, 1969 Astros and '67 Twins have had three pitchers reach 200 strikeouts in the same season. It marks the 58th time in history (23rd time in the AL) that a team had two pitchers with at least 200 whiffs on the same staff.
Carrasco was thrilled to share the spotlight with Kluber.
"That feels good," said Carrasco, who has 211 strikeouts after racking up 15 in a one-hitter against the Royals on Friday night. "Corey Kluber is an unbelievable guy. He has the best stuff. He has everything. I didn't know [we both reached 200]. To hear that, that makes me feel good. ... I've said it before, I learn from him. I learn from him and the rest of the guys."
On Friday night, Carrasco set a career high for K's in a 6-0 win over the Royals. On May 13 against the Cardinals, Kluber allowed only one hit over eight innings and ended with 18 strikeouts. They became the first AL teammates to have an outing with no runs allowed, no more than one hit surrendered and at least 15 strikeouts in the same season.
The only other teammates to achieve that feat are Hall-of-Famers Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver, who did so in 1970 for the Mets.
Told of that rare accomplishment, Kluber cracked a smile.
"We've got a long ways to go to be mentioned in the same sentence as them," he said.