Kluber allowed two runs on three hits in eight innings to improve to 5-1 with a 1.80 ERA in seven career starts against the Yankees. Among active pitchers with at least 50 innings against the Yankees, only Chris Sale has a lower ERA (1.51).
He was happy to see Rob Drake umpiring at Yankee Stadium. This was Kluber’s fourth start with Drake behind the plate, and he improved to 3-1 with a 1.84 ERA in those appearances.
The scouting report on Drake is that he is a pitcher-friendly ump known for a wide outside corner, but he is reluctant to call the low strike.
Kluber must have done his homework. In the first four innings, opposing hitters were 0-for-4 with three strikeouts against pitches on the outer-third of the plate or off the corner.
Five of his seven strikeouts featured called third strikes. Kluber has 11 called strikeouts in his past two starts after recording 11 in his previous five appearances.
Entering the game, opposing hitters missed on 52 percent of swings against Kluber’s curveball and cutter-slider, the highest rate among qualified starters.
Though he wasn’t getting swings-and-misses on those pitches today, with a 22 percent miss rate, opposing hitters were just 2-for-15 against the curve and cutter-slider.
Kluber missed most of May with a back injury, but he has been dominant since he returned from the disabled list on June 1.
He has turned it up another notch in August. Kluber is the first Indians pitcher with five wins and 50 strikeouts in a single month since he also did so in September 2014. Prior to that, the last Cleveland pitcher to reach those marks in a calendar month was Sam McDowell in June 1971.