Major League Baseball

Corey Kluber has got his groove back with the New York Yankees

6 days ago

Don't look now, but things might be turning around in the Bronx.

The New York Yankees began their weekend series with the Detroit Tigers at 11-14, trying to crawl themselves out of an early-season hole that had them at 5-10 through their first 15 games.

They come out of the weekend at .500 after a sweep of the Tigers, and they're trending in the right direction, thanks in large part to a starting pitching rotation that is starting to find its groove around ace Gerrit Cole.

Perhaps the most important development from the Yankees' recent streak of success has been the revelation that is starting pitcher Corey Kluber, who just might be regaining the form that made him a two-time AL Cy Young Award winner with the Cleveland Indians.

After making just seven starts in 2019 after suffering a fractured right arm due to a line drive, Kluber was traded to the Texas Rangers in December of that year. He made just one start as a member of the Rangers, and that outing lasted three batters before he was pulled because of a shoulder injury.

Now, with a bill of good health, Kluber is increasingly looking like the pitcher he was in Cleveland.

The veteran has made six starts with the Yankees, pitching a combined 29.2 innings and allowing only 10 earned runs while striking out 29 batters. His most dominant outing of the season came Sunday against the Tigers, when he allowed only two hits and a walk, striking out 10 in eight shutout innings.

It was Kluber's 47th 10-strikeout game but his first since Sept. 24, 2018. With the outing, the 35-year-old became the 17th active pitcher to reach the 100-win mark.

"It's a huge accomplishment," Kluber said. "It's not just you, obviously. There's teammates involved in getting you to that point, training staff, strength staff, all that kind of stuff. But it's definitely a cool moment."

His ERA for the season is now 3.03, second amongst Yankees starters behind Cole's 1.43 mark.

While Kluber  has been showing signs of being a legitimate No. 2 pitcher in the rotation, he has not been alone.

Domingo German has been dominant his past two starts for the Yankees after missing the shortened 2020 season. He pitched seven shutout innings against the Baltimore Orioles in his most recent start, and his season ERA sits at 4.05.

With Jordan Montgomery and Jameson Tailon rounding out the rotation and finding their footing, the Yankees are in the process of fixing their biggest weakness: starting pitching.

This has been an ongoing issue that plagued the team last season as well, as the Yankees' starting rotation outside of Cole went 15-14 with a 4.79 ERA in 2020.

To this point in 2021, the Yankees are fifth in MLB, with a 3.13 ERA.

The Yankees dug themselves into a hole to start this season, but it wasn't a grave.

And now they are pitching their way out of it.

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