CLEVELAND -- Vinnie Pestano could not help but laugh a little at the feat he has accomplished for the Indians. For the reliever, the historic mark was a bit of a mouthful, and it mattered little in the grand scheme of things.
Dating back to last season, Pestano has registered at least one strikeout in 22 consecutive games, establishing a record for a Cleveland reliever (since 1918).
"I could try for the best toothpick beard next," Pestano joked. "Maybe I could try the most powdered doughnuts eaten in a minute. Or I could try to chug a gallon of milk without throwing up. What else is there?"
All joking aside, what Pestano has accomplished is rare.
Since 1918, only five relievers have had strikeout streaks of at least 20 games to begin a season, which is where Pestano's run stood heading into Wednesday. The others include Billy McCool of the Reds (25 in 1965), Tom Gordon of the Royals (21 in 1991), Ted Davidson of the Reds (20 in 1965) and Byung-Hyun Kim of the D-backs (20 in 2002).
When Pestano struck out Detroit's Alex Avila to end the eighth inning in Tuesday's 5-3 win, he passed Paul Shuey's club relief record of 21 straight games with a strikeout. Dating back to 1918, there have been 40 such streaks of at least 22 games by a reliever. Bruce Sutter (Cubs, 1977) owns the big league record of 39 games, and Jeff Montgomery (Royals, 1989) boasts the American League mark of 32 games.
"It doesn't mean a thing," Pestano said. "I knew about it. There had been speculation and talk about it. I knew I had tied it last time out, but I try and strike everybody out, so it's not like I was going out there doing something different than I normally do."
What the club record does reveal is Pestano's consistency as a late-inning reliever for the Indians. Entering Wednesday, the righty had a 2.55 ERA with 24 strikeouts against six walks in 20 appearances (17 2/3 innings) this season. A year ago, Pestano had a 2.32 ERA with 84 strikeouts and 24 walks in 67 outings (62 innings).
"It's been impressive," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He just took off last year from the get-go, starting in Spring Training. He's been pretty impressive and pretty consistent, and he has been able to make adjustments."