Indians' Corey Kluber Searching for Franchise's First Perfect Game Since 1981

Bleacher Report MilestonesB/R StaffJuly 30, 2014

Cleveland Indians pitcher Corey Kluber throws in the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Thursday, July 24, 2014.  (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
Colin E. Braley/Associated Press

Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber heads into Wednesday's start against the Seattle Mariners coming off of his franchise's deepest perfect-game bid in more than 33 years, per ESPN Stats & Info (via Elias Sports Bureau).

In tossing 6.1 flawless innings against the Kansas City Royals last Thursday, Kluber came the closest to a perfect game of any Indians pitcher since May 15, 1981, when Len Barker achieved perfection against the Toronto Blue Jays.

With Barker's perfect game also marking the most recent no-hitter by an Indians pitcher, only the San Diego Padres have gone longer without a no-no, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Founded in 1969, the Padres are the only active major league franchise without any no-hitters, as they've failed to record one through 45-plus seasons.

Despite making it within eight outs of perfection last Thursday, Kluber did not factor into the decision in a game that the Royals eventually won by a score of 2-1 in 14 innings.

An Omar Infante single broke up Kluber's perfect-game bid in the seventh inning, and the Royals then took a 1-0 lead in the eighth when Mike Moustakas scored an unearned run on his own double, courtesy of a memorable throwing error by Indians outfielder Ryan Raburn.

The Tribe recovered from Raburn's gaffe to tie things up in the top of the ninth, allowing Kluber to pitch the bottom half of the frame. The right-hander finished his night with 10 strikeouts, having allowed just the one unearned run on two hits and no walks.

While solid for Cleveland last season, the 28-year-old Kluber has broken out in a big way in 2014. He has a 2.77 ERA and 1.13 WHIP through 149.1 innings, with a 10-6 record and sterling 162-to-33 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Despite owning numbers that would warrant Cy Young consideration in most seasons, Kluber has little shot at the award this year, thanks in large part to his Wednesday opponent—Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez.

With Kluber and Hernandez taking the hill in the same game, a no-hitter just might be in the cards.