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