With Kluber on Deck, Yankees are in for a Battle

It doesn’t get any easier for the Bronx Bombers after a loss in Game 1 against Cleveland

(Arturo Pardavilla)

The Yankees were shutout on three hits in Game 1 of the Division series against the Cleveland Indians. Two of those hits came off the bat of Starlin Castro. Corey Kluber made the Yankees look silly for 6.2 innings. He carried a no-hit bid for 5.1 innings.

OH WAIT.

It was Trevor Bauer who did that.

The Yankees face Kluber today in what is basically a must-win. If they lose, they will have to beat the Indians three times in a row — including beating Kluber, and possibly Bauer.

Sonny Gray was not the pitcher the Yankees had hoped he would be. He was chased in the fourth inning after recording just one out. Yielding four walks played a big role in how the Indians scored two of the three runs they scored off of him. In the fourth, he walked Edwin Encarnacion to lead off the inning. The next batter, Jay Bruce, hit a towering home run off of him to extend the Indians lead to 3–0.

The offense looked so off-balanced, headlined by Aaron Judge’s golden sombrero. Bauer would throw a 96 MPH fastball, and would then pull out his bag of tricks and drop in a 76 MPH curve-ball that looked like it was breaking eight to ten inches to hitters. The Yankees accumulated just six base runners all of last night against the Indians.

As I said in the beginning, it does not get easier. The Yankees face Kluber in Game 2. He is the likely AL Cy Young Award winner, as during the regular season he went 18–4 with a 2.25 ERA and had 265 strikeouts in 203.2 innings pitched. His WHIP stood at a ridiculous 0.869. He also faced the Yankees twice this year and his BAA (batting average against) was .105. That is the lowest of any team that he faced (minimum two starts). The Yankees could be in for a long two or three hours.

There is reason for hope, though. C.C. Sabathia takes the hill for the Yankees and he has been the “stopper” after losses this year. That’s because Sabathia is 9–0 with a 1.71 ERA in 11 starts following a Yankees loss this year.

That is eye-popping.

The Yankees will need to hope he can limit the damage to one run and that they can get that one lucky swing off of Kluber that brings in two or three. It will be the Yankees’ third time seeing Kluber in two calendar months. If that happens, Chad Green and David Robertson, the Yankees two most consistent relievers since Robertson came over, can come in and be the bridge to Chapman. They should be available after being out for Game 1.