Digging Deeper into the Rotation

The Yankees’ rotation has been a question mark all year. On this day, it is comprised of once ace in Masahiro Tanaka, two rookies in Luis Cessa and Chad Green, and one member who is crumbling by the day, C. C. Sabathia.

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Staff ace Masahiro Tanaka pumps his fist in the midst of his 7.2 inning shutout of the Angels

Tanaka has been excellent. He has three starts this year where he gave up 6 runs. Take those three out and he has a 2.6 ERA. In his last three starts, Masahiro has three wins and has gone at least 6 frames and struck out at least 6. Tanaka is the Yankees’ bona fide ace. But after him? It gets a bit murky.

Joe Girardi does not pitch his starters in any real specific order, but I’d venture to say Michael Pineda is a #2. On most teams, Michael would be a #3 or in some cases a #4. In 2014 he posted an exceptional 1.89 ERA in 13 starts, but has not shown that dominance-or consistency, for that matter-since then. Let me show you what I mean by inconsistent. Pineda posted a 7.52 ERA in May, but a 2.75 mark the very next month. One could argue that isn’t even his biggest problem, though. He owns a sub-2.7 ERA with none out or one out, but that number spikes up to 10 with two out. However, he has looked better recently. Mike’s last two starts were against two potent offenses in Boston and Toronto. He hurled a quality start in Boston and then pitch 5 scoreless against the Jays before being yanked due to the rain.

It’s hard to believe this next guy was once a CY Young Award Winner. C. C. Sabathia has not looked his old self in a while. Forced to reinvent with lesser velocity, he shocked the world by posting a sparkling 1.04 ERA in May. He followed that up with a solid June and all of a sudden he was actually looking like a reliable starter for the first time in years. From the end of April into early June, C. C. rattled off 7 quality starts in 8 tries. He has not thrown a quality start since then and has allowed 5 or more runs 6 times. In his most recent start, Sabathia allowed 7 in 6 frames to the Jays. However, that very easily could have been three or four runs, but Chase Headley made some questionable (to say the least) plays in the field. Sabathia also struck out 12 in that start. Next year, he will earn $25 million and will probably retire at the end of 2017.

And finally, we have the two rookies. Chad Green had really struggled until recentley, but he has rebounded quite nicely, allowing only 7 hits while striking out 16 in his last two starts. He figures to make a push for a rotation spot next year.

Luis Cessa has made only one big league start. He hurled 6 scoreless frames against the Angels. But he was very solid in Triple-A, posting a 3.03 ERA in more than a dozen starts.

While I would be lying if I told you the Yankees had a bright future at SP, it may not be as bad as you think.

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