September 30, 2018 – Four Starters have 200+ Strikeouts for the First Time in MLB History
The 2017 Indians set an MLB record with 1,614 strikeouts over the season by the entire pitching staff. They were also the first team to maintain a strikeout rate of greater than 10 per 9 innings. The 2018 Indians picked up the strikeout mantle and ended up with another unique achievement.
Carlos Carrasco took the mound on the last day of the season against Eric Skoglund of the Royals. Francisco Lindor reached on a fielding error by Skoglund when he dribbled the 3-1 pitch down the first base line. Lindor then stole second with Michael Brantley at the plate. Brantley struck out looking, but Lindor broke for third on the 1-1 pitch to Jose Ramirez.
Royals catcher Eric Haas sailed the pickoff throw into left field. Lindor picked himself up and scampered home to give the Tribe a 1-0 lead.
Lindor led off the top of the third by golfing a stike low in the zone over the wall in left-center. His 38th homer of the season put the Indians up 2-0.
In the bottom of the fifth, Brian Goodwin got aboard with a single to left that was only the Royals second hit of the day. He stole second and advanced to third on an Alcides Escobar groundout. Carrasco walked Brett Phillips and the Royals had runners at the corners. Meibrys Viloria hit a sharp ground ball back up the middle. It skipped over Carrasco’s glove and into center field scoring Goodwin.
To stay stretched out and setup the playoff rotation, Trevor Bauer came on to pitch in the bottom of the sixth. Carrasco’s final line was one run on three hits and six strikeouts. This brought his season K total to 231.
Bauer faced only fourteen Royals in four innings of work. His defense of a one run lead through the final four innings earned him his first (and still only) save. He added two strikeouts bringing his season sum to 221.
Today’s two pitchers along with Corey Kluber (222 strikeouts) and Mike Clevinger (207) were the first pitching staff to have four 200+ strikeout pitchers in the same year. Only three teams had previously had three 200+ K pitchers: the 1967 Twins, 1969 Astros, and 2013 Tigers. The 2017 Indians narrowly missed joining this club.
The pitching staff overall was 4th in the league in strikeouts with 1,544.