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The Gamble on Corey Kluber [2021 Season Review]

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Now that the Yankees’ 2021 season is behind us, it’s time to bring back our Season Review series. Over the next few months, we’ll drop one or two of these pieces each week. These posts will look back on the given player’s season and offer a few takeaways from their performance. This year’s series starts today with Corey Kluber.

The Yankees signed two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber to a one-year contract for the 2021 season with the hope that he’d rediscover some semblance of his former self. The righty was hurt for most of 2019 and 2020, but rehabbed with Yankees’ employee Eric Cressey, who undoubtedly gave the organization a vote of confidence in Kluber. In the end, there were some flashes of brilliance, but as a whole, the gamble did not work out as hoped.

It was easy to dream on Kluber reverting to his old self, which would have created perhaps the best one-two punch in the majors alongside Gerrit Cole. That dream started to look like a reality, particularly when he tossed a no-hitter against the Rangers. It was simply too good to be true, though. Kluber suffered a shoulder injury not long after and didn’t resurface again until the very end of the season.

No Kluber for a few months didn’t wind up being a big problem for this year’s team, at least. The pitching staff was great. Rather, the offense was the real downfall. Still, it’s hard not to wonder how things could have been different if the Yankees turned to someone other than Kluber in the offseason to bolster the rotation.

Game 148: Finally, a laugher

A win that didn’t elevate my heart rate? Well I’ll be. The Yankees toppled Cleveland in the Bronx, 8-0. The Bronx Bombers lived up to their name, hitting five homers, while Corey Kluber delivered a gem in his first good start since returning from his shoulder injury.

Game 142: Yanks stop skid; Aaron Judge is my MVP

Wow. It is hard to overstate how big that game was. Staring down the barrel of an 8 game losing streak and losing their hold on a playoff spot, the Yankees fought back in this one. After going up 5-0 only to find themselves down 7-5 after 7 innings, the team showed a ton of resilience putting across 3 runs in the 8th to retake the lead. And after some shaky middle relief, Albert Abreu and Aroldis Chapman locked things down to secure to victory. Aaron Boone described it as “just about a perfect night” and in the end it was. Let’s get to the takeaways:

Game 136: Pathetic and Embarrassing

Putrid. Atrocious. A debacle. An abomination. All of those are words Randy and I likely used to describe the Orioles before this series on the podcast. Yet today, after this 8-7 loss and series loss, the only team they apply to is the Yankees. After all the heartbreaking losses they’ve suffered this year it’s hard to say this is rock bottom, but it’s easily the most embarrassing loss of the year considering the context.

The Orioles are going to lose 100 games for the 3rd year in a row. It is inconceivable that a team with championship aspirations loses a series to them. Hell, the Orioles were 1-15-2 in series against the AL East coming into this one. The Yankees lost 2 games in this series. That’s as many games as they lost the Orioles in all of 2019 and MORE games than the Rays have lost to the O’s this season. You want to know why one of those teams is leading the AL East and the other is fighting for a Wild Card spot? That’s why.

I hope you found something better to do with your Labor Day Weekend Sunday because that was 4 hours I want back. The Yankees are 2-6 since the 13 game winning streak and just lost two straight series to teams below .500. At least the Rays, A’s, and Red Sox all lost so the Yankees don’t lose any ground in the playoff races. Let’s get to the takeaways:

DoTF: No Games, Just Notes

News & Notes

  • Sean Boyle was named pitcher of the week for Triple-A East after throwing a 7-inning no-hitter (NYY Player Development)
  • Corey Kluber and Gio Urshela will play in Somerset tomorrow night. So if you’re in Jersey, you know where to be (Somerset Patriots)
  • Antonio Gomez and Anthony Garcia have been promoted from the FCL Yankees to Low-A Tampa (John Brophy)
  • Carlos Narvaez and Eric Wagaman have been promoted from Tampa to Hudson Valley (Eli Fishman)

It’s Monday, so AAA, AA, and A were all off. The FCL Yankees also didn’t have a game scheduled.

The only games in the system today were the Dominican Summer League. DSL Yankees 1 lost 6-3 to the Mets and DSL Yankees 2 thrashed the DSL Orioles 16-1…taking after their MLB team it seems.

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