MLB Notebook: Tribe hurler putting 'K' in Kluber
Righty notches fourth double-digit strikeout game; Jeter, Ichiro keep on hitting
Among all right-handers in 2014, there are six who have compiled at least four double-digit strikeout games. In the American League, Masahiro Tanaka and Yu Darvish have the shared honor of leading the line with five apiece. And then, paired up behind those two, National Leaguers Johnny Cueto and Stephen Strasburg are side by side with four each. A second pair from the Junior Circuit -- Felix Hernandez and the Indians' Corey Kluber -- makes up a second duo with four. All six of these hurlers reached their individual totals through their team's first 87 games.
Back in 1946, the Indians had another right-handed pitcher racking up double-digit strikeout games, but in contrast to Kluber's work in 2014, Bob Feller was doing much more than simply keeping up with the best the Majors had to offer; he was so far ahead of any other righty, his leadership conjures up the unfathomable. Through Cleveland's first 87 games that season, Feller had 10 double-digit strikeout games. All other Major League right-handers through their team's first 87 contests had combined for a total of seven games with at least 10 punchouts -- and no right-handed pitcher had more than one.
In Cleveland, Kluber recorded 10 strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings on Sunday, collecting his eighth win in the Indians' 4-1 victory over the Royals. Kluber, who is an AL Final Vote candidate, has 137 strikeouts in 125 2/3 innings, for a K-rate of 9.81 per nine innings (fourth highest in the AL). For any Indians hurler with at least 100 innings by the All-Star break, Kluber's 9.81 would stand as the fifth highest, and he would stand with some stellar company.
Kluber's four double-digit strikeout games this season are the most for an Indians right-hander through the team's first 87 games since Luis Tiant had five in 1968.
Elder statesmen can't be slowed in New York
In the Yankees' 9-7 win over the Twins, 40-year-old Derek Jeter went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored, while 40-year-old Ichiro Suzuki went 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Prior to this contest, the last 101 seasons had seen two instances of 40-year-old teammates contributing three hits in a game:
• May 10, 1928: the Athletics' Tris Speaker (40) and Ty Cobb (41) each had three hits, with each collecting one double. Philadelphia beat St. Louis, 11-1.
• Sept. 22, 2006: the Giants' Moises Alou (40) and Barry Bonds (42) each had three hits (Bonds knocked in six with a homer and two doubles). San Francisco lost to Milwaukee, 13-12.
With his third hit, Jeter reached 3,400 for his career. Jeter's 3,400 hits through his age-40 season represents the sixth-highest total in history. Ty Cobb leads, and is followed by Pete Rose, Hank Aaron, Speaker, and Stan Musial (with 3,401 hits).
With his three hits, Ichiro Suzuki reached 2,794 in his Major League career. For all players in history, that total is four shy of matching Rose's tally for the most for a player from his age-27 through age-40 seasons.
Here and there
• Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-run homer in a two-hit, two-RBI, one-walk day and helped the D-backs snap the Braves' nine-game winning streak. For the season, Goldschmidt has 16 homers, 58 RBIs, 186 total bases, 49 extra-base hits (leads the NL) and 50 walks.
Goldschmidt is one extra-base hit away from being the first Arizona player to have 50 of those accompany 50 walks by the All-Star break. No NL player has done this since Albert Pujols in 2009, and no player in his age-26 or younger season has done this since Lance Berkman in 2001.
• Jordan Zimmermann worked six scoreless innings in a no-decision, while Tyler Clippard worked one scoreless inning for the win. In all, the two right-handers helped Washington -- with a 2-1 victory over the Cubs -- move to within a half-game of first-place Atlanta in the NL East.
In each of his last seven starts, Zimmermann has finished with at least six innings and no more than two runs allowed. The seven-game run is tied for the fourth longest for an Expos/Nationals pitcher, with the longest streak -- 10 straight -- belonging to Steve Rogers in 1978. During his latest streak (he had one eight-start run under these conditions in 2011, and another in '12), Zimmermann owns a 1.26 ERA (seven earned runs in 50 innings).
Since joining the Nationals in 2008, Clippard has 32 wins in relief -- the most in the Majors for this span.
• Assisted by Andrew McCutchen's two-hit, two-run day (pushing his slash line to .324/.424/.547), the Pirates defeated the Phillies, 6-2, to complete a three-game sweep.
Since falling eight games below .500 with a loss on May 20, Pittsburgh is 29-15, owners of the Majors' best winning percentage for this span. With that loss on the 20th, the Bucs owned the Majors' fourth-worst record. The last Pirates player to enter the All-Star break with at least 250 plate appearances and a slash line with marks as good as or better than McCutchen's current numbers was Ralph Kiner in 1949. Kiner owned a .333/.450/.645 slash that year.
• Henderson Alvarez allowed one run in seven innings and came away a winner (improving to 6-3 with a 2.27 ERA) as the Marlins defeated the Cardinals, 8-4.
Miami has won each of Alvarez's last 10 starts, which -- according to the Marlins' game notes (via Elias) -- is the longest such streak in franchise history, besting the nine straight wins in Chris Hammond starts in 1993.
Alvarez's 2.27 ERA comes in 18 starts. There has been one Marlins pitcher -- Josh Johnson with a 1.70 ERA over 18 starts in 2010 -- to enter the All-Star break with at least 18 starts and an ERA lower than Alvarez's current mark. Dontrelle Willis -- with a 2.39 mark in 2005 -- owns the second-lowest ERA.
• In his Athletics debut, right-hander Jeff Samardzija worked seven innings of one-run ball and came away with the victory in Oakland's 4-2 win over Toronto. It was the fifth time this season Samardzija had a start with at least seven innings and no more than one run allowed, but this outcome marked the first of the five to see him pick up a win for his effort.
Samardzija is one of 24 pitchers to have at least five such games (seven-plus innings and one or no runs allowed) this season, with the other 23 combining for 135 of them. In those 135, those other 23 hurlers are a combined 103-7. Samardzija is tied for the most winless efforts of seven-plus innings and no more than one run allowed, with Hernandez and Julio Teheran also having four.
• In the Rays' 7-3 victory over the Tigers, David Price fanned six to raise his total for the season to a Major League-best 159 K's. Price is the first pitcher to reach that many strikeouts before the All-Star break since 2002, when D-backs teammates Curt Schilling (186) and Randy Johnson (171) were making their respective ways to the 300-strikeout-plateau for the year.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.