What national media are saying about Corey Kluber’s Cy Young candidacy

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Tribe starter Corey Kluber has emerged as an American League Cy Young favorite, and to illustrate the point, here are the opinions of five of the most prominent baseball writers in the country.

Jonah Keri, Grantland, Sept. 30:

AL MVP Ballot

  • Mike Trout, OF, Angels
  • Corey Kluber, SP, Indians
  • Felix Hernandez, SP, Mariners
  • Michael Brantley, OF, Indians

AL Cy Young: Corey Kluber

Chris Sale was outstanding this season, but he fell short in the end since he pitched 60-some fewer innings than the league leaders. That means the AL Cy Young race boils down to two top candidates: Corey Kluber and Felix Hernandez.

Let’s go to the tale of the tape, starting with the basics:

  • Kluber: 235.2IP, 269 K, 51 BB, 14 HR, 2.44 ERA
  • Hernandez: 236, 248, 46, 16, 2.14

Pretty damn close.

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Francona, Antonetti discuss Tribe after season finale

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Indians Manager Terry Francona and General Manager Chris Antonetti chatted with media on Monday, a day after the club’s season finale against Tampa Bay on Sunday. They addressed a number of topics, including offseason goals, positives from 2014 and more.

Skipper first …

MANAGER TERRY FRANCONA

It’s still hard today … We don’t have all the answers.

Couple things I do know: We were faced with w lot of challenges: Some health, some guys not quite doing what we thought they’d do. Through it all, we managed to compete all the way to the end. That wasn’t our goal; our goal was to win. … I was really proud of the effort, of the players, of the front office guys. We always seem to do it together.

This year, it wasn’t enough to get us over the hump and into the playoffs, but it helped give us our best chance.

When it’s all said and done, you never want to leave it on the field, to have regrets. If you do, you’re kicking yourself if you end up a game or two short. That’s opposed to leaving it all out there, and not really having any regrets. It wasn’t good enough for us but we have no regrets.

We’re happy with how some of the young guys did, but we still need to get better. I’m not just talking about going out and getting players … I’m talking about everything, putting players in the best position to win.

On the team’s defense

There were a number of reasons where we weren’t really clean. It was flat out making errors, to maybe not getting to some balls earlier in the season. We spent a majority of the season trying to unshoot our foot. That’s a hard way to play. What we talk about is the more work we can get done at high intensity, the better.

Re: positives of 2014

We are disappointed. The goal is to get to the Postseason and keep playing. But part of what excites me so much fi the effort our guys gave to get us to where we got.

Look at some of the core group we have in place:

  • Yan Gomes is a bona fide All-Star. There’s a lot to like there : his energy, his game-calling ability.
  • Brantley turned into one of the top position players in the league. And his impact goes far beyond the numbers.

On Corey Kluber

I don’t know if he’s going to win the Cy Young or not, but he should. Look at (Seattle’s) Felix (Hernandez) and you look at Kluber — If you took their names off of it and put their resumes side by side, Kluber would win the Cy Young. That’s the best endorsement I can give Klubes. The reason I say that is that I went and did it – didn’t want to be a homer. I actually felt like Kluber deserved it, and I didn’t know whose numbers was who.

There are three reasons why I’m so happy here: One is our players, I love the players. Another is the atmosphere Chris and his guys have fostered here, which I think is remarkable. The third one is, I just like the city.

I grew up around here, spent first six years of my life here. There are challenges ahead of us, but it’ll be more special when we figure it out and put it all together.

GENERAL MANAGER CHRIS ANTONETTI

It’s disappointing to not still be playing. Our goal is to win the World Series and to do that you have to be in the Postseason.

But stepping back from that, I couldn’t be more proud of our players and coaching staff and how they persevered. No matter how difficult the loss the night before, they showed up ready the next day. Tito, our coaches and players deserve a lot of credit for the way they handled things.

After you get past the disappointment of not making it and reflect back, there were a lot of positives this year – especially when you look at the development and progress for a lot of our younger players. We were alive on a really young roster to make a postseason push.

