Rangers 'not surprised' by Kluber's no-no

May 20th, 2021

ARLINGTON -- This was the type of outing the Rangers hoped to see out of Corey Kluber at Globe Life Field, only they hoped it would come with him wearing their uniform.

Unfortunately, Kluber was wearing Yankee road grays on Wednesday night as he became the sixth pitcher in history to no-hit the Rangers in a 2-0 New York win.

“We expected some outings like that in our ballpark,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “Unfortunately, not against us. I can't say enough good things about him, besides when he throws a no-hitter against you.

“At the same time, I'm not surprised by this guy's success. I’ve watched this guy personally go through his routines and the work that he puts in. ... I'm not surprised.”

Kluber was acquired by the Rangers in December 2019, but he pitched just one inning last year before a shoulder tear kept him out the rest of the season. He agreed to a one-year free-agent deal with the Yankees this past winter. His tenure with the Rangers was so short, the club didn't have an opportunity to hand out his bobbleheads last season, so the club did so on Wednesday.

Per Elias Sports, only two other pitchers have thrown a no-hitter against the team they pitched for either the previous year or earlier in the same season -- Ray Caldwell for Cleveland against the Yankees in 1919 and Terry Mulholland for Philadelphia against the Giants in 1990.

Coming into this season, the Rangers had only been no-hit four times in franchise history, with the last one coming 14 years ago at the hands of lefty Mark Buehrle in Chicago. Now the Rangers have been no-hit twice in 2021, both coming at home.

“He was using both sides of the plate, and used the changeup quite a bit,” Woodward said. “He even used the right-on-right change, which I thought kind of threw us off a little bit. Overall, I mean, the ball was late-breaking.

“A lot of those cutters guys said were breaking pretty late, the slider was breaking late. When he's doing that and he's coming out of the same slot in the same tunnel, it's tough. He just pitched really well.”

Texas became just the seventh team to be no-hit twice at home in a season. The Seattle Mariners have also been no-hit at home twice in 2021, the second of which came 24 hours earlier on Tuesday, when Detroit's Spencer Turnbull blanked Seattle at T-Mobile Park.

Woodward said it crossed his mind that he saw Seattle getting no-hit last night.

“I'm humble enough in this game to know that I'm not going to point a finger at somebody else and go 'haha,' because that comes right back at you,” Woodward said. “So it’s something we’re gonna have to move on from and swing the bat tomorrow.”

Rangers infielder Charlie Culberson, whose walk in the third inning accounted for the Rangers’ only baserunner, said it’s obviously unfortunate to be no-hit twice in one season, but “that’s baseball.”

“I'm glad that I'm here and am able to play this game, but no-hitters happen,” Culberson said. “There's been a lot so far this year. Unfortunate for us that we've been a part of two of them, but it just shows you how good these pitchers are.”

Culberson has now been on the opposite end of three no-hitters, including one when he was with the Rockies in 2014. He went 0-for-1 that night against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw in a pinch-hit role.

This is the second no-hitter at Globe Life Field in the history of the facility, occurring just midway through its second season. The last time was on April 9 of this season, when Joe Musgrove threw the first one in San Diego history.

Woodward said Musgrove and Kluber were similar in how they utilized their breaking balls to attack the Rangers’ hitters. Kluber threw more changeups than Musgrove (18 to seven), but they both had a type of elite movement.

Culberson said Kluber mostly threw him cutters and curveballs, and while some of the pitches were hittable, he couldn’t get on top of one.

“He's obviously got a lot of guys off the bat, and made his cutter and slider even that much more effective,” Woodward said. “He definitely mixed up his pitches, got a lot of weird swings with the curveball and slider, even though you know it's coming. That just shows you how sharp it is and how late the break is.”

Rangers pitcher Hyeon-Jong Yang went toe to toe with the two-time American League Cy Young Award winner, going five scoreless innings before the Yankees got on the board with an RBI triple from Tyler Wade in the sixth.