In his first seven starts this season, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, Cleveland Indians pitcher Corey Kluber, had an 0-5 record and didn’t look anything like the dominant pitcher he was in 2014.
That all changed last night. Kluber pitched eight innings of one-hit ball against the St. Louis Cardinals in his team’s 2-0 win. Kluber had 18 strikeouts and no walks in the game.
Kluber became the 20th pitcher since 1914 to fan 18 or more in a game and the first since Milwaukee’s Ben Sheets had 18 K’s against Atlanta on May 16, 2004. It was also the 30th game where a pitcher had 18+ strikeouts. Four pitchers have fanned 18 or more in multiple games: Nolan Ryan (five), Randy Johnson (four), Roger Clemens (three) and Sandy Koufax (two). One interesting note about Kluber’s 18-strikeout performance is that he is only the second pitcher to amass that many strikeouts in a game while pitching less than nine innings. The other was Randy Johnson.
Kluber’s gem last night was the 238th game in MLB history where a pitcher had 15 or more strikeouts. It was also the 38th game where a pitcher had 15 or more strikeouts and no walks. The last time it happened was just four days ago when the New York Yankees’ Michael Pineda had 16 strikeouts and no walks in his team’s win over Baltimore.
The 18-strikeout, no walks performance by Kluber was only the eighth time in MLB history that a pitched fanned that many in a game without giving up a walk. This was the first such game since May 8, 2001 when Randy Johnson fanned 20 and walked none in that game.
Here are the eight pitchers who have now struck out 18 or more in a game with no walks.
Corey Kluber, 5/13/2015, 18 strikeouts
Randy Johnson, 5/8/2001, 20 strikeouts
Roger Clemens, 8/28/1998, 18 strikeouts
Kerry Wood, 5/6/1998, 20 strikeouts
Randy Johnson, 6/24/1997, 19 strikeouts
Roger Clemens, 9/18/1996, 20 strikeouts
Roger Clemens, 4/29/1986, 20 strikeouts
Luis Tiant, 7/3/1968, 19 strikeouts
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