We had developments from Michael Brantley’s emergence as star, to Yan (Gomes), to Lonnie (Chisenhall)… Up and down, see progress they made. You see that and look forward and that’s incredibly exciting to us. We’ve never gone into an offseason in a better position of strength.

Our younger guys gained incredible experience. We asked a lot of them – to make the transition to the big leagues and the environment, and then make a postseason push. In exit meetings, a lot of guys referenced that experience. We’ll benefit from that.

This year obviously was not the script we drew up. We had some injuries, some inconsistencies from our veterans, and we placed a big burden on some of our younger guys.

There are a number of ways we improve this offseason:

  • The young guys who contributed this year can continue to progress
  • Our veteran guys return to health and perform the way they’re capable
  • And we’ll look externally and find ways we can improve

Re: Swisher’s surgeries

It’s important to get the surgeries out of the way, especially as we look to next year. Retrospectively, I don’t think we knew what he was trying to battle through and perform through. It’s easy to look back now and wonder if we could have done it differently, done the surgeries sooner. To his credit, he worked hard and tried to play through it for the team. Encouraging: He should come in to Spring Training ready to go and contribute the way we all know he’s capable of contributing.

On the positives from 2014:

In the rotation, look at the emergence of young, extraordinary pitching staff. We set the MLB record for strikeouts, which is an incredible accomplishment given youth. They’ll all be here for the foreseeable future. Look at the progress they made and where they go forward, it’s exciting.

Michael Brantley has emerged into what we believe is a star player in the league. Yan Gomes established himself as one of the best catchers in the AL if not baseball. Lonnie (Chisenhall put together a very good season especially for a young player. There were a lot of individual performances in all aspects of the club that are promising.

Our defense is an area we need to better in. It was better in the second half than the first half, but we have to be better there.

 

Photo gallery: Season finale victory over the Rays

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The Indians completed their 2014 season on Sunday, wit ha 7-2 victory spurred by the team’s young players — and some familiar faces, as well. Afterward, players thanked fans by handing out autographed gear … thanks, fans, for a great 2014 season!

–Photos by Dan Mendlik and David Cleveland

Final notes on Corey Kluber’s historic, Cy Young-worthy 2014 campaign

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Corey Kluber struck out 11 in 8 innings as the Indians beat Tampa Bay, 1-0, at Progressive Field on Friday night. Jose Ramirez’s first-inning homer was all Kluber needed in support.

Notes on Kluber’s historic season and strong push for the American League Cy Young Award:

  • Recorded his American League-leading 18th victory (tied: Weaver/Scherzer) of the season after holding the Rays to just 5 hits over 8.0 shutout innings; Kluber racked up 11 strikeouts and issued just 2 free passes (W, 8.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 11 SO, 106 pitches/74 strikes).
  • Kluber’s 18 victories are most by a Tribe hurler since Cliff Lee went 22-3 in his 2008 Cy Young campaign – most by a Tribe RHP since Roberto Hernandez (19-8) in 2007.
  • Marks his MLB-high 10th start this season of 7.0+ innings, 2 or fewer earned runs and 10+ strikeouts…only other pitcher in the Majors with more than 5 such outings is the Dodgers Clayton Kershaw with 6.
  • Kluber now owns 11 outings of at least 10 strikeouts this season, most by a Tribe starter since Herb Score notched 11 such appearances during the 1956 campaign…the only other pitcher in the Majors with that many 10+ K games in 2014 is David Price (11)…also marks his 21st start of at least 8 strikeouts this season, tied with Bob Feller (21 in 1946) for 3rd most in club history behind only Sam McDowell (24 in 1965; 23 in 1970).
  • Kluber’s 11 strikeouts moved him into sole possession of 6th place on the Indians all-time single season list – Bob Feller (1st) and Sam McDowell (2nd-5th) hold each of the top 5 spots.
  • Ended the regular season winning each of his last 5 starts, scattering just 5 earned runs over his last 40.1 innings – Kluber racked up 54 strikeouts against just 5 walks over that span while limiting opposing batters to .211 (32-152) average against…in collecting a career-high 14 strikeouts in each of his previous 2 starts, Kluber becomes the first pitcher in Indians history to register at least 10 strikeouts in each of his last 3 starts to conclude a season.
  • In finishing 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA (64 ER/235.2 IP) and 269 strikeouts, Kluber joined Bob Feller in 1946 (26-15, 2.18 ERA (90 ER/371.1), 348 SO) as just the second pitcher in Indians history to record a season of at least 18 wins and 265 strikeouts, while posting an ERA of 2.50-or-lower.

