CLEVELAND – The Indians are starting to pile up the hardware amidst an eight-win stretch over their last 12 games.
Major League Baseball named Corey Kluber the American League Player of the Week on Monday afternoon, just one week after Jose Ramirez received the same award.
The 31-year-old right-hander did not allow an earned run in his two starts (16 innings) against the Orioles (6/19) and Twins (6/24), punching out 24 batters to extend his double-digit strikeout streak to three games, tying the longest of his career (September 16-26, 2014).
“It’s a testament to what just good, old-fashioned hard work ethic can do,” said manager Terry Francona. “You go all the way back before I was here when he was in Triple-A, his numbers weren’t that great (and) there’s how many guys in the league that throw just as hard as him. Through hard work, he has turned himself into one of the best pitchers in the game.”
Kluber now has 12 complete games and five shutouts throughout his seven years at the big league level. Stan Williams (1968), Len Barker (1981) and Josh Tomlin (2014) are the only other pitchers in franchise history to have thrown a shutout with fewer than three hits, zero walks and at least 11 strikeouts, something Kluber executed against a dangerous Orioles lineup.
“I really try to keep it basic and just go out there,” Kluber said. “Inning by inning. Pitch by pitch. It sounds boring, but that’s what works best for me instead of getting too far ahead of myself.”
The Stetson University product had logged the most innings and strikeouts in baseball during the one-week span, putting him back in the discussion as a potential AL Cy Young candidate. Since returning from the 10-day disabled list (lower back strain), Kluber has a 3-0 record and 1.29 ERA with 52 strikeouts over 35 innings pitched.
“I think that it’s being able to throw all my pitches for strikes and being able to command them,” said Kluber of his outings since returning from the DL. “I feel like that’s been the biggest difference since before I went on it.”
Rockwell will award Kluber with a watch to recognize his recent efforts.
John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.