The Yankees’ pitchers are on-the-whole doing amazingly this season. If at this time last year, we would have predicted that Clay Holmes would have signed with the Yankees from Pittsburgh and would have the record that shows in our table below, across a whole calendar month, then you would have been convinced that I was fooling. And I would have never have been that foolish.
Furthermore, after two months we are talking about Nestor Cortes as a possible Cy Young candidate, and yet there are 6 members of the bullpen (Nestor has the best May ERA of the starters) who have ERAs superior to his and some of those are people who you’d expect to be in the relief corps all season long. Strange days indeed.
Let’s see who’s leading the way:
* indicates left-handed pitcher. No * indicates right-handed pitcher.
|Clay Holmes RP||3||0||0.00||12||0||7||0||4||14.0||8||0||0||0||15||0.57|
|Ron Marinaccio RP||0||0||0.00||3||0||1||0||0||3.1||0||0||0||2||5||0.60|
|David McKay RP||0||0||0.00||2||0||2||0||0||2.0||1||0||0||2||1||1.50|
|Clarke Schmidt SP/RP||2||0||0.00||4||0||2||0||0||6.2||3||1||0||0||3||0.45|
|JP Sears* SP/RP||1||0||0.00||1||1||0||0||0||5.0||3||0||0||2||5||1.00|
|Chad Green RP||0||0||1.59||5||0||2||0||1||5.2||3||1||1||1||8||0.71|
|Nestor Cortes* SP||3||1||1.95||5||5||0||0||0||32.1||18||7||7||9||33||0.84|
|Jameson Taillon SP||4||0||2.01||5||5||0||0||0||31.1||24||7||7||3||22||0.86|
|Wandy Peralta* RP||1||0||2.08||7||0||4||0||0||8.2||8||2||2||1||6||1.04|
|Gerrit Cole SP||2||1||3.21||5||5||0||0||0||33.2||27||12||12||5||45||0.95|
|Jordan Montgomery* SP||1||0||3.24||6||6||0||0||0||33.1||31||12||12||4||26||1.05|
|Luis Severino SP||1||1||3.41||5||5||0||0||0||29.0||23||12||11||7||32||1.03|
|Miguel Castro RP||0||0||4.26||9||0||0||0||0||6.1||7||4||3||2||8||1.42|
|Michael King RP||0||1||5.06||9||0||2||0||0||16.0||15||9||9||3||18||1.13|
|Lucas Luetge* LP||0||2||7.20||8||0||2||0||0||5.0||8||5||4||1||5||1.80|
|Jonathan Loaisiga RP||1||1||8.22||8||0||0||0||0||7.2||8||7||7||5||9||1.70|
|Luis Gil SP||0||0||9.00||1||1||0||0||0||4.0||5||4||4||2||5||1.75|
|Aroldis Chapman* RP||0||2||9.53||7||0||6||0||4||5.2||11||6||6||4||4||2.65|
The previously mentioned Nestor Cortes is difficult to match amongst the Yankees starters. Indeed, he is not only excelling himself in comparison to his fellow Yankees, but also in comparison to any other starter in the game. His WHIP of 0.84 on the calendar combines with 3 wins and an ERA under 2 to show just how well he is doing. There will no doubt be batters who will become more accustomed to his ways by season’s end, but is performance so far has been quite wonderful to behold.
The Yankees other 4 regular starters all weighed-in with ERAs below 3.50 and all contributed 5 or 6 starts. By some distance, the second most accomplished this month was Jameson Taillon. He delivered a 2.01 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP. It is noticeable that his figures are not that different from Nestor’s (indeed, he has more wins on the month with 4), but he has gained far less column inches in the New York press, perhaps because his achievements seem far less a fairytale. We shouldn’t give him faint praise however, we must acknowledge how well he has bounced back from his injuries.
Gerrit Cole has achieved two wins, but a lack of run suppport at times has meant that he has had to depend on the Yankees’ stellar bullpen to deliver up other wins. He is yet another Yankees pitcher with a WHIP below 1.00 and his form in May was far better than the way he began the 2022 season.
Jordan Montgomery and Luis Severino had very similar months, although Montgomery had an extra start and Severino took a loss away from one of his games. WHIP statistics of 1.05 and 1.03 respectively show how well this Yankees’ ship is sailing when you can get to the 4th and 5th best starting pitching performances in the May days and encounter figures of this kind. The 5 regular starters achieved a total of 11 wins, only 3 losses, and 12 no decisions over the games that they featured in. Oustanding – and would have been even better if some of the starting line-up would have achieved more at the plate.
With the Yankees cramming 28 games into the calendar month, it is not surprising that they were inclined to bring in two spot starters to lighten the load on the aforementioned regular pitchers. The starts in question though would have very different outcomes. First came the very inconsistent Luis Gil on the 12th of the month. He lasted 4 innings, allowing 7 runners to make base (5 hits, 2 walks). This resulted in 4 runs and consequently a 9.00 ERA. JP Sears, by contrast, managed to contribute 5 innings for no runs. He did, however, allow 5 runnners to make base and he was facing the cellar-dwellers who had come into town from Baltimore. Final note on Sears is that he appeared in two games in April as a reliever without give up runs and the two games in which he faced the Orioles, one as a reliever in April and this one as a starter on the 25th of this month, have both resulted in Wins being credited to his name. Sears looks to have a brighter future in the Bronx than Gil.
As already mentioned, the big relief surprise this year is Clay Holmes. He was good in the second half of the season last year when he joined the Yankees from the Pittsburgh Pirates, but we didn’t expect what we are seeing now. In May, he gave up 8 hits and no walks across 14 innings in 12 appearances. In addition when Aroldis Chapman went onto the injured list on the 24th with tendonitis in his left achilles, Holmes stepped into the closer’s role without hesitation and with no sign that the increased pressure was affecting him negatively.
Chapman, Jonathan Loaisiga and Chad Green were three of the relievers who were expected to lead the line for the Yankees this year. Each of them got off to a bad start to the season and then suffered significant injuries in the final third of May which meant that they were not going to be available for a significant time. Indeed, Chad Green’s right elbow strain proved to be something that would need to be corrected by surgery and he will miss the rest of this season and possibly all of next. Loaisiga has inflammation in his right shoulder. Green had seemed to be much improved in May following a difficult start to the season. Chapman, who had been conceding more walks than usual in April, then began to concede a strangely high number of hits with 11 over 5 and 2/3 innings and Loaisiga was a pale shadow of the pitcher he had been in 2021. Chapman appeared in 7 games in May and gave up a WHIP of 2.65. Nobody likes to see a pitcher injured, but there is a good argument for keeping Holmes in the closer’s role when Chapman returns.
Wandy Peralta had a good month, producing a win and a 2.08 ERA with a WHIP just in excess of 1. Otherwise, it was the relievers that were called up from the minors who carried a good amount of the burden. Ron Marinaccio (3 games), David McKay (2), and Clarke Schmidt (4) all produced ERAs of zero and kept the Yankees’ wagon-train roling.
Others amongst the regular faces struggled. Michael King was great when he was good – no runs conceded in 3 innings on two occasions (on the 4 and the 17th in games where he faced Toronto and Baltimore) – but pretty lousy when he couldn’t get his stuff together (3 runs in 2/3 innings in another outing against Baltimore). Lucas Luetge was a surprise when he made the roster in 2021. It might not be that much of a surprise if he is released in 2022. It is primarily the fact that he is a left-handed reliever which is helping stick around at the moment. His 7.20 ERA and nearly 2 walks or hits per innings pitched, is not something that anybody else wants to emulate. Miguel Castro is a little better than the last two mentioned but not by a wide margin.