In June, some of the pitchers that the Yankees felt they could rely upon started to creak. Meanwhile, some of those who looked like they weren’t going to perform began to improve. Rollercoaster. The team ERA during June increased from 3.75 in May to just below 5. No point in your batters improving if this is going to happen!
|New York Yankees – Pitching – Month – June|
Michael Pineda pitched to a 7.52 ERA in the 31 days that were May and delivered up a 1 win, three losses, 1 no-decision record. It is fair to say that expectations for June were not high. But he kinda emphasises what a topsy-turvy month this was when we look back and see that he was the pick of the Yankees’ starters in June. He did have 4 no-decisions in his six starts but his ERA massively improved. He appeared to have gained confidence in his arsenal. Your guess is as good as mine as to what will happen with him next.
C.C. Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka and Ivan Nova each delivered two wins in June but their personal records couldn’t have contrasted by much more. Sabathia wasn’t the pitcher he had been in May but he was still carrying a considerable weight (no pun intended!) within the rotation. However, there is an observable trend here which might be a little worrying. He gave up no runs across his first two starts in June, delivering 12 innings for 7 hits. His middle start on the 16th in Minnesota was nearly as good but he gave up his first run of the month. After that though it was downhill all the way. Starts against Colorado and Texas saw him on the mound for 11 and a third innings but by contrast he gave up 12 runs (11 earned).
Tanaka’s 4.12 ERA showed that on average he was giving up over a run more on average than he had given up in May whilst Nova’s ERA more than doubled on the previous month.
The fifth starter whose performance had been enough to see him lead in the team in certain categories in 2015, delivered up his worst ever period in pinstripes. Nathan Eovaldi gave up 25 runs in the month and didn’t give the team anything near starts of the sort of quality they might have expected. His month ended 0-3 and the Yankees need to do something to help this guy get himself sorted out.
The Yankees need steady relief to come from other quarters than their big three if they are to stay in contention in the games when Betances-Miller-Chapman are not ready to go. This month they found this particular goal harder to achieve.
Kirby Yates and Nick Goody were simply awful in June and Anthony Swarzak started to show why he has never been more than a journeyman at the Major League level. This resulted in both Yates and Goody being reassigned in the last few days of the month and it wasn’t as though the Yankees hadn’t given them chances to turn it around. Yates had given up 3 runs in 2/3 of an innings in the middle of the month at Colorado. He was still around two weeks later to hit 3 Texas batters with pitched balls during a short appearance on the 27th. This cost the Yankees the game and so Scranton was calling. Goody was a little more unfortunate but he gave up 4 runs in 3 games over 5 days and when Girardi couldn’t find a spot for him in any game in the next four days, he too was on his way.
Swarzak, of course, made his Yankees’ debut in June and was very steady across his first six appearances with only one wobble which came in the game against Detroit on the 12th. his performances near the end of the month were much less reliable and we wait to see what happens next.
Conor Mullee had already had one surprising brief stint at the major league level this season and no-one really expected him to make it up a second time before the September roster expansion but he was to prove the pundits wrong. He was called up on the 28th and made a 1 innings-no runs appearance on the same day. Chad Green delivered a similar performance when he appeared in the game on the 12th against Detroit, only to be returned to the minors shortly afterwards.
Richard Bleier played in 7 games in the month and was someone who delivered and helped the team. His sole difficulty was in the game at the hitters’ paradise called Coors Field on the 14th where the Rockies weighed in for 5 hits and 3 runs whilst he was on the mound.
Luis Cessa‘s month was interesting. He had been sent back to Scranton on June 7th, having not played since the 28th of the previous month. It would be the 26th before he got the call from the Yankees again. His appearance on that date was neither good nor bad but it was his outing three days later which made the Yankees sit up and take notice. Coming in as a long reliever, with the Yankees 6-1 behind after a sub-par performance from Tanaka seemed to have put them out of the game. Cessa pitched the next three innings for just one run whilst the offensive line-up delivered up 8 runs and took a walk-off win in the 9th.
Inevitably, then we come to the trio of pitchers that have been and remain the Yankees’ biggest asset this season. Once more, Andrew Miller was the most effective: 3 wins, 1 save and an ERA of less than 2. Dellin Betances was improving after a few struggles recently and Aroldis Chapman brought in his quota of saves, with 8 on the month, with both of the latter players delivering ERAs of less than 4.
There are those journalists who think the Yankees’ season is virtually over and it is time to cash in their good chips and exchange them for youthful prospects. Just as it is inevitable that Betances-Miller-Chapman will perform well, it is equally inevitable that they (particularly Chapman who is out of contract at the end of season and Miller who the Yankees have at times seemed uncertain about) will join Carlos Beltran in that gossip. This writer thinks it is only certain that George Steinbrenner III would not have been a seller whilst the team was still within sight of contention for a wild card. The true calibre of this new generation of owners will be seen in the next few weeks.