CLEVELAND — There aren’t many pitching matchups this season that could top Wednesday night’s at Progressive Field as Corey Kluber faces Felix Hernandez.
It’s also up to Kluber to stop an Indians’ tailspin. Coming into the game, the Tribe has dropped seven of their last nine, including a 5-2 result on Tuesday to Seattle to open a three-game series.
In his last start, last Thursday in Kansas City, Kluber had a perfect game for 6 1/3 innings before allowing a single. It was the deepest an Indians pitcher has gone into a game without allowing a baserunner since Len Barker’s perfect game in 1981. Kluber went nine innings, allowing an unearned run on two hits while striking out 10. That also marked a club record fifth game this season where Kluber has had double-digit strikeouts and a walk or less.
Over his past six outings, Kluber has allowed just 10 earned runs in 52 2/3 innings while striking out 54 and walking seven.
Hernandez has tied a major-league record with 13 straight starts where he has pitched at least seven innings and allowed two or fewer runs. Tom Seaver had 13 straight with the Mets in 1971 while the former American League record was 12 by Hall of Famer Chief Bender in 1907.
During this span, King Felix has gone 7-1 with a 1.36 ERA where he has had 113 strikeouts and 17 walks. One of those outings was against the Indians on June 29 in Seattle where Hernandez went eight innings and allowed only one hit while striking out nine and walking three in a 3-0 win.
This will be Hernandez’s 16th career start against Cleveland. He is 7-5 with a 2.98 ERA but is 3-5 with a 4.50 ERA in nine starts at Progressive Field.
Kluber and Hernandez are also among the American League leaders in a variety of stats. Here is a tale of the tape for tonight’s matchup (AL rankings in parenthesis):
KLUBER VS. HERNANDEZ
149 1/3 (3)
158 1/3 (2)
Opp. Bat Average
INDIANS VS. HERNANDEZ: David Murphy 24-78, 3 HR, 16 RBI; Nick Swisher 11-53, 4 HR, 5 RBI; Michael Brantley 8-22, HR, 6 RBI; Asdrubal Cabrera 3-17, 2 RBI; Mike Aviles 7-20, RBI; Carlos Santana 3-16, RBI; Jason Kipnis 6-17, RBI; Lonnie Chisenhall 2-6; Ryan Raburn 0-6; Chris Dickerson 2-3, HR, 2 RBI
MARINERS VS. KLUBER: Robinson Cano 1-4
Coverage of the game starts on SportsTime Ohio at 6:30 p.m. Here are other things to watch in tonight’s game:
EIGHT AND COUNTING: Santana is on an eight-game hitting streak and is 16 for 31 with six home runs and 10 RBI during that span.
NOT SLOWING DOWN: Dickerson had his fourth multi-hit game of the season on Monday and has hit safely in all six games he has played at Progressive Field since being acquired on July 7. Dickerson is 8 of 17 in home games with a 1.029 OPS and four runs scored.
QUITE A MONTH: Mariners’ outfielder Dustin Ackley is batting .390 in July (30 of 77) with five three-hit games. He went 3 for 5 with two RBI on Tuesday.
POWERFUL CATCHER: Mike Zunino has homered in two straight games and leads American League catchers with 16. The Mariners record for homers by a catcher is 19 by Miguel Olivo in 2011.