Corey Kluber: Holy Cow, Guess The Wait Wasn’t That Long After All

Yankees Corey Kluber set to revitalize his career (ESPN)

Corey Kluber dominated the Detroit Tigers yesterday for his second consecutive win. This demolishes the question I asked about how long we’d wait.

The question was always about Corey Kluber, not the Yankees who had $11 million worth of faith in him, how long it would be before he emerged from two lost seasons, trusting his stuff.

For a two-time Cy Young winner, suffering a broken arm and an assortment of other injuries over two seasons, Corey Kluber could never know if he would pitch at this level again.

Once the bearer of a 95-97 mph fastball that rose in the strike zone and diving sliders off the plate that drove hitters nuts chasing them, coming back this year, it was almost like asking Michaelangelo to re-paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

Two stellar consecutive starts do not make a season. But put in perspective, they have to go a long way in the mindset of Corey Kluber, who can now realize – I can do this.

Corey Kluber: Now I See, I Can Do This Again

Okay, it was a win over the hapless Detroit Tigers, who own the worst record in the major leagues, but these were live hitters Kluber was facing. He still faced the challenge of executing his pitches – all 103 of them with 74 tossed in the strike zone over eight innings of two-hit ball.

Corey Kluber - Working out the kinks (
Corey Kluber – Working out the kinks (

Strikeouts like the old days? You betcha, ten of them because they come to you when you are pounding the strike zone up and in, and down and out.

To Aaron Boone‘s credit and probably against the analytics gurus on the Yankees whispering in his ear, he left Kluber out there, rather than resorting to Plan A, which says take him out after six.

Corey Kluber needed that. Maybe Boone is learning a lesson to trust his instincts more after removing Jordan Montgomery prematurely from an earlier start – much to the silent chagrin of Montgomery.

It’s doubtful whether Corey Kluber can or should be allowed to pitch eight innings with 100+ pitches thrown too many more times over the course of the season.

But when he’s “got it” as he did today and in his previous start, he deserves to be unleashed to go as far as he can.

The benefit of having a Corey Kluber on your staff is that he’s been around the block a few times. He can be trusted to know his body, and if he, much like a Gerrit Cole, says “I’m good” – then he’s good.

Surging Yankees On The Way Back Too

The Yankees have now crawled back to .500, quiet winners of seven of their last ten.

Next up are the Houston Astros following an off-day on Monday, who are having trouble of their own trying to catch the once again resurgent Oakland A’s (how do they do that?).

Gerrit Cole will pitch the final game at Yankee Stadium in the three-game set before the Yankees move on to square off against the Washington Nationals before they move on to face those pesky Tampa Bay Rays for three games in Florida.

Corey Kluber’s next start is scheduled as a match-up with Max Scherzer next Saturday, at home against the Nationals.

Three in a row – well, ya never know.

But you have to be thinking that Corey Kluber is thinking – “Okay, I’m back, and I’ve got a pretty good team behind me, so let’s go get it.”

From the perspective of the Yankees, is there more they can ask for – or would have asked for – when they signed Corey Kluber?

Here’s What Readers Are Saying…

Baseball is 162 games. Pitching is hard. This is not football
I really have no issue with the pitching the entire year. Takes a while to settle in. Other than the 10 run game hitting still a question mark. The Tigers are not a real test.
Very encouraging outing. Even more encouraging was seeing him actually go eight innings. I hope to see more of that from our starters in general instead of the five or maximum six innings we’ve been conditioned to expect from a starting pitcher.
Playing the lowly Tigers and keeping Sanchez away from the plate has done wonders!
It is about winning series. 9-4 since 5-10. Now 134 more games go 80 -54 and the Yankees finish at 94-68. That is the roadmap

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Steve Contursi
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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.