The Yankees’ pitchers were a major part of why they managed to transform their season by the upturn in their form in August.
Both starters and relievers hit a rich vein of form which made it much easier to turn runs into wins.
However, not everybody rediscovered their form. Let’s see who were those pitchers who led the way in August:
Here’s a table showing the Yankees pitchers on the month in order of lowest ERA:
|Nick Nelson (RP)||0||0||0.00||1||0||1||0||0||1.0||0||1||0||2||0||2.00|
|Luis Gil (SP)||1||0||0.00||3||3||0||0||0||15.2||9||0||0||7||18||1.02|
|Gerrit Cole (SP)||3||0||0.51||3||3||0||0||0||17.2||13||1||1||4||24||0.96|
|Jonathan Loaisiga (RP)||2||0||0.63||11||0||2||0||2||14.1||11||1||1||5||14||1.12|
|Wandy Peralta (RP)*||1||1||0.71||11||1||3||0||3||12.2||11||2||1||2||11||1.03|
|Stephen Ridings (RP)||0||0||1.80||5||0||0||0||0||5.0||4||2||1||2||7||1.20|
|Clay Holmes (RP)||2||0||1.93||8||0||1||0||0||9.1||6||3||2||1||10||0.75|
|Jordan Montgomery (SP)||1||0||2.18||4||4||0||0||0||20.2||17||6||5||7||16||1.16|
|Albert Abreu (RP)||2||0||2.51||12||0||6||0||1||14.1||10||4||4||5||17||1.05|
|Joely Rodriguez (RP)*||1||0||2.70||12||0||0||0||0||10.0||11||4||3||3||7||1.40|
|Lucas Luetge (RP)*||0||1||2.92||11||1||4||0||1||12.1||10||6||4||3||13||1.05|
|Brody Koerner (RP)||0||0||3.00||2||0||2||0||0||3.0||2||1||1||2||1||1.33|
|Chad Green (RP)||3||1||3.00||11||0||4||0||0||15.0||13||6||5||1||19||0.93|
|Aroldis Chapman (RP)*||0||0||3.38||6||0||4||0||3||5.1||6||2||2||4||7||1.88|
|Nestor Cortes (SP)||2||2||3.72||5||5||0||0||0||29.0||27||13||12||6||1||1.24|
|Zack Britton (RP)*||0||1||4.50||10||0||2||0||1||8.0||7||5||4||5||8||1.50|
|Jameson Taillon (SP)||1||1||5.52||6||6||0||0||0||31.0||29||21||19||9||33||1.23|
|Andrew Heaney (SP)*||2||1||6.43||6||5||0||0||0||28.0||23||20||20||9||29||1.14|
|Corey Kluber (SP)||0||0||11.25||1||1||0||0||0||4.0||5||5||5||2||6||1.75|
The Yankees used 7 starters and two openers in August. We’ll look at the openers in the relievers section and start with the regular members of the rotation.
Gerrit Cole was probably the pick of the bunch but it is difficult to tell because he spent the first two weeks of the month on the injured list. He pitched in the loss on the 29th of July but he wasn’t placed on the list until the 3rd of the following month. He returned in order to pitch on the 16th and took wins in each of the three games he played in during the rest of the month. In the 17.2 innings he pitched, he achieved an ERA of 0.51 and a WHIP of 0.96. He led the team in both categories (amongst starters) and led the whole team in the Wins column.
Jameson Taillon made the most starts in the month (6) but things did not go smoothly. At least, Andrew Heaney (5 starts) was around to make him look a little better than he was. Heaney continues to give up a phenomonal amount of home runs – 10 in the six appearances he made in the month. By the final appearance of the month, he had been removed from the rotation and added to the bullpen. On that occasion, he pitched two innings. Somehow or other, his wins managed to exceed his losses on the month but this was due more to run support than to his pitching as his 6.43 ERA and 1.14 WHIP clearly show. Taillon, as indicated, was not much better. Indeed his WHIP (1.23) and Win-Loss record (1-1) was worse.
Luis Gil is still very much a work in progress despite the way that he has set records at the beginning of his career. He managed to pitch 15.2 innings across three games. However, he did give up 9 hits and 7 walks – meaning that he allowed more men on base than he pitched innings which is a little of a tell-tale sign that there is more happening here than is obvious. Consequently, he was optioned back to the minors three times. 2022 may well be his time.
Jordan Montgomery continues to deliver uneven performances. His earned run average outshines the high number of walks and hits he concedes. In his 4 starts, he gave up 17 hits and 7 walks across 20.2 innings which emphasises that he is riding his luck more than a little.
Nestor Cortes continues to amaze, not least because I can’t figure out how he is managing such consistency. His 5 starts showed 2 wins, 2 losses and 1 decision. If you had high expectations of “Nasty Nestor” then his ERA and WHIP might disappoint but since nobody expected him to be a starter, we’ll just settle for giving thanks for him.
Corey Kluber struggled to come back from injury. He needed two rehab sessions with the Somerset Patriots and two more with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders but by the end of the month, he was back on the roster ready to start a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. It did not go well. He managed only 4 innings and he gave up 5 hits, 5 runs and 2 walks. His WHIP was the worst amongst the starters this month – a monstrous 1.75 – and his ERA was the worst amongst the pitching staff. He will be hoping that his form and mechanics is massively approved in September.
