On the face of it, the Yankees’ starting pitching in July wasn’t really much different than the way it had been in June. In June, the team had come out 17-9 on the month and the starters had picked up 8 of those wins. Excluding the rather bizarre decision to open with Stephen Tarpley in the second “London series” game, the team had depended on 4 principal starters and one opener, Chad Green who did exceptionally well both as an opener and as a reliever. In July, the Yankees reverted to the more usual tactic of using 5 starters, now that Domingo German was available for the full month. Indeed, German was the pick of the starters but nothing else quite went to plan but even so, the starters just about got away with it. Whilst the win percentage was down (14 out of 25 games), the starters were still responsible for 50% of those wins. However, the real truth can be seen in the ERA (earned run average) and WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) columns.
Let’s see who led the way and who struggled:
|New York Yankees 2019 – Pitching – Month – July|
|Cortes jr., Nestor||8||0||0||1||11.2||9||3||3||9||9||1||0||0||2.31||.225||1.54|
As already hinted, Domingo German was the leader among the starting pitchers. After being injured in early June, he was brought back from the injury list on the 3rd of July. After that he collected 4 wins on the month although the 4.67 ERA shows that he was prone to giving up the big hit. The WHIP of 1.11 conversely was the third best on the team and the Yankees very much relied upon him.
J.A. Happ finished with 1 win, 2 losses and 2 no-decisions this month and hasn’t come close to the pitcher he appeared to be after joining the Yankees in the latter part of the 2018 season. However, there was worse. James Paxton couldn’t claim a single win on the month and 3 of his five appearances end in losses.
Then there was CC Sabathia who is stumbling towards retirement (almost literally) and after producing an ERA that was the wrong side of seven, finished the month on the injured list again and he also couldn’t collect a win. It’s hard to think that anyone could sink lower than that in the stats columns but Masahiro Tanaka managed it. The Japanese pitcher has been as good a starter as the Yankees have got this season but there is no question that he has been inconsistent. He did come away with two wins, 1 loss and 2 no-decisions but, oh, that ERA – 8.77.
If opener / reliever, Chad Green, closer, Aroldis Chapman, and late innings guy, Adam Ottavino, had carried the burden in June, then the Yankees had to look in another direction in July.
The very consistent Ottavino gave them more of the same, Green did okay but Chapman whilst somehow managing 4 saves out of 7 finishes was wretched for most of the month and gave the team an ERA of 8.31 which was only marginally better than Tanaka’s and a WHIP of 2.31 which was a team worst for July (that is if we leave out of the reckoning the night that Austin Romine was pressed into pitching action – the less said about how Mr Boone managed that evening the better).
So, who else stood up to be counted? Well, Tommy Kahnle who the Yankees could have been forgiven for giving up on in 2018 was marvellous. Amongst the regular pitchers (he made 12 relief appearances), he led the team in WHIP and ERA. Also, there was Zack Britton who was solid and both Nestor Cortes jr. and David Hale who made a much more substantial contribution than might have been expected.
Luis Cessa worked well in long relief and Jonathan Holder, who had looked awful earlier in the season, showed enough at Scranton to earn himself a temporary recall and a good spot relief performance.
Picking the bones out of Stephen Tarpley‘s month would prove extremely difficult because all of his stats for the season were skewed by his nightmare appearance as an opener in that aforementioned June game in London. Sure enough, when he came up against Boston again this month, it became apparent that they have got his number and he has lost his confidence in facing them. With rule changes meaning that there will be less demand for left-handed specialists from 2020, his long-term future must be in question.