The Yankees pitching in June finally settled to a level much closer to what might have been expected when the season began. Add into the mix a few significant injuries and it was not a sweet recipe that was cooking as the month went along.
As we pointed out in our last column, the Yankees are having a steady, productive and successful season so far. The same can be said of their pitching. With the exception of Aroldis Chapman whose struggles led to further medical examination and then to the 10-day disabled list, most everyone is living up to or exceeding expectations. Let’s look in a little more detail:
The Yankees’ pitching rotation, going into the season, looked quite evidently their greatest weakness.
By contrast, their bullpen looked like their greatest strength.
What would happen if the bullpen lived up to its billing and the rotation was more consistent than expected?
That would be April 2017, which is the way that it has worked out in practise!
The New York Yankees’ pitching situation in 2017 is complicated by their failure to sign a new starting pitcher in the off-season.
Last year, they had Nathan Eovaldi and Ivan Nova to add to their supposedly “big three” of Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda. Now Eovaldi is injured and has signed for Tampa should he return to the Major League level and Nova was given away very cheaply to Pittsburgh (where he has performed well). Of the three write-ins, Sabathia is stumbling towards the end of his career and Pineda was hideously inconsistent last season. Tanaka, if he can stay free of injury, is a true ace but this only points up what is the real weakness of the Yankees’ roster.
The Yankees said, as the 2016 season came to an end, that they were targeting pitching for the coming season and that particularly strengthening their bullpen was their big target. As Spring Training approaches, it would seem that they have failed to even come close to meeting either of those two inter-related targets.
The New York Yankees started the season with the best bullpen in baseball. When they gave up expecting to make the playoffs at the trading deadline, they gave up much of what gave them that quality. They stripped the bullpen bare and further weakened a starting rotation which hadn’t look good when the season started. Surprisingly, despite all of this, they didn’t do too badly over the last weeks of the season. On the other hand, they didn’t do too good.
The Yankees had more outgoing pitchers than batters in the trade deadline clear out but there were less new faces on the pitching staff than there were batters with starters, Luis Cessa and Chad Green who had been around on and off since the beginning of year suddenly thrust into the limelight. Let’s see who over-achieved and who under-achieved…