The Yankees have been winning differently than in recent years. We are used to seeing an offensive powerhouse lead this team into the postseason.
That has not been the case in 2021; the Yankees win from elite pitching from both the starters and relievers and some timely hits.
New York took a blow to their rotation when it was revealed that Corey Kluber has a subscapularis strain in his right shoulder.
This is expected to keep him out for at least two months, as he will not be able to throw for four weeks, and it will take about four weeks for him to get ready again.
Kluber had established himself as the number two starter in the current rotation even before throwing a no-hitter against the Texas Rangers last week.
This was a known risk when the Yankees signed Kluber, who missed most of the 2019 and 2020 seasons with injuries. Kluber threw just one inning in 2020 with the Rangers before tearing a muscle in his shoulder.
As a fan, knowing he had shoulder trouble before, I just hoped that Kluber’s injury wasn’t season-ending. I feared that until Kluber’s postgame press conference last night, he said this time does not feel comparable to the injury he sustained last year.
While missing Kluber from the rotation for two months is a big blow, the rest of the rotation has performed well. Gerrit Cole is his usual self; Domingo German is recapturing his 2019 form, maybe even better. Jordan Montgomery has had some tough games but dominated the Chicago White Sox in his last start, a team that is notorious for crushing left-handed pitching, and even when he does not have his best stuff, he has kept the game close. Jameson Taillon has also shown signs of optimism for someone coming back from his second Tommy John surgery.
The Yankees will look to Deivi Garcia to pitch in the fifth rotation spot, but they also expect Luis Severino to return this season. General Manager Brian Cashman said that Severino is aiming to play in rehab games soon.
If the Yankees get him back, he has the upside to be the second-best pitcher in the rotation behind Cole.
I am still less worried about the rotation than I am about the state of the lineup. Luke Voit just went back to the IL and will not be returning soon.
Giancarlo Stanton is expected to return to the lineup on Friday, which should be a big help.
I still believe in the capabilities of the lineup as long as they are healthy, but that is the aspect of this team that has left the most to be desired.
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