Well, that sure was a very fun baseball game, was it not? Corey Kluber joined very select group of Yankee pitchers, becoming just the 12th player in franchise history to throw a no hitter. Here are some key facts about a pretty rare and special night in Yankee history:
- Kluber became just the 11th pitcher in franchise history to throw a no-hitter in a regular season game. (Don Larsen’s perfect game, obviously, came in the World Series.)
- It was the first no-hitter since July 18, 1999, when David Cone threw a perfect game.
- Kluber’s was the first road no-hitter since Allie Reynolds threw one against Cleveland on July 12, 1951. (Reynolds threw two that year.)
- It was the first no-hitter, not perfect game, since Doc Gooden threw one on May 14, 1996.
- Yes, that means that the three most recent no-hitters (Gooden and Cone, plus David Wells in 1998) came in years in which the Yankees won the World Series. Let’s make it 4.
Pretty damn cool! Look, I know everyone is whining about the no-hitters this year, and I get it – they’re happening a lot. But if you didn’t find that game exciting as a Yankee fan, I don’t even know what to tell you. Why are you even reading this blog? That was a heart-pounding 9th inning. It was a good reminder of why we like this sport. Let’s get to tonight’s takeaways, as I try to wipe the smile off my face.
1. So, About that Corey Kluber Signing: There once was a time that many fans hated the Corey Kluber signing. I remember it like it was yesterday because it was only about six weeks ago. Well, Corey Kluber would like a word with each and every one of you. The man has looked absolutely dominant for a month now…and it really culminated tonight, when he was absolutely dominant.
Yes, I know that someone is throwing a no-hitter every night these days, but that should not distract from just how dominant a pitcher has to be to throw a 9-inning no-hitter. It is not an easy task to do, even if they’re uniquely common right now. I mean, check this out:
That is a dominant, dominant pitch chart. He was all over the zone and mostly out of the middle. The entire performance was led by his curveball, which was out of control good. He threw it 31% of the time, got 12 swings, 7 whiffs, and 12 called strikes. It was just unreal.
All night, from the very outset, it was obvious that the pitch was moving. It was darting all over the place – Paul O’Neill correctly mentioned it about 15 times on the broadcast – and Kluber had pinpoint control of it. He looked like vintage 2017 or 2018 Kluber basically all night.
One other impressive component of the outing was Kluber’s ability to adjust on the fly. Consider that he threw 18 changeups in the game and that 9 of them came in the last three innings. That is a veteran pitcher doing what a veteran pitcher does, and it had a lot to do with why the Klubot needed just 101 pitches to complete the no-no. It’s just too bad that he issued a walk in the 3rd inning. He was that close to a perfect game.
Anyway, there’s a lot more that could be said about this, but what is the point? Kluber was exceptional. I am so happy for him after his last year, and it’s downright hilarious that his no-hitter came on a night in which his opponent handed out his bobblehead. Baseball is just the best sport. Tonight was a great reminder why.
2. Tyler Wade, The Game’s Other Hero: Corey Kluber was obviously tonight’s main hero. That goes without saying. But every no-hitter has another hero. Tonight’s was Tyler Wade, just as we all predicted. He entered the game after Ryan LaMarre left it with what looked to be a nasty hamstring injury, and he had to play right field. It’s not exactly his natural position, but this is the Yankees. They’re no stranger to having the 55th man on the roster play in the outfield due to injuries.
Anyway, Wade was truly sensational in this game, which was a lot closer than it felt thanks to Corey’s dominance. He got the offense started in the 6th inning, when he ripped this RBI triple:
His speed got him to third – it was obviously a triple off the bat given his speed – and he then scored on a sacrifice fly from DJ LeMahieu. That was the entirety of the Yankees offense, and it was driven by Tyler Wade. You know what they say about predicting baseball.
That was not all. There is no video of this play, but he also recorded the 2nd out in the 9th inning. David Dahl hit a soft liner to Wade in right, and while the ball had just a .160 expected batting average, I definitely held my breath once I remembered Wade was out there. He made the play, though, and all was well. Good stuff, Tyler. More of that, please.
- The Yankees and GIDP: The Yankees absolutely love double plays. They just love ’em. They grounded into 5 (!) tonight alone. They’ve never met a runner on first situation in which they didn’t think to hit into a double play. Someone should tell them it’s bad. They even find ways to hit into double plays with guys on second, as they did tonight: Gleyber took off on a liner right at the infielder, and he was easily doubled off. Like I said, they love double plays.
- Judge Stays Hot: Aaron Judge had a single tonight, which maybe isn’t staying “hot” but he did get another hit. That counts for something. Judge looks like Judge again.
- Gleyber Day: It was a two-hit night for Gleyber, who also worked a walk. Nice stuff. Just iron out the dumb baserunning, please and thank you.
- Bad Offense Otherwise: The players I listed above had all of the night’s hits. The rest of the offense was extremely quiet. Who cares? I’ll get mad about this another night. Corey Kluber threw a freaking no-hitter.
The Yanks will try to win this series tomorrow at 2:05 pm in the finale. Domingo Germán (3-2, 3.62 ERA) will take on Dane Dunning (2-3, 4.34 ERA) in that one. Enjoy your night, everyone. It shouldn’t be too hard.