Photo Gallery: Batting Practice, Sept. 26 vs. Rays

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The best #CyKluber perspective: From teammates Bourn, Murphy, Giambi

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You may have heard of this Corey Kluber character … he’s had a pretty good year.

Before he wins – hopefully – the American League Cy Young award, we asked his teammates what has allowed Corey Kluber to turn into what we’ve been calling #CyKluber.

Here’s what they had to say:

MICHAEL BOURN

The first time I saw him pitch was in Spring Trainin last year. I didn’t know who he was; I was new. (2013 Spring Training was Bourn’s first after signing with the Indians in February.)

You can tell when someone had good stuff. I asked Michael Brantley – “Who is this? He can pitch!”

Brantley said, “That’s Kluber.”

Over time, I watched him – and he got better as time went on. The thing about baseball – sometimes things don’t happen as soon as you want them to; sometimes success takes time. You have to be patient, and that’s what he’s done.

It’s not a surprise. He had the stuff; now he thinks along with it. He knows what hitters are thinking, and that’s fun to watch.

JASON GIAMBI

He’s always been good. He added a cutter, found his location and he just attacks hitters. He proves that you can attack the strike zone, throw strikes and gets guys out … and he does that night after night.

Ever since he’s been up – he didn’t even start last year with us in the big leagues —he’s grown more confident every start. He’s hit his stride and been getting better and better.

DAVID MURPHY

There are a lot of different reasons (he’s been so successful).

No one sees the way he works behind closed doors, besides his teammates and coaches. He works as hard as anybody. He’s in the weight room working hard between starts.

When he’s on the mound, he has phenomenal stuff… He just knows how to use it. He and Yan have formed a great combination.

When you have that many plus pitches and you locate them, hitters aren’t going to have much of a chance.

I compare him to (former Phillies and Blue Jays starter) Roy Halladay. From the stories I heard about Roy – he’s the same. He was a machine. He shows up at 5AM at Spring Training to do his work. If you ever faced him, you knew he wasn’t there to mess around.

That’s the same vibe Kluber gives off.

Download At the Ballpark app, check in on regular season’s final weekend for great offers!

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Fans visiting Progressive Field for this weekend’s series with the Rays will have the opportunity to take advantage of great check-in offers on the MLB.com At the Ballpark app. (CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD.)

In addition to check-in offers for promotional items, concessions and merchandise, fans using At the Ballpark can watch game highlights directly on their phone, find a comprehensive ballpark map, track 50/50 raffle results and more!

Check out a preview of this weekend’s offers below:

FRIDAY

  • Free Dunkin Donuts Iced Tea coupon (all fans) – Booth at Section 107
  • 20% Off next order at MLB.com/shop (all fans)
  • Michael Bourn Bobblehead, courtesy of Shearer’s (First 25 Fans) – Booth at Section 107

SATURDAY

  • Indians phone cases (all fans, while supplies last) – Booth at Section 107
  • Free Dunkin Donuts Iced Tea coupon (all fans) – Booth at Section 107
  • 20% Off next order at MLB.com/shop (all fans)
  • Free Subscription to MLB.com At Bat for 2014 and 2015  (ONE FAN)
  • $50 Gift card to MLB.com Shop (ONE FAN)

SUNDAY

  • Free Dunkin Donuts Iced Tea coupon (all fans) – Booth at Section 107
  • 20% Off next order at MLB.com/shop (all fans)

At the Ballpark is available for both Apple (iOS 7.0 or later) and Android devices. Visit http://www.Indians.com/BallparkApp for more details.

