The Yankees rotation coming out of Spring Training looked like a disaster waiting to happen. The old hands (Freddy Garcia as a starter with Bartolo Colon in relief), the under-achievers (AJ Burnett, Phil Hughes), and the unknowns (Ivan Nova). So given that April was such a success it bodes well for the rest of the season. Or as May plays out, was this just beginners’ luck? Anyway, here’s what happened:
|New York Yankees – Pitching – Month – April|
David Robertson. Robertson succeeds as his strikeout total increases. And in April he struck out 12 in just over 9 innings. He looks like he will be a vital part of the bullpen particularly as some of the older players tire.
Bartolo Colon. Bartolo started in the bullpen but was quickly promoted to the rotation as Phil Hughes showed that he had problems even if the Yankees couldn’t decide what those problems were. Colon perhaps gave up too many hits but a 2.77 ERA is very satisfactory from someone trying to make a return to the majors.
C.C. Sabathia. Sabathia was the one person in the rotation who looked dependable. Now April has shown that he has kinks in his action to work out and he has not been overpowering but C.C. below par is still better than most of the other starters in the American League. He’s holding his own and chances are that it can only get better.
Phil Hughes. Nobody expected Hughes to storm out of the starting gate but few anticipated the problems he has had. In both ERA and OBA, he was the worst pitcher on the team and the way that his problems have eluded any medical diagnosis is very worrying. Talk of “deadarms” can cover up all kinds of issues and I’m not expecting him to bounce back anytime soon.
Rafael Soriano. It is inevitable that when Soriano has a bad game, then the talk of it being a Cashman vs Girardi issue will resurface. Yankees General Manager, Brian Cashman, famously didn’t want to meet the cost of signing Soriano but he was overruled by the Steinbrenners who knew that Girardi wanted him. It hasn’t been all bad so far, but the stats can’t hide a couple of major blowouts.
Ivan Nova. Nova only just ends up being listed in this unkind section – primarily because he can’t take the Yankees deep into the game. Usually by around 5 innings, he is all done. Time may show that his future lies as a long reliever but that is another problem for the starting thin Yankees.
A.J. Burnett. Not a lot to say about Burnett other than, in April, he was better than the Yankees had dared to hope for. If he can be consistent at this level, then he is a good number three starter. The problem is that we don’t really have no. 2.
Buddy Carlyle. Carlyle didn’t really register on my antennae until the day he arrived in the Bronx and when Ayala was down and Colon was otherwise involved, he brought an extra dimension and arm to the bullpen. Whether he will stay around longterm remains to be seen but he was there to eat the innings when we needed him.
Lance Pendleton. As it was with Carlyle so it was with Pendleton. He was claimed on rule 5 by Houston from the Bronx Bombers but the Astros were unimpressed and returned him to New York. There didn’t seem to be any good reason that the Yankees would promote him to the Bronx but they did and Pendleton is yet to give up his first major league run.