Aaron Civale put on an absolute show Friday night in front of well over 20,000 Cleveland Indians fans at Progressive Field.
But seeing the right-hander dominate is nothing new.
This time was just special because he narrowly missed chasing a no-hitter.
Civale put three Seattle Mariners on in the first inning and didn’t allow anyone else to reach base in the next seven frames.
The offense also gave him early run support, so it was over from the start for the Mariners.
This amazing start vaulted Civale up plenty of team and league leaderboards as well.
Aaron Civale tonight: 8 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 11 K
He has a 3.17 ERA this season and leads the AL in innings pitched. He retired the final 22 batters he faced tonight.
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) June 12, 2021
Bullpen Rarely Needed
Civale is now tied for the MLB-lead with nine wins on the year.
Not impressed by pitcher wins?
He is also second in MLB with 88 innings pitched.
That is three more than ace Shane Bieber in the same number of starts.
Civale’s ERA is now down to 3.17 on the year after back-to-back starts in which he allowed four earned runs.
But the thing with Civale is that he pitches so deep into games, his ERA is not ruined by a start like that.
He is just on the mound so long it levels out.
Remember, ERA is just averaging how many runs a pitcher allows per nine innings.
A New Strikeout Mark
Civale is not usually someone to strike out a ton of batters.
Well, that too changed Friday when he finished with a career-best 11 strikeouts.
You wouldn't know unless you watched, but Aaron Civale had the best night pitching in Major League Baseball.
What a treat.#OurCLE pic.twitter.com/6hm8DgCthj
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) June 12, 2021
He only had one in his previous start and his season-best was eight against the Los Angeles Angels.
The Mariners offense is bad, to say the least, but it is clear Civale is only getting better with time.
We are also talking about a pitcher with only 35 career MLB starts.
He made 10 in 2019 before getting a full season of work, but only 12 starts during the shortened 2020 season.
His 13 starts this year are obviously a new personal record.
The same is true about his innings pitched, so fans will see if he can keep this up with a normal 162-game season workload.
An Amazing 1-2 Punch
We have talked countless times about all the uncertainty with the Indians starting rotation.
The constant in those talks is the fact Bieber and Civale anchor the rotation as two of the best pitchers in baseball.
Bieber gets all the attention nationally, but everyone in Northeast Ohio knows Civale is pitching like an All-Star as well.
He just lacks the flashy strikeout numbers.
Don’t be surprised if the duo both pitch in this year’s All-Star Game, once again showing the MLB world evidence of the pitching dominance in Cleveland.
And once Zach Plesac is back and healthy, rolling out the trio in a series will spell doom for any opposing team.
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