CLEVELAND – After striking out 12 in 7 1/3 innings and one walk allowed in a 5-2 win over the Colorado Rockies, have the Cleveland Indians found their ace in Corey Kluber?
Kluber, 28, culminated one of the most impressive performances in May in recent history in recording 60 strikeouts in 43 innings, and for the year accumulate a record of 6-3, an ERA of 3.04, a WHIP of 1.23 and an AL-leading best 95 total strikeouts.
After letting former ace Ubaldo Jimenez sign as a free agent with the Baltimore Orioles, and failing to land a top pitcher in the off-season, the Cleveland Indians may have unearthed a gem in Kluber. Not highly regarded after being acquired via trade from the San Diego Padres as part of the Jake Westbrook trade in 2010, Kluber is under contract with the Indians until 2018, and thanks to his early lights-out performance has quietly asserted himself as the Indians ace.
Fourth in the AL in walk-to-strikeout ratio and first in strikeouts per nine innings, Kluber has numbers worthy of an All-Star. The question is can he keep it up come September and possibly October?
A lot can happen between now and then, but if early indications are any case, Kluber has given the Indians the No.1 pitcher at the top of the rotation that they sorely needed.