Yankees: Kluber’s Chance To Put The Wheels Back On

Yankees Starter Corey Kluber (Noah K. Murray AP)

The Yankees don’t need to flinch after losing two straight, but Kluber’s start tonight is why he’s here as a gatekeeper to set things right.

When the Yankees signed Corey Kluber to a one-year $11 million dear, their hope was in the direction that he would become the number two man behind Gerrit Cole.

For a couple of months, things rolled in that direction, with Kluber emerging into a status above Cole, especially when he added a no-hitter to his ledger.

Luis Gil, More Than A Yankees Pitching Prospect
Luis Gil, More Than A Yankees Pitching Prospect

But as we know, the dream shifted in a new direction when Kluber suffered a shoulder injury that has sidelined him until tonight, when he is scheduled to make his first appearance since being sidelined on May 27.

Since then, the Yankees pitching staff has filled in admirably with new names like Luis Gil, Nestor Cortes Jr., and Andrew Heaney, filling the void that backed the recent 20-5 surge by the Yankees.

Yankees Looking To Kluber

Tonight, however, with the Yankees having dropped two after winning two in Oakland, and while the picture is not a dark one by any means, the team will be looking to Kluber for a “pick-me-up.”

Kluber will definitely be on a pitch count, and he will be monitored closely by Aaron Boone and pitching coach Matt Blake.

But as much as this game is about tonight and the possibility of facing Shohei Ohtani, the Yankees are looking as much to the 2021 playoffs when Kluber is there to be the one-two punch so necessary in these short series.

For the Yankees, they are leaving Oakland on the back of a lack-luster loss Sunday in which they managed only five hits, left seven men on base while suffering two rare errors by their heralded third-baseman Gio Urshela.

Over the weekend, the Yankees dropped from four to six games behind the Tampa Bay Rays, who continue to challenge relentlessly, and have a winning streak of their own at seven games.

More significantly, those six games all show themselves in the all-important loss column at this stage of the season, and that’s because the Yankees can’t win games they’ve already lost, while the Rays can lose six straight and still lose little ground – unless the Yankees are winning at the same pace.

Kluber Can Give The Yankees A Boost

With twenty-some games remaining in the regular season, every game cannot be critical.

Corey Kluber - Working out the kinks (si.com)
Corey Kluber – Working out the kinks (si.com)

Having said that, tonight’s start by Corey Kluber can be an up or down signal to his teammates and management that he’s ready and able to join with them from here on in.

Corey Kluber is a consummate professional pitcher in the major leagues, and he has not come this far with knowing what his body is capable of at any given moment.

The Yankees need a minimum of two of three in the Angels series, and that will allow them to come home with a record of 4-3 on a West Coast trip that typically spells disaster for the team.

Yankees And The Rush To Get Home

Seven games with the Orioles and Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium before all the hoopla and distraction of the September 11 game and series with the Mets remains a window of opportunity for the Yankees to keep the pressure on Tampa Bay.

But as we know, getting that first game of three removes at least some of the pressure, and this is why the Yankees are looking to Kluber to set the tone.

The Yankees bullpen will be active tonight, but Aaron Boone has enough weapons to mix and match as he has done so many times this season – but it falls on Corey Kluber to get his team that far.

Here’s What Readers Are Saying…

Mike Harrington Let’s hope he looks like the guy he did before his injury and can stay healthy. If both of those hold true, this could be a major upgrade to our rotation down the stretch. Here’s hoping.

Closing Published Comments And Final Thoughts

We’ll close out published comments now because almost all echo the one above, and all we can do is wait to see what happens later tonight.

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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.