CLEVELAND -- Starting pitcher Corey Kluber is hitting his stride at the right time for the Cleveland Indians, who have had their fair share of struggles with the rotation in recent weeks as injuries and ineffectiveness have befallen the staff.
Off the disabled list for a month after being hampered by a lower back strain, Kluber finished off a strong performance throughout the month of June with a 12-strikeout showing over eight innings of work in a 5-1 win over the Texas Rangers at Progressive Field Thursday.
“I think that’s the idea of first off going on the DL, and then, making sure that it actually is corrected before you come back and not rushing things,” Kluber said. “I think that’s probably why guys get in trouble because it’s not fun at all not being up there and being able to help the team.
“I think that you do have to have patience with it because ultimately, you’re going to be in the best position to help them win when you’re actually healthy, not if you’re coming back at maybe 75 percent.”
Thursday’s win was Kluber’s fourth in the month of June and marked the sixth straight game in which he went at least six innings. In Kluber’s 12 starts this season, only once has he failed to make it through the sixth inning.
Kluber has struck out 25 batters over his last two starts and registered at least 10 strikeouts in all but one of his six June starts.
“I think you more so try to read their approach as much as you try to read the actual swing they’re taking,” Kluber said. “I think that can tell you more. Sometimes, a guy can take an ugly swing and get a hit, but I think you can get a better idea if maybe, you pay attention to what they’re trying to do in the at-bat.
“I think it’s just kind of paying attention to the way their at-bats are going and kind of adjusting throughout the game. I think that every game, you have to have a plan going into it, but you have to be willing to adjust that plan if hitters are reacting a little bit differently than maybe you thought they would.”
Just how good has Kluber been pitching as of late?
Thursday’s win against the Rangers marked the 30th time in Kluber’s career in which he collected 10 or more strikeouts. Kluber’s four straight 10-plus strikeouts performance tied an Indians record set by Hall of Famer Bob Feller during the 1938 and 1939 seasons.
Kluber recently registered his 1,000th career strikeout, and is currently tied with Luis Tiant for the 10th-most strikeouts in Indians history.
In his 30 10-plus strikeout performances, Kluber is 18-0 with a 1.45 earned run average, and the Indians are 54-0 when he gets four or more runs of support, a streak that dates back to June 11, 2013.
“There’s games where you probably command the ball as good as others and you don’t strike guys out,” Kluber said. “You might get weak ground balls instead. I think that strikeouts are a product of making good pitches, but I don’t think strikeouts are the only way to show that you had a good day.”