No doubt the Yankees hitting has been dismal to start the season. And their ability to hit with men in scoring position has been worse than that – abominable in fact. That’s scary enough, but their starting pitchers with the exception of Mashiro Tanaka have been missing in action, and there doesn’t appear to be a light at the end of this dark tunnel.
off season, Brian Cashman (left) and Joe Girardi believed they had a workable plan, albeit with a bit of luck in avoiding injuries. It was a simple plan that only asked for five starters to give the team five plus innings each start. Behind that would be the tandem of Chapman, Betances, and Miller ready to meet the challenges of any hitting lineup in the league and beyond. Chapman, of course, has been serving a suspension and hasn’t pitched yet this season – but that hasn’t really been a factor in the woes of the Yankees.
Yes, they are hanging in there in a division that reeks of mediocrity. And the hot start by the Orioles who have their own pitching problems might be tenuous at best as the season moves along. But still, no team can afford to wait around for a collapse by another team – you have to go out there and get it yourself. And right now, the Yankees are stumbling around while shooting themselves in the foot, in search of answers that don’t exist – at least given the present composition of the team.
To understand that even better, tune in to any Yankee home game telecast and take a look at all those empty prime seats in the lower level. Because more than anything, that tells you the depth of their problems this year…….
In just the first three weeks of the season, the Yankees have already used 15 pitchers and no one has been injured making a call up necessary. It’s been tagged the “Scranton Express ” with pitchers being called up as middle innings relievers to fill the void left by the starting rotation, who either get whacked around or throw 100 pitches in four innings and need to be bailed out. Often that same night, the pitcher is sent down following the game and another fresh (though not always effective) arm is called up.
One of the best ways to judge a pitchers effectiveness is to take a glance at the batting average against them, a stat that doesn’t even take into account walks allowed that can make matters even worse. Ready?…….Severino .352 (above), Sabathia .308, Pineda .316, and Evoldi .292……………you simply can’t pitch and win games like that. Because you’ve constantly have men on base which means that you are constantly pitching in stressful and arm taxing situations……it’s no wonder they can’t throw six halfway decent innings or God forbid seven to give one of the bullpen magicians a day off?
So, you stick with what you’ve got, because there sure isn’t any other starter in the Yankees farm system who can jump in and contribute. Severino, Pineda, and Evoldi all have talent. At times, each has looked invincible. Sabathia, mostly because of age and his inability to learn the art of pitching, not so much. But you can’t have Pineda go out there as he did on Sunday, strike out nine in five innings……but give up four….four! …..home runs over the same span.
Maybe it all stems from what I wrote about the other day – The Mental Side Of Baseball – I don’t know. That’s Cashman and Girardi ‘s job to figure out. All I do know is that this is one Yankee fan who will be tuning in to the Mets and Noah Syndergaard tonight instead of the predictable and (to date) boring Yankees………