Mariano Rivera finished? Well, so they were saying in the first half of August. But in reality the bullpen was probably the Yankees’ strongest asset in the dog-days of Summer as unlikely as that seemed just a couple of months ago….. Let’s see what the statistics reveal……
|New York Yankees – Pitching – Month – August|
David Robertson. In August, Robertson appeared in more games than any other Yankees pitcher and came out of that intensive spell with an ERA of less than one on the month. Robertson’s development has been a crucial part of the Yankees’ season so far. He had a good 2009 but somewhat tumbled down the rankings in 2010 and few would have expected him to bounce back to this career best form. He not only bodes well for the rest of this year, but if he can maintain this consistency, for the long term future.
Boone Logan. Logan looked wobbly at the start of the year and as the left-handed relievers headed to the disabled list en masse and it looked likely that he would have to fill that role alone, confidence wasn’t exactly high. However, he has grown in stature as the season developed and August was his best month yet. He picked up two wins and only gave up one run in 10 outings.
Freddy Garcia. Garcia was the pick of the starters in August and he only took one win from the month which really emphasises how much we depended on the ‘pen. He spent a part of the month on the DL but when he was available we could look to him for 6 innings or so an outing and no problems with keeping us in the game until the runs eventually came.
Cory Wade. It can’t be emphasised how much more we got than expected from Wade. Frankly, I expected nothing and I under-rated him and did him a real disservice. Whatever role he has been pressed into he has done more than enough to allow the batters to take charge of the game, safe in the knowledge that their opponents weren’t likely to be putting runs on the board.
A.J. Burnett. The Yankees are still trying to turn a six-man rotation into five but don’t be fooled into thinking that this is because they have six quality starters. They have four. They simply can’t decide whether Burnett or Hughes is worse and the main factor in Burnett’s favour is that huge contract that they’ll be paying him whether he starts, relieves or goes away. On the month, he had the worst ERA on the team, the worst OBA and averaged a little over 4 innings a start.
Phil Hughes. Hughes wasn’t pretty either but he was actually much better than Burnett but lacked consistency. His ERA was less than half of Burnett’s figure. He let considerably less batters on to base per innings. He delivered up three wins on the month and gave us an innings more per start. None of this suggests should be read to imply that he was good but there are degrees of bad and the Yankees need to wake up to that before they set that playoff roster.
Bartolo Colon. Three entries on this “Bad” list and three starters. Colon came away from the month with two no decisions and three losses. He allowed more people to get to base than Hughes and he is showing his age. He was never meant to be a long-term fix but we need to find some way to get more out of him than this by the time October comes.
Mariano Rivera. Mariano Rivera led the team in August in OBA. Absorb that fact for a moment. Yes, this is the same Mariano that even some Yankees’ fans was saying was done before a third of the month was gone. The same Mariano that had three sub-par outings back at the beginning of the month. But it is also the same Rivera who didn’t allow a run in his last six outings in the month and seems to pay no heed to the headlines. He doesn’t seem to know it’s over.
C.C. Sabathia. Sabathia battled through the month giving the team 7 innings each time he went to the mound and winning more than he lost but this wasn’t C.C. at his dominating best. Either this extra days rest isn’t working for him or the Yankees ought to really start to worry whether their starting rotation can deliver in the playoffs.
Ivan Nova. Nova is back. He didn’t deserve to be sent to the minors but it is interesting that he probably didn’t deserve the five wins on five starts he got in August either and that’s why I go for Garcia ahead of him as our best starter on the month. Nova got the run support that nobody else did and just occasionally he rode his luck. There were 7 pitchers on the team who allowed less runners per innings to get to base and 7 pitchers who produced a better ERA but none of them collected five wins. Perhaps Nova is our lucky charm and Garcia, Sabathia and he can lead us all the way to the World Series.
Luis Ayala. Like Cory Wade, Ayala has managed to become a vital component of the bullpen almost without anyone noticing. He doesn’t get the headlines but he is dependable and resolute and nobody expected nearly as much from him as he has delivered.