The Yankees’ pitching continued on two separate trends in June. The bullpen was continuing to be successful but most of the starting rotation with the exception of Luis Severino was struggling. Add into that a dual hamstring strain which took Masahiro Tanaka on the disabled list and they would inevitably be leaning more and more on that ‘pen
|New York Yankees 2018 – Pitching – Month – June|
Now here’s a motley crew. Most used and worst of the bunch was once again Sonny Gray. Gray is showing an ability to re-create the performances he displayed whilst at Oakland in the cauldron of New York. He made a great start on the opening day of the month against Baltimore but after that it was pretty much downhill all the way. Domingo German actually produced a slightly worse ERA than Gray during the month but allowed less batters on to base and finished the month with 2 wins, 1 loss and 2 no-decisions.
Injury meant that Masahiro Tanaka was limited to two starts in June, both of which lasted for around 5 innings. Ironically, the second which preceded his injury was the better of the pair. Jonathan Loaisiga was the cover called up for Tanaka’s time on the DL. He skipped Triple-A Scranton and emerged in the Show straight from double-A Trenton. He struggled on the 20th of the month pitching to the Mariners in what was his second start but his first and third appearance showed quite a lot of promise. He may well be one for the future.
CC Sabathia had another pretty good month. Around the middle of the month, he struggled a little in two starts against Tampa Bay. He gave up a cumulative total of 19 hit in those two games but Sabathia is wily and pretty good at delivering himself out of a tight spot. Also the run support was there when he needed it.
Luis Cessa was a man of many roles this month. He spent a bulk of the month recovering from injury with rehab assignments at the Tampa Tarpons (Single-A) and Trenton Thunder (Double-A). After that, he was on the road with major league club and being used as a two-innings closer against the Tampa Bay Rays. Five days later he was in the starting rotation but lasted only three innings against the National League Philadelphia Phillies. A day later he was headed to Scranton (Triple-A). His head must be spinning.
And like a diamond-in-the-rough shines the 1.60 ERA and .92 WHIP of Luis Severino‘s June performances. Appearing in 5 games, he emerged with 4 wins and 1 loss and remains a good outside bet for a Cy Young at the end of the year.
Dellin Betances is so much of a mystery man that he ought to wear a mask. He lost his form towards the end of last season and into the playoffs. He assured us that he was ready to go after a bad Spring Training but looked wretched for most of March and April. And then something clicked. May was good. June was better. He still gives up a few too many walks but he only conceded 1 hit in 12 innings this month, resulting in a zero ERA and a .67 WHIP.
If anybody can match him then it is the guy who quite often precedes him out of the bullpen who has been consistent for a much longer time. Whilst Chad Green gives up more hits, he keeps that walk count right down. His ERA is also 0.00 with a mere .88 in the WHIP column.
So if you have Green in the 7th and Betances in the 8th, you need to deliver it to a reliable arm in the 9th and this year there has been none so reliable as closer Aroldis Chapman. In June, Chapman added another 11 saves to his season total whilst only conceding 1 run in his 12 outings.
And then I guess you need a wild card who can fill a number of roles. Slightly longer relief perhaps, someone to finish up when there is a good lead in hand. You can imagine other scenarios too. Then Jonathan Holder is just your man. We really couldn’t have seen this coming at the beginning of the year but, yes, Holder is your man. 13 innings and 1 earned run in June. Now that is something and it has been the same ever since he was recalled to the Bronx after a short spell in Scranton a couple of months ago.
David Robertson and Adam Warren are both on their second time around as Yankees and again they are both delivering that which is necessary. In a pinch and trying to estimate who I was to call upon, Warren is marginally more consistent but neither is letting much get hit back at him.
So do the Yankees have a problem in the bullpen? Or is everything sweetness and light? Yes, there is always one problem and in this instance it is that aside from Chapman there is little or no left-hand relief. And what there is is called Chasen Shreve and once more he doesn’t know the meaning of the word “consistency” and as in previous years, he just seems to lose sight of the strike-zone as the season goes on. Whilst Holder has proved me wrong, my prediction that Shreve would be dire has been right on the money. The only problem is the lack of depth in the Yankees’ minor league system when it comes to possible left-handed possibilities. As well as finding another starter by the non-waiver trade deadline (end of July), they would be well considering what is out there in terms of left-handed help for the bullpen. And they would be well-advised to dispense with Mr Shreve.
Amongst the bit-players that are in the Yankees’ chorus-line, there have been the consistent but seldom used AJ Cole and the inconsistent Giovanny Gallegos who is at least working up bonus points by all the travelling he is doing between the Bronx and Scranton.