Corey Kluber will Pitch for Postseason Win #5

Corey Kluber will look to become only the 3rd pitcher in MLB history to win 5 games in a single Postseason.  Several have won 4 games with the most recent pitchers being Madison Bumgarner in 2014, John Lester and Michael Wacha in 2013 and Chris Carpenter in 2011.  In all, 18 pitchers have won 4 games in a single Postseason.

The two that have won 5 games?  Randy Johnson in 2001 led the Arizona Diamondbacks to their first and only World Series championship.  Johnson won the World Series MVP in ’01 as 3 of the 5 wins came in the Series against the Yankees.  He also won 2 games in the NLCS.

Johnson pitched a complete Game 2 in the ’01 Series allowing 3 hits and no runs.  In Game 6, Johnson threw 7 more innings striking out 7 and allowing 2 runs.  Johnson would be called again just a day later in Game 7.  With 2 outs in the 8th inning, down a run and with a man on base, Johnson would retire pinch hitter Chuck Knoblauch.

He would return in the top of the 9th and shut down the 3-time defending champion Yankees 1-2-3.  After an improbable bottom of the 9th inning that saw legend Mario Rivera blow a save and eventually get the loss, Johnson would become the first pitcher in history to win 5 games in a single Postseason.

Relief pitcher, Francisco Rodriquez, is the only other person with 5 wins in a single postseason.  In 2002, KRod won 2 games in the ALDS, 2 in the ALCS and 1 in the World Series against the San Francisco Giants.  Rodriquez also had a loss in the Series.

In all, KRod pitched in 11 games that postseason, going 5-1 with no saves.  In the Series, he gave up only 2 earned runs in 8 and two thirds innings with a 2.08 ERA.  He struck out 13, walked 1 and allowed 6 hits.  A win for a relief pitcher is rare, let alone 5 of them in a single Postseason.  But this appears to be more related to the fact that the games were so close and not Rodriquez’s performance.

The Indians have cruised through the playoffs in 2016. Kluber pitched 1 game in the NLDS throwing 7 innings striking out 7 and allowing 0 runs on 3 hits.  In the NLCS against Toronto, Kluber started 2 games and pitched 11 and a third innings.  He allowed 2 runs, 10 hits and struck out 13 with an ERA of 1.59.

He has been lights out in the World Series.  Two games, 9 hits, 15 strike outs, and 1 earned run.  A 0.75 ERA.  If Kluber can pitch like that again later tonight he will all but guarantee the first World Series Championship for the Indians since 1948.  And Kluber will walk away with the MVP and a new Chevy.

After 30 and a third innings pitched, Kluber’s 0.89 ERA sits at number 6 on the all-time Postseason ERA list. Right behind number 5, Babe Ruth, at 0.87.  Mariano Rivera is the career ERA leader with 141 innings pitched and a 0.70 ERA.

-Keith Laskey


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