Because of a large number of injuries and players who were unavailable, the Yankees used 13 relievers including the aforementioned Andrew Heaney who was relegated from the rotation.
Wandy Peralta and Lucas Luetge were both used as spot openers as well as in their regular role as relievers. Peralta pitched 1.2 innings in his “start” and he kept a runless opening to the game despite giving up 2 hits. Luetge pitched two innings on the occasion he opened the game, gave up a similar 2 hits but also one run. If we include their games as relievers, Peralta remains ahead of this pair. In fact, he had an amazing month – second only to Loaisiga amongst the relief staff. His 11 appearances saw him deliver a 0.71 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP. Somehow or other, he managed to take a loss – in his last appearance of the month but even on that occasion, he only conceded one run. Luetge was not quite as sharp but like Cortes, it is impossible to be negative about him because no-one expected him to be here. However, he did have a disappointing performance against the Chicago White Sox on the 15th. The rest of the month was pretty soild.
Nick Nelson entered the season as one of the potential regulars in the Yankee bullpen. It really hasn’t worked out for him in 2021. He pitched in every month of the season and was on the roster at the very beginning of the season. He was called up on the 7th of this month but not used. He was called up again on the 9th and used on the 10th conceding one unearned run. He then sat on the bench until the 18th before being optioned again. It is fair to say that his standing within the organisation has gone into freefall. Somehow he sits at the head of our table for August but it is that WHIP of 2.00 that tells the true story. A similar transition has affected Brooks Kriske who spent six days on the Major League roster in August and was given no playing time at all.
Jonathan Loaisiga had a tremendous month and he and Clay Holmes were the finest of the relief staff. Holmes has achieved more than the club could have expected when they signed him from the Pittsburgh Pirates. He appeared in less games than Loaisiga but in every regard he was a vital cog in the bullpen machine. In his 9.1 innings, he gave up only 6 hits and 1 walk and took two wins with no losses. An ERA of 1.93 emphasises the strength of his August performance. Indeed, his WHIP of 0.75 leads the team and is significantly better than Loaisiga’s 1.12 WHIP, who is enjoying his breakout year with the Yankees. Like, Holmes, he took two wins and no losses and a superior ERA of 0.63 which is the best of the regular relievers.
Stephen Ridings and Brady Koerner were surprise call-ups. Indeed, their first appearances came on the same day when they relieved Luis Gil who was also making his debut. Yankees fans must have thought they were reading a misprint in the boxscore columns. Ridings stayed on the roster for two weeks and Koerner for longer. Ridings was the pick of the pair appearing in 5 games and producing a 1.80 ERA. Koerner was not so strong appearing in only 2 games with a 3.00 ERA. Koerner was outrighted to Scranton at the close of his time in the majors.
Righthanders, Albert Abreu and Joely Rodriguez had good months. Abreu had experienced a difficult July and bounced back in August. He gathered two wins and a save. Rodriguez had his first month as a Yankee having struggled as a Texas Ranger in July. On the month, he achieved a win, three holds and no losses. In his 12 appearnces, he put together a very useful 2.70 ERA.
Chad Green had a solid month, even if his outings were a little mixed. The month of August boils down to 2 wins, 1 loss, 3 saves, 2 holds and one occasion when he blew a save and one occasion when he stood to gain a win but let it fall apart. He only allowed 7 runners to get on base in 15 innings (6 hits, 1 walk) but the fact that 4 of those hits were home runs did not help. His WHIP of 0.93 in 11 appearances was exceptional.
During August, it became evident that the Yankees had lost a lot of confidence in Aroldis Chapman and the Yankees wanted to give him a little space to get back into his stride. He spent 10 days on the injured list before returning to the roster on the 17th of August. In the period to the end of the month, he was much more effective than he had been in July. Unusually, 3 of his 6 appearances were not save opportunities. When he was given a save opportunity, he delivered, but his 3.38 ERA and his 1.88 WHIP show that he has some distance to bounce back to achieve the standard of pitching he was delivering April.
Zack Britton is another important member of the Yankees’ pitching staff whose time this season has delivered up many problems. The 8th inning regular has been a key left-handed component of the bullpen in recent times. In August, he appeared in 10 games (up to and including the 19th of the month). He hadn’t played in either April or May and his August was superior to his June and July. He struggled on the 12th and 14th against the White Sox and then again on the 19th in a game when they faced Minnesota. All of his other appearances were amongst his best of the season. He gathered six holds and one save on the month. After his appearance on the 19th he was diagnosed with a left elbow sprain. This took him to the injured list on the 23rd. Further examination escalated this to the 60-day injury list and the need for surgery was identified. He is unlikely to return until the latter part of the 2022 season.
On the injury front, Michael King was sent to Scranton to rehab. Clarke Schmidt returned from his long-time out and was assigned to the Railriders too. Nick Goody was released by the Rochester Redwings and was claimed by the Yankees and he was also eventually sent to Triple-A. Domingo German needed to go on the injured list early in the month. Luis Severino was sent to Double-A (Somerset) and here’s hoping that period of rehab does finally see him begin to bounce back.
On the trade front, it is worth noting that Jason Parker came in from the Cincinnati Reds to finally complete the Luis Cessa trade. He was assigned to the Yankees low-A affiliate, the Tampa Tarpons.