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Game 107

July 30, 2014 – Kluber Hurls a Maddux against King Felix

There was no more marquee pitching matchup of the 2014 season than Felix Hernandez facing Corey Kluber. The two met on a Wednesday night at Progressive Field. 

Photo Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Kluber gave up three singles in the early innings, but they were all quickly erased–two of them with ground ball double plays.

The first 4 ½ innings were played in under an hour as Kluber and Hernandez each mowed through the opposing lineup. Felix had a perfect game going through four innings, until he walked Carlos Santana to lead off the fifth. 

Lonnie Chisenhall followed with a double to right field, which put Santana comfortably at third. Nick Swisher grounded a slow roller to second–Santana and Chishenall held at their bases–and Swisher beat the throw to first. After a grounder by David Murphy that forced Carlos out at home, Yan Gomes came through with a two run double. 

With the 2-0 lead, Kluber pitched even more confidently and efficiently. He needed only seven pitches to retire the Mariners side in the top of the seventh. 

The Indians did not threaten in the bottom of the seventh, but the Klubot returned to pitch the eighth. Kyle Seager grounded out on the second pitch. He struck out Logan Morrison looking on three perfectly located strikes, and got Mike Zunino to squib a weak grounder with the first pitch he saw. After a 6 pitch eighth inning, Kluber had thrown eight shutout innings using only 77 pitches. 

The Tribe went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the eighth, and Kluber quickly returned to the mound looking for the final three outs. On a steady diet of nasty sinkers, Brad Miller, James Jones, and Dustin Ackley all grounded out to end the game. 85 pitches was the new Indians record for fewest pitches in a shutout. 69 of the 85 pitches were strikes. 

Terry Francona later said, “He threw 16 balls. My math is horrendous, but that’s like two an inning?”

Although Kluber’s league-leading 18 wins were not quite enough to put the Indians in the postseason in 2014, they were enough to win him the AL Cy Young award when he garnered 17 first place votes over Felix’s 13.

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Game 45

Swindell near-Maddux Marred by Baerga Error

First off, ‘What’s a Maddux?” Jason Lukehart invented the term, and is the best resource to explain it in full. In short, The starting pitcher must toss a shutout, and he must throw fewer than 100 pitches.

Greg Swindell came into 1991 as one one of the best young pitchers in the majors on a historically bad team. Swindell lead the League in walks per 9 innings and strikeout/walk ratio, but still ended the season with 16 losses. The 1991 Indians scored 98 fewer runs than any other team in the American League, averaging only 3.6 runs per game.

No single game exemplifies Swindell’s talent and the 1991 team’s ineptitude more than Game 45.

Over 22,000 fans came out to Municipal Stadium on a beautiful June Saturday see Swindell match up with Bill Gullickson and the Tigers. With one out in the top of the first, Swindell hit Lou Whitaker with a pitch. Then, Carlos Baerga booted a grounder by Alan Trammel, allowing Trammel to reach on the error put Whitaker on third. Next up, Cecil Fielder hit a weak grounder to shortstop, scoring Whitaker on the fielder’s choice.

In the bottom of the first, Mark Lewis reached on a single to right field. Chris James sent a line drive triple to to center, allowing Lewis to score easily.

In the bottom of the fourth, Tribe catcher Joel Skinner drove home Brook Jacoby with a line drive to short left field. Carlos Baerga led off the bottom of the sixth with a double. With two outs, and after an intentional walk of Skinner, shortstop Felix Fermin drove in Baerga to bring the score to 3-1.

That was all the run support that Swindell needed. He worked efficiently and ruthlessly through the Detroit lineup. Swindell worked 1-2-3 innings in the 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 9th. He needed only 90 pitches to dispatch the Tigers, 68 of which were strikes. He issued no walks, and struck out six. This game would qualify as a Maddux, if not for the unearned run scored after Baerga’s error.

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