The Yankees’ pitching staff continued, in August, to do more than enough to keep the team in the game on most days. After the signings of Jaime Garcia and Sonny Gray, they had given themselves 6 regular starting options – most of whom are more than holding their own. The bullpen has been more than solid with the exception of Aroldis Chapman. Chapman is perhaps the reliever that the Yankees expected most from but who is delivering least.
|New York Yankees 2017 – Pitching – Month – August|
Jordan Montgomery has done as much as the Yankees expected of him in 2017 and across his time with the major league club and his brief outings with Scranton (Triple-A) and Trenton (Double-A), he is one innings short of the season total he ran up in the minors alone in 2016. Consequently, the Yankees are going to go easy on him the rest of the way. Thankfully, four of their starters did very well in August and allowed him a little down time.
Best of the bunch was probably Masahiro Tanaka, who in his four starts in August gained two wins and one no-decision with an ERA of 2.63 and a WHIP% not much above 1. Tanaka has the option at the end of the year to opt out of the remainder of his contract and become a free agent. After an uneven season, it will be interesting to see what he does.
Sonny Gray hasn’t always had the run support he needs since he joined the Yankees. Consequently, he took 3 losses in his 5 starts in August. However, a closer look reveals an ERA on the month which is only 2.70. He has been a good acquisition.
Luis Severino’s 3.82 ERA in August looks like a downturn in form but a look at the detail alleviates that worry too. He had one really bad game – on August 12 against Boston, when he gave up 10 runs (8 earned) in just over 4 innings. Once you subtract that from his figures, he still looks every bit the team ace.
CC Sabathia continues to creak at times but the aging star is still having a better year than most would have expected. In August, he gave up 12 runs in 28 innings. Like Severino, he had a bad day – August 8th in Toronto – which resulted with some days on the disabled list. His legs are not holding up well but when they do, the arm is still there.
If Gray has proved a good signing, the jury is still far from decided on Jaime Garcia, who is on his third club of the season. August was a 5.11 ERA, a WHIP that is way too high and no wins. Mmm….
Luis Cessa made one start in August which didn’t go too badly but saw him leave the game injured and joining Michael Pineda on the long-term disabled list.
So turning our attention to the bullpen, let’s first deal with those who have led the way with some great performances.
Dellin Betances and David Robertson were a huge part of the Yankees’ late innings lineup in 2014 until the Bronx Bombers decided to foolishly give up on Robertson. Now they’re back together in 2017 and showing the management just what they’ve been missing. April, May and August have been Betances’ big months this year and in August he has been sharing closing duties too. Robertson rejoined the Yankees for the second part of July and is just improving as time passes. He has also been used in saves situations since that role was taken from the failing Aroldis Chapman (more on that in a moment).
Chad Green has been huge for the Yankees this season. His WHIP this month is second only to Betances amongst the regular faces. On August 30 against Cleveland, he struck out 7 of 8 batters faced to set a new record.
Adam Warren hasn’t had the best few weeks but is still doing okay. On the other hand, Tommy Kahnle, who looked unhittable when he was traded to the Yankees before the deadline, has struggled in August and 13 hits given up in 10.1 innings is not good.
Chasen Shreve is “Mr Inconsistency” and his August performance has seen him once more struggle to get batters out. Every time, the Yankees think he has turned it around, he loses his way again.
Which brings us to Mr Chapman. Aroldis that is. The first time, Chapman came to the Yankees he did so with baggage – lots of it. He did well but they allowed him to go to the Cubs and become part of a World Series winning team. He left there under a cloud having told the media that he didn’t like the way he was used in the post-season. And so it was back to the Yankees. His pitching speed has remained constantly high but his pitch location has not. In August, he gave up 8 runs in 8 innings including 3 homers – enough for Joe Girardi to decide that he was no longer going to be pitching the 9th inning. The future? Who knows…
Aside from that there was some bit players. Giovanny Gallegos made one appearance and did extremely well but that wasn’t enough to keep in the majors but he will be back when the rosters expand. Bryan Mitchell, who the Yankees had hoped to make a starter of in 2016, made 3 relief appearances. He didn’t do well and joins Shreve amongst the players with huge question marks over where they will be in 2018. Finally, there was Caleb Smith who has dominated in Scranton and Trenton but has not been able to show any of that tenacity and control at the higher level.