Game 43: Corey Kluber Throws A No-Hitter

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.

Leftovers

  • 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.

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11 Comments

  1. Gerreddardit Cole

    I thought it was the best win of the season, Bobby. I always knew Kluber had a no-no in him. I’m just surprised it took him this long. They said earlier this season he was washed up but the guy just needed time to come back from missing two years. He had everything working last night As Paulie noted in the broadcast his slider was moving a foot. It was unhittable and nobody hit it. They were getting better swings late in the game but they were right at people. Higgy was brilliant. He knows how to call a game. I love the personal catcher rotation that Boone has created. It has done wonders for this pitching staff. Reminds me of when Torre did it with Girardi and Jorgie. And Cash deserved credit for the signing. We got a Cy Young on a cheap one year deal.

    And another hero who they buried was Tyler Wade. The kid is up here for speed and defense and his ability to play 5 positions. And I’m sure if you asked him to play the other 4 he could. He’s not going to hit 30 dingers but he can hit one in the gap and it’s an easy triple with his speed. I was so happy he wasn’t sent down yesterday and it turned out we needed him. Florial should be called up tomorrow for Lamarr giving us another dynamic star like Tyler Wade. Still too many DPs, which I’ve never said before, but there’s something special about this club.

  2. DZB

    Hearing the postgame comments from Kluber about Higgy makes me reconsider my feelings about the catcher position. I am a bit Gary fan, but Kluber laid a lot of credit onto Higgy (I think he said something like “Higgy was keeping them off balance all night”). Kluber and Higgy were clearly on the same page, and it was great to see how confident Kluber was each time Higgy threw down a sign. Being one walk away from a perfect game is just insane.

    Also props to Wade. Today was the full Wade show, and I really hope he can find some success given the dimension he brings to the team. His ability to play so many positions, and to play them well, plus the super speed he brings, could be really valuable. His .715 OPS is not fantastic, but his .345 OBP and .296 average are obviously solid (and his 104 wRC+ is good nough). I don’t think he needs to show much if any power to be valuable. He just has to get on base often enough to be a threat, and play great defence to hold onto his roster spot.

    • Alemadgt

      It’s time to try Taillon with Higashioka.

  3. Wire Fan

    Almost had a Maddux. The impressive thing was the efficiency with 9 K”s (usually that runs up the pitch count)

    Small sample size sure, but Wade has a .715 OPS (above league average). If he can maintain a 670-.680ish OPS he can be a valuable bench piece with his ability to basically play every non-1st base position and his speed. Whether that bar is achievable is another question.

    With Frazier having some sort of neck thing and Judge apparently installed at DH I wonder if Wade sees more time in the OF.

  4. dasit

    since eddard is late, i’ll do the honors:
    best win of the season, bobby

  5. JG (Brendan Ryan)

    Oh my gooood

    I am shirtless

    I know there are so many no hitters now but it’s still special when your guy does it

    GO KLUBOT

  6. mikenyc2007

    IMO the concern wasn’t Kluber’s first 120 innings – even if they were Pavano-esq the offense was supposed to cover the issue- it was the challenges he would face when his inning count rose and he was needed for the stretch run or the playoffs.

    while this is a great story and he seems to be in a groove, the success of this signing- in a year where even mediocre pitchers are bringing plus value – will not be apparent until the weather turns chilly again

  7. Roadgeek_Adam

    I have nothing to say, but WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  8. Jason

    I am here to apologize to Cashman and Kluber. What a game, and Sterling’s call was 10x better than Kay’s.

  9. MikeD

    Bobby, obviously, a great game. I know there was concern about Kluber his first few starts, but I was not one of them simply because his pitches had great movement, but his command was off. Kluber and command go together, so I was pretty confident he’d eventually figure it out. I’d have been more concerned if he had command, but his pitches had no movement. History also says Kluber will keep getting stronger as the season progresses.

    Beyond that, this double play thing is annoying. That’s underselling it on my part. It’s a critical issue and is one of the main reasons the Yankees offense is underperforming even compared to the depressed league averages. It’s odd since the Yankees are a very good fly-ball team. Not sure what to make of it.

    Last, I am looking forward to Randy’s ESPN documentary on “The Captain: part deux, the Tyler Wade Story” in 2041. 🙂 More seriously, Randy, congrats on the upcoming documentary on Derek Jeter. Looking forward to it.

    • DZB

      I saw the news that there was a Derek Jeter doc in the pipeline, but I didn’t realize that Randy was involved – that is really great to hear.

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