On Monday, the Indians right-hander was named the American League Pitcher of the Month for the third time this season (also June and August), becoming the first pitcher since Dallas Keuchel in 2015 to receive the honor three times in one season. Keuchel went on to win the AL Cy Young that year.
Across the AL in September, Kluber ranked among the league leaders in ERA (first, 0.84), innings pitched (first, 43), strikeouts (second, 50) and opposing average (sixth, .199).
“The goal is to be consistent, to go out there and hopefully perform to where the team can rely on you each time you go out there,” Kluber said after his most recent outing on Saturday. “It’s not always going to be the case, but when you hit a rough spot, you can work out of it as quick as possible.”
Kluber finished the year 18-4 with five complete games and three shutouts, both MLB highs, with a 2.25 ERA to claim Cleveland’s first ERA title since Mike Garcia in 1949.
“He’s been quite a leader. He sets the tone for our pitching staff,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “It’s hard to imagine somebody better. When the best pitcher, not only on just your team, but probably the league, the way he goes about his business, that’s to me what a leader is. He may not be the loudest guy, but boy does he lead by example.”
Kluber missed nearly all of May with a lower back strain yet still compiled his fourth straight 200-inning season, and was a focal part of the Indians’ record 22-game winning streak, anchoring a rotation that was nearly untouchable. During that streak, which included three September starts from Kluber, the Indians jumped from third to first place in the AL Central, and finished the year with MLB’s second-best record (102-60) behind only the Dodgers.
“I said it earlier, I think he’s by far and away the Cy Young this year,” said teammate Jason Kipnis. “For an impressive staff that we’ve had as a whole, the fact that he can really shine above everyone else still is a tip of the cap to him and how good he’s been.”