In the midst of a tremendous breakout season, the 28-year-old right-hander now has 205 strikeouts through 27 outings, easily topping his previous career-high mark of 136 punchouts, which he set last season.
Though he reached a milestone and held the Twins to three runs over seven innings, Kluber took his first loss since June 30 on Thursday, as he was outdueled by Minnesota right-hander Phil Hughes, who is having a breakout season of his own.
Kluber's outing, while a strong one for most pitchers, was disappointing by the standards that he has created. He gave up just four earned runs over his previous six starts, compiling a 55-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 47.2 innings during that stretch.
Although the Seattle Mariners' Felix Hernandez remains the obvious front-runner, Kluber has nearly as strong of an argument for AL Cy Young honors.
Among qualified American League starters, the Indians' ace is third in ERA (2.46), second in innings (186.1), ninth in WHIP (1.08), tied for second in strikeouts (205) and tied for fifth in wins (13). Per FanGraphs.com's measure, Kluber has been worth 5.5 wins above replacement, tied with Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw for second in the majors, behind only Hernandez (6.2).
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