Corey Kluber faces Max Scherzer in Yanks-Nats matchup

MLB Baseball

New York Yankees right-hander Corey Kluber continues his attempt at a career renaissance when the three-time All-Star and two-time Cy Young Award winner toes the rubber against Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer on Saturday afternoon.

Kluber (2-2, 3.03 ERA), arrived in New York on a one-year, $11 million deal two seasons removed from his last All-Star campaign.

After a slow start to 2021, the 35-year-old veteran has improved upon his previous performances in each of his past three outings, lowering his ERA more than three runs in the process.

He was every bit as dominant as he was during any time in his career in his last start, allowing two hits over eight scoreless innings to help the Yankees to a 2-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday in the third game of New York’s nine-game homestand.

Kluber fanned 10 and walked one in the win.

“It felt good to go out there and execute, for the most part, from start to finish,” Kluber said afterward. “That’s always the goal, but it’s not always smooth sailing. So when you do have them, it’s fun to go out there and have that feeling.”

Scherzer (2-2, 2.54 ERA) also enters Saturday following his strongest outing of the season. The 36-year-old threw his 12th career complete game on Sunday, allowing a run on five hits in a 3-1 home win over the Miami Marlins.

The three-time Cy Young winner also pitched quickly in a game that concluded in a tidy 2 hours, 37 minutes. Afterward, he was unavailable to the media, since he had to rush to join his wife for the birth of the couple’s third child later on Sunday.

“He’s been an amazing pitcher his whole career,” Nationals catcher Yan Gomes said afterward. “It almost comes down to some of these outings. He finds these new motivations.”

Kluber could have Gio Urshela back in his infield after the third baseman exited with knee soreness in New York’s Thursday loss to the Houston Astros.

With Urshela unavailable Friday, the Yankees recalled infielder Miguel Andujar from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and optioned reliever Albert Abreu there in a corresponding move.

An MRI revealed Urshela had not sustained structural damage, meaning he could return as soon as Saturday.

“He checked out pretty well after the game, and then the MRI confirmed that everything is structurally sound,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Friday. “He’s got a little bit of swelling in there. Whether he’s back in there (Saturday) or whatever, we’ll go day by day, but he’s doing a lot better.”

Kluber will try to help the Yankees even the series after their bullpen and defense unraveled in an 11-4 loss on Friday night.

Josh Harrison clubbed a three-run blast during Washington’s six-run eighth inning, a frame that included three errors by New York and a rough outing for setup man Jonathan Loaisiga.

Josh Bell, Yan Gomes and Juan Soto also homered for Washington, with Soto (shoulder strain) taking advantage of the American League’s designated hitter rule to make his first start since coming off the injured list.

New York’s DJ LeMahieu homered twice and had three hits, and Gary Sanchez also went deep.

Kluber is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in his one career start against Washington, an outing that occurred back in 2013. Scherzer is 4-4 with a 4.34 ERA in eight career starts against the Yankees.

–Field Level Media

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