Thursday night’s marathon and, most notably, Corey Kluber‘s performance deserved its own Tribe Tidbits.
Of all the games available on baseball-reference (close to 100 years, with some data missing), Kluber is just the 9th pitcher to fail to earn a victory when facing 28 or fewer batters in nine innings of work.
In those games available on baseball-reference, the Indians are now 77-3 when their starting pitcher goes at least nine innings, allowing zero earned runs and striking out 10. Sam McDowell was the starting pitcher in each of the previous losses (1968 and 1965).
Kluber became just the 11th visiting pitcher in Kaufman Stadium history to allowed zero earned runs and 10 strikeouts. Last to do so was also the only other Indians pitcher: CC Sabathia in 2008.
Kluber now has six games with at least 10 strikeouts this season—the same number that Cliff Lee, Jake Westbrook, Bob Lemon, Dennis Martinez and Orel Hershiser had in their combined 870 starts for the Indians.
While Raburn’s error hurt, Michael Brantley and Nick Swisher‘s combined 0-12 performance certainly didn’t help Kluber’s cause. Over the last 20 seasons, they’re just the fourth pair of Indians teammates to go 0-6 in the same game. Brantley and Jason Kipnis pulled off the feat last year. Asdrubal Cabrera and Shin-Soo Choo did so in a game in 2010. And in 1998, Sandy Alomar Jr. and Jim Thome each went 0-6.
Dating back to 1990, the Indians have been involved in four games which more or less mirrored the situation they found themselves in on Thursday. In each of the games listed in the chart on the right, the Tribe lost in extra innings by a single run when the pitching staff allowed only one earned run the entire game. In each game, a key error (or in one instance multiple errors) essentially cost the Tribe the game.
The Ben Francisco error most closely matches the Raburn’s situation, as it was a 2-1 loss partially due to an error by the left fielder. The only major difference was Francisco’s error won’t be shown on highlight reels for years to come, and it was the game-winning run in extra innings that Francisco’s error allowed to score.
The Brian Tallet error technically matched up with the criteria I set for finding similar games, but since he was the starting pitcher, ultimately he had no one to blame by himself. His error led to four unearned runs, and the Indians would eventually lose on a Randall Simon walk-off home run in the 14th inning. (I remember watching that game. It was awful, awful baseball from start to finish).
By far the most entertaining game to discover on this list was was the 3-2 loss to the Royals in 1991. With a 1-0 lead in the 9th inning, the Indians inserted Alex Cole into left field as a defensive replacement for Albert Belle. On the very first batter of the inning, Cole committed an error, presumably somewhat like Raburns, which allowed Jim Eisenreich to round the bases and tie the game. Then in the 13th inning, after taking a 3-2 lead, the Indians put Felix Fermin in as a defensive replacement at shortstop for Tony Perezchica. Again, on the very first batter of the inning, Fermin commits a throwing error which allows Eisenreich to go all the way to second base. Two batters later, Carlos Baerga follows up with an error of his own allowing Eisenreich to score and Kevin Seitzer to reach base. The next batter, George Brett, singled to drive in the winning run. Is that not the most Cleveland-loss you’ve ever heard of?