So with the batting line-up dying a slow death, the Yankees needed their pitchers to continue to bolster the ship as it rolled in stormy seas. On the whole, through August, they did – although the bullpen suffered a knock and a setback here and there which can come with the overuse it has had this season. On the whole, the Yankees can thank their pitching for, surprisingly, keeping them in contention.
|New York Yankees – Pitching – Month – August|
The Yankees’ history of injuries to their starting rotation continues. August saw Michael Pineda return from the 60-day disabled list but David Phelps go to the 15-day list after falling apart during the early innings of his appearance against the Red Sox on the 3rd of August.
Pineda, of course, was not only coming back from injury but also from the controversy and infamy he surrounded himself with – also in appearances against Boston. Thankfully, the Yankees have seen more of the good pitching that he delivered in April and less of the pine tar. Managing to achieve nearly six innings an outing, he gave the team a 2.31 figure in the ERA column which will do very nicely.
Three of the regular starters gave the Bronx Bombers two wins each with Hiroki Kuroda, Shane Greene and Brandon McCarthy all achieving that feat. Only McCarthy had a decision in every one of his outings which meant that he had four losses leaving his monthly figures more comparable to what he was doing at the Diamondbacks than what he achieved in his first games in the pinstripes of New York. Kuroda is obviously coming to end of his tenure like his countryman Ichiro Suzuki but it is in Greene’s performance that the Yankees should be taking encouragement. 2 wins, 3 no decisions and a 2.93 ERA mean that this rookie is looking like the real deal. On average, he’s giving the Yankees a little over 6 innings a start and if he can tighten up on the amount of walks he is allowing then those no decisions will soon be heading to the win column.
Chris Capuano gave the Yankees six starts in August and whilst he is every bit the fifth starter, he is doing okay. An ERA of 4.42 is the weakest amongst the starters but it is enough to keep the Yankees in games when he is on the mound.
Esmil Rogers was the other pitcher to be given a start which he added to his six relief appearances in August. In both roles, he has exceeded what the Yankees could have hoped for. He had a 6.97 ERA on the season with Toronto prior to his move north and his 2.45 ERA in August shows how much the move has benefited him. He has done extremely well.
Shawn Kelley has been the Yankees’ pitcher who has appeared in most games during in August and with the upsurge in his appearances has come something of a falling apart in his performances. In July, he made 10 appearances with a 1.64 ERA. In August that became 14 appearances (1 every 2 games) and a massive 7.59 ERA. Maybe it is time to transfer a little of that weight onto Adam Warren whose ERA is gradually improving and whose WHIP was significantly better in August.
With the departure of Matt Thornton, David Huff has become the principal left-handed reliever although his role is a little different as the Yankees are as likely to ask him to face a right-handed batter as a southpaw. Huff is doing well and like the previously mentioned Esmil Rogers has seen a real improvement with the change of territory. Whilst he was with the San Francisco Giants he was charged with a 6.30 ERA whilst this month he delivered a 3.00 figure in the same column. Still there is an air that the Yankees don’t really trust him in the role – which is probably why they let him go to the Giants after delivering some pretty strong figures for the Bronx side at the tail end of 2013.
That is one of the peculiar things about the Yankees – Rich Hill didn’t give up a run in six appearances and was designated for assignment; Matt Thornton didn’t give up a hit in his last two appearances but the Washington Nationals were allowed to claim him off waivers; and Bryan Mitchell was sent back to the minors after a pretty spotless debut. It’s hard to know what you have to do gain an on-going spot on the roster. After all it is not as though the farm system is crammed with options just waiting to burst through. Perhaps some of these journeymen and seemingly successful developments from the minors should have been kept around a little longer. They can’t appear at the top of our August statistical table purely by blind chance.
Matt Daley is one who seems to be about out of options after another disappointing appearance early in the month. I would be surprised to see him back again. By contrast, Chase Whitley just needs a little time to regain his confidence after not responding well to being reassigned from a starting role to a relief spot. He will be back but I’m not sure what his long-term direction will be.
At the end of most successful games there is Dellin Betances and closer, David Robertson. Both have had a few shaky moments during August but this is a small part of what has been an excellent season for the two. It is hoped that the Yankees’ management have the good sense to see them as being part of the on-going future of the team. Betances produced a 1.10 ERA and 0.73 WHIP in a month when he had a couple of sub-par outings. If you add this to the fact that he strikes out around 3 batters for every 2 innings pitched (based on his August figures) then you can see that here the Yankees have a simply overpowering talent.
Likewise, Robertson whose 9 saves in 11 outings says an awful lot. His one blown save ended an extended sequence of successfully converted opportunities. He is not Rivera but who could be. He is Robertson and that will do very well for the team that the Yankees want to become in 2015 and beyond.