Corey Kluber continues to be automatic every five days for an Indians team that just went on a historic 22-game win streak, and after two more brilliant outings, the Cleveland ace took home the American League Player of the Week Award on Monday.
Kluber threw a five-hit shutout against the Tigers on Tuesday to help the Indians win their 20th straight game, tying the 2002 A's for the American League record. Then, after the Tribe clinched the AL Central title with a Twins loss on Saturday, Kluber punctuated it by beating the Royals on Sunday with seven more scoreless innings.
"I think everybody kind of looks up to him because of the way he carries himself and the professional that he is," manager Terry Francona said of Kluber after Tuesday's 2-0 win. "It's hard not to."
Kluber, one of the two front-runners for the AL Cy Young Award, along with Boston's Chris Sale, hasn't allowed a run in his past 22 innings. That's the longest active scoreless streak in the Majors after Stephen Strasburg's streak for the Nationals ended at 35 innings on Sunday. Kluber's scoreless run is the longest by a Cleveland pitcher this season.
The 31-year-old leads the AL with 17 wins and a 2.35 ERA, and Kluber ranks second with 252 strikeouts. If not for Sale's 287 strikeouts, Kluber would be in position to become the first pitcher to win the pitching Triple Crown since Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw in 2011.
"It's special," teammate Francisco Lindor said on Tuesday. "He's been doing it all season."
For the week, Kluber led the AL in innings pitched and was the only pitcher to make multiple scoreless starts. He ranked second with 17 strikeouts (behind the Astros' Verlander, who had 19), and he did not walk a batter. Kluber was one of three pitchers to throw a shutout, along with the Tigers' Matthew Boyd and the A's Daniel Mengden.
It is the fourth career Player of the Week Award for Kluber, and his second this season. He was AL Player of the Week for the period that ended on June 25.
David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.