The New York Yankees proved quickly on Friday that they still have plenty of fight in them. And it didn’t matter if Corey Kluber, the favorite to win the AL Cy Young, was on the mound in Game 2 of the American League Division Series.
The Yankees torched Corey Kluber, scoring six runs on seven hits, including two homers, before Kluber could even get out of the third inning. The Yankees extended their lead to five runs in the fifth inning, but still couldn’t hold on as the Indians rallied to win 9-8 in 13 innings.
Still, the early story on Friday was the Yankees breakout against Kluber. For a man who is called the Klubot — because his demeanor is so focused and he’s so automatic on the mound — this is not what anybody expected. Especially after the Yankees were dominated by Trevor Bauer and the Indians in Game 1.
It started with Gary Sanchez in the top of the first inning. He made Kluber pay for walking Aaron Judge by knocking a two-run homer. In the third inning, Sanchez started it off again. He singled and scored when Starlin Castro also singled. A third straight base hit by Greg Bird set up a three-run homer by Aaron Hicks. And that was it for Kluber.
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) October 6, 2017
Indians manager Terry Francona, known for his quick hook, even gave it to his ace and turned to his bullpen. Kluber only gave up six runs once during the regular season — and it was back in April. He gave up five runs twice. There were 20 games where he gave up two runs or fewer. And he hadn’t given up more than two runs in a start since Aug. 13.
Incredibly, Kluber gave up nearly as many runs in Game 2 as he did in the entire 2016 postseason. From MLB.com’s David Adler:
In Corey Kluber's 1st start of the playoffs, he allows 6 runs in 2 2/3 IP. In the entire 2016 postseason, he gave up 7 runs in 34 1/3 IP.
— David Adler (@_dadler) October 6, 2017
Kluber isn’t alone in getting lit up in the postseason. The top three AL pitchers this season according to Fangraphs’ WAR — that’s Kluber, Red Sox ace Chris Sale and the Yankees’ Luis Severino — all had rough postseason debuts. Combined, they only lasted eight innings while giving up 16 earned runs and seven homers.
It goes to show, the postseason isn’t the MLB Cy Young ballot or the league-leader column. It’s a place where anything happens. Even good pitchers getting shelled.
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