Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians was left off the American League All-Star team earlier this month. The more he pitches like he did on Wednesday night, the more foolish that is going to seem.
During the same week that Greg Maddux was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, Kluber joined the list of pitchers to pull off the feat named after Maddux. He threw a complete game shutout with under 100 pitches.
Corey Kluber threw a Maddux: 9 IP, 3 H, 8 K, 0 BB, 85 pitches.
There are numerous ways to regard this impressive accomplishment. For one thing, Maddux always said that he did not care about a perfect game in the terms that we all understand it. Rather, Maddux said his perfect game was one where he executed his game plan and did not miss his spots at all. That standard was reflected in his efficiency.
That is the type of game Kluber pitched in a 2-0 victory over Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners, putting himself in elite company.
Corey Kluber threw an 85-pitch shutout tonight against Seattle. Only the seventh blanking on 85 or fewer pitches since turn of millennium.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 31, 2014
Corey Kluber, overflowing with enthusiasm, on his first career shutout: “It was nice.” pic.twitter.com/c4B9ONKU2r
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) July 31, 2014
It certainly adds an interesting wrinkle that Kluber did this on a night that he faced off with Hernandez. Up to this point in the season people have focused on King Felix, Yu Darvish, Max Scherzer, and Chris Sale as the very top pitchers in the American League.
If those guys haven’t already, they better make room for Kluber.