#CyKluber: Our next-to-last best case for Corey Kluber as the AL Cy Young

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Kluber went 5-0 with a 1.12 ERA (5 ER/40.1 IP) and 54 strikeouts over his final 5 starts of the season…he becomes just the 4th pitcher in baseball’s Modern Era (since 1900) to win each of his final 5 starts in a season while recording 50+ K’s in that span, joining Herb Score for the 1956 Indians (5-0, 1.60 ERA, 52 K’s), Nolan Ryan for the 1973  Angels (5-0, 2.49 ERA, 57 K’s) and Randy Johnson for the 1998 Astros (5-0, 1.41 ERA, 55 K’s)…courtesy of Elias.

Owns the highest Wins Above Replacement (“WAR”) figure of any pitcher in the American League according to FanGraphs (7.3), ESPN Stats & Info (7.41), Baseball-Reference (7.4) and Baseball Prospectus (6.09).

By the numbers:

  • 18: Tied for highest AL win total
  • 44: 3rd-best AL ERA
  • 269: 2nd-most strikeouts in MLB
  • 2: 3rd-most innings in AL
  • 3: 2nd-most complete games
  • 27: 2nd-best AL SO/game total
  • 26: 3rd-most AL quality starts

More:

  • 18: Most wins by Tribe starter since 2008
  • 269: First Tribe pitcher to reach 250 strikeouts since 1970 (Sam McDowell)
  • 5: Number of CLE pitchers to reach 250 Ks in a season
  • 14: Career-high strikeout total in consecutive starts (9/16, 9/21)
  • 1.88: second-half ERA (third-lowest in MLB)
  • 1.10: Run support while pitcher of record in his 9 losses
  • 25: Career-high consecutive innings without allowing an earned run (7/24-8/4)
  • 60: MLB-leading strikeout total in May
  • 1970: Last time a Tribe starter had at least 10 double-digit strikeout games

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Couple pushing for support of baseball’s return to Montreal visit Progressive Field on ballpark tour

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The Indians will play host to a couple special guests who will be attending the team’s game vs. the Tampa Bay Rays at Progressive Field this Friday. Gabriel and Adry are a young couple from Montreal who have spent the summer visiting all 30 MLB ballparks in hopes of promoting the return of baseball to Montreal.

They are learning as much about the history of each team and the MLB as possible while documenting their experiences from every ballpark. They’ve made many friends along the way at each stop and via social media, many of whom have provided shelter to spare them from spending the night in their mini-van.

They’ve saved the best for last – Cleveland will be their last stop in the U.S. before returning to Canada. Be sure to give them a warm Tribe welcome if you see them around the ballpark on Friday! Plus, you can follow along on their journey on their website and on their Twitter account.

#Smooth200: The case for Michael Brantley as AL MVP

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You may have seen us tweeting #Smooth200 recently. Why? Because Tribe left fielder Michael Brantley has quietly built a case for AL MVP consideration after signing an extension with the Indians this past offseason.

With one game remaining, Brantley now has 200 hits, 45 doubles, 20 homers, 97 RBI and 20 stolen bases — he’s the only player with 200 hits, 40 doubles, 20 steals and 20 homers in a season in club history.

Among AL position players, he ranks:

  • 2nd in hits (200)
  • 3rd in WAR (7.0)
  • 3rd in average (.327)
  • 4th in OBP (.385)
  • T-6th in runs (94)

Meanwhile, to put Brantley’s 2014 figures into historical perspective:

  • Only six other players in MLB history have posted 200 hits, 40 doubles, 20 homers, 20 steals and 97 RBI over a full season: Larry Walker (1997), Ellis Burks (1996), Alfonso Soriano (2002), Chuck Klein (1932), Jacoby Ellsbury (2011).

More historical figures on Brantley’s season:

  • The only other Indians player with 200 hits, 20 homers and 20 stolen bases in a season was Joe Carter, who hit 29 homers, stole 29 bases and had 200 hits in 1986.
  • The last Indians player with 200 hits in a season was Kenny Lofton (210, 1996)

He’s also been clutch, with two walk-offs this year… May 19 vs. Detroit (to start a sweep):

And Aug. 3 vs. Texas to FINISH a sweep:

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