The Yankees signed Corey Kluber in mid-January to a one-year, $11 million contract in a move that was a relatively low-risk, high reward signing.
On Wednesday night, he had the night of his career tossing a no-hitter against the Texas Rangers in Arlington. The performance comes in a string of good starts for Kluber, who has come on as of late after getting off to a slow start.
In five of his last six starts, Kluber has allowed two runs or fewer while going at least six innings in four of those games. In May, Kluber has found his strikeout pitch.
In his four May starts, he’s struck out at least six batters all four times, including a nine strikeout performance Wednesday and a 10 strikeout game back on May 2 against the Detroit Tigers.
As of Friday, 5/21, Kluber’s line looks as follows: 4-2, 2.86 ERA in nine starts, 50.1 IP, 39 hits allowed, 50 strikeouts.
His ERA+, which considers each ballpark the pitchers’ pitch in, is well above the league average of 100, at 141.
Kluber was signed to give the Yankees more pitching depth, which they lacked over the last half-decade. Last year it was Gerrit Cole and then everyone else. In years prior, the Yankees had Masahiro Tanaka as their postseason pitching star. They haven’t had more than one pitcher that fans have an extraordinary amount of confidence in come playoff time in a while.
This year seems different. In a normal postseason setting in 2021, this could finally be the year where they are set up perfectly to get back to the World Series finally. With Cole on the mound for game one and Kluber for game two, Yankee fans should feel very confident in the team’s chances to win the first two games of any postseason series.
Even if they were to lose one of those games, the next two arms are not bad options, either. At this point, the likely three and four starters would be Domingo German and Jordan Montgomery. You also have Jameson Taillon, and when he comes back, Luis Severino as options.
If they can stay healthy, which has been a problem over the last few years, it’s a good problem for the Yankees to have.
With these options and guys like Aroldis Chapman pitching better than he ever has in his career, the 2021 Yankees may finally be able to get over the hump in the postseason, but we will never know until we get to October.
Featured Image: Associated Press