Well, the Yankees game last night was rained out. As Boston lost, the Yankees were elevated to first place again – making today a good day to reflect on the pitching that got them there and that which didn’t live up to expectations…..
|New York Yankees – Pitching – Month – May
C.C. Sabathia. As CC Sabathia heads into today’s start against Tampa Bay, it is that .204 OBA that shows that it is not only his top-rank wages which makes him stand out amongst the other starters. Sabathia typically makes a slow start to the season and bearing this in mind it seems that he’s ahead of schedule for another examplary season.
Alfredo Aceves. When a Yankees starter goes down early in the game – and it does happen, Hughes and Wang take a bow, then Aceves is the guy that they can depend upon. He has given us two or three solid innings in every relief performance. This is a team that went without a long reliever on their opening day roster. This was obviously a major mistake and not having someone like Aceves to turn to in those early weeks lost us several games.
David Robertson. Robertson is another who didn’t make the opening day roster but who is making a sizeable difference now he is part of the bullpen. He still needs to gain a little in the consistency stakes but when he is good, he will do very nicely.
Joba Chamberlain. Chamberlain still isn’t the complete package as a starter but he is ahead of where I expected him to be at this stage and the voices (including mine) asking for him to be returned to the bullpen are dying down. He is ahead of Pettitte and Wang in his recent starts and May was a good month for him.
Edwar Ramirez remains part of the 40-man roster so the Yankees aren’t finished with him but his form has been a big disappointment so far this year and he is learning to make his home at Scranton / Wilkes-Barre (AAA). During May, he averaged nearly a walk and a hit in every innings pitched and whilst the Yankees might have been a little premature in demoting him, it looked as though it was always heading that way.
Phil Hughes. The Yankees seem quite pleased with him and said he was unlucky to lose his starting job but the reality is that he is averaging less than five innings per start and that is ERA for the month was 6.59. We have to put this in context. This is one of the two guys who were going to be a mainstay of the rotation in 2008 and really messed up. Now Hughes is the best of the two (even when Kennedy is fit) but he looks like he will make-do as a number five starter. This is no longer a surprise to me but I’m not expecting a noticeable improvement and this isn’t good enough.
Jose Veras. Last year, Veras was a very important part of the bullpen. This year it is probably only his level of experience which is keeping him in New York. His ERA for May exceeded 8 and this is even considering that he occasionally does give us a good performance.
Jonathan Albaladejo. Another early-in-the-season reassignment. Last year, he started the season well and then got injured. This season he started well and then the hitters figured him out. Like Ramirez, I think he perhaps deserved another week at the top level to see if he could gather himself but really he can have no complaints.
Chien-Ming Wang. The guys on the team who still have to communicate through an interpreter are in a difficult place when their form falls apart. Given all the psychological pressure the fact that Wang has taken some major steps towards comeback at all is quite an achievement. He has some distance to go and I thought it was too early to restore him to the rotation but this is so far-so good.
Brett Tomko. I was not alone in shaking my head when I heard that Tomko had been promoted to the Bronx, I’m sure. Another journeyman pitcher, who is likeable but struggles to maintain a high enough level of performance in the top flight. So I’m not expecting this to last but he has put in some creditable innings so far and deserves a nod for that alone.
Phil Coke. Coke is the guy we must go to when we need a left-hander out of the bullpen but whilst his performances have been adequate, he has looked a shadow of the pitcher he was in his appearances at the end of last year. He is simply giving up too many runs – too often in tight situations that can cost us a game.
Mark Melancon started his major league assignment well but then he stopped throwing strikes. He was a surprising call-up who took advantage of his chance but ultimately couldn’t maintain it. His ERA at AAA is less than half of what he produced at the major level and he needs some months at that level under his belt before he is giving another chance in the Bronx.