When the New York Yankees signed form or Cy Young award-winning pitcher Corey Kluber, they were hoping to get the best version of the veteran starter. He started off the campaign poorly, but bounced back on Sunday with one of his best performances in years, lasting 8.0 innings, allowing just two hits, and struck out 10 batters.
Kluber tallied 103 pitches and currently hosts a 3.03 ERA on the season. This was an extremely motivating performance for the Yankees, who desperately need him to be their number two behind Gerrit Cole. Having two ace-level starters in the postseason goes a long way, the Yankees have felt that desire in recent years.
“It felt good to go out there and execute, for the most part, from start to finish,” Kluber said. “That’s always the goal, but it’s not always smooth sailing. So when you do have them, it’s fun to go out there and have that feeling.”
Good news and bad news for the Yankees:
While Yankees did beat up on Detroit thanks to Kluber‘s stellar outing, they only scored two runs in the contest, thanks to Kyle Higashioka and a Brett Gardner sacrifice fly to right field. Both runs came in the second inning, but the team is coming off a few solid offensive performances against Detroit. To open the series, they plastered 10 runs on the Tigers, thanks to five home runs from their sluggers.
However, Detroit is not a team worth bragging about when it comes to victory, as they currently sit at 8-21 on the season, and the Yankees have finally pulled themselves to .500. The Yankees are only 2.5 games out of first place in the American League, as the Boston Red Sox have taken the early lead this season. However, they’re well within range to retake the top of the division, having a +14 point differential and currently enjoying a three-game win streak.
The Yankees are preparing to take on the Houston Astros on Tuesday, who are 15-13 on the year and have won five of their last seven games, falling to the Tampa Bay Rays in their most recent.
While Houston offers a formidable opponent, the Yankees are finally hitting their stride and feeling better about themselves after a tough start in 2021. Their top three hitters are finally climbing in the BA category and are getting on base more efficiently. In addition, the Yankees might want to continue rolling with Higashioka rather than Gary Sánchez, who has struggled offensively for the third consecutive season.