Monday, May 28, 2018

In defense of Yankee pitching

Let's start with Dellin. My memory isn't what it used to be, but I remember one or two key Yankee relievers from years back who consistently got themselves into jams before they got out of them. (Sparky comes to mind.) Regardless, I know there is precedent for the heart-in-throat reliever who almost blows the game but doesn't. It's not as efficient and calming as an appearance by Mo, but if Betances can get guys out and put a 0 on the board, he's doing fine--regardless of how harrowing it may feel. Same with Chapman.

On another pitching front, Tanaka is really good. Really. He's not Severino or Verlander or your-selection-here, but he does have a fair number of games where he's as good as anybody. Plus, he's only 29 years old. (Something about his demeanor always makes me think he's pushing 35.) He's 6-2 so far this year, and 58-30 in his time with the Yankees. That ain't bad, especially since he had a very off year in 2017. (Good showing in the playoffs, though.) Do we really think we have somebody better at Scranton? I don't. And I doubt anyone we can trade for is going to be better--probably not as good.

Which is just a long way of saying that we have two, count 'em, two starters at this point in time. A healthy Monty can still fill the five slot. Imperfectly, but that's who you put in the five slot. CC is on his final lap now, but he did turn in a brilliant skein of performances this year. He just might have enough left in the tank to do that again.

Then there's Sonny. As Boone and Kay and Suzyn and every Gammonite on ESPN will tell you, the Yankees need Sonny Gray to be the pitcher they thought they were getting. The problem with that is, he may not be that pitcher. He may be this pitcher. Worse, he may be Ivan Nova.

D-Rob, sadly, doesn't seem to be D-Rob anymore. It would help if he could turn it around. And whither Warren? But on the flip side, Holder doesn't seem to suck like he used to. Shreve has definitely improved from his early days in the pen. Green is still solid. Kahnle is just alright with me. Kahnle is just alright...oh, yeahhhh...

Put it all together, though, and somehow we're one game back with a team ERA of 3.87, fourth in the league. Would it be great if we had Houston's 2.61? You bet it would. Do I have a really good feeling about our pitching staff? Not particularly. But they can be and have been surprisingly good, and some of the pieces are not quite as terrible as they seem when viewed through the prism of expected Yankee perfection. We don't need 14 or 15 of them clogging up roster spots, though. That's just stupid. And if you make a dodgy in-game decision or two to boost Gray's morale, what message does carrying a million relievers send to all of the starters? There's a confidence boost for ya.

But then, we don't need Stanton, either. And Gardy and Didi are running out of time. Because the holes that do exist in the pitching staff have to be papered over by a frighteningly scary offense, or we aren't going to go 33-16 over the next 49 games. And that's the thing about this team. As good as it can be, it's not fully formed. Maybe that happens next year. I don't think we have the horsepower quite yet to grab a ring. We might, but right now, too many moving parts seem too rickety. And while the batting order looks to be ahead of the pitching staff at this point, it's not as far ahead as it's touted to be.

3.87 just isn't that bad. I'll take it for now, and hope the baling wire holds until everyone is healthy again.

11 comments:

HoraceClarke66 said...

I think that's a pretty good analysis, Duque.

Despite my bourbon-infused tirades, this is a good, maybe even a near-great team.

It still needs to be tweaked, though, and I don't really trust Coops as a tweaker.

Other Yankees sites are full of interesting possible pitching solutions—Kelvin Herrera, Tyson Ross—but I'm very suspicious of the cost, and would rather wait until they're free agents.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Oops, my bad! I meant, John M.

It is a tribute to your work that I was thinking it was of Duque quality. Also, it is a tribute to jet lag.

Vampifella said...

We always hear about Chance and Sheffield, but I'm wondering if they'll bring up Josh Rogers this year. He's been zooming though the Yanks farm system and they could really use him.

Then again, I was really hyped for Dietrich Enns last year and then he got traded and sucked as bad as everyone said he was. I'm assuming it's the same for Rogers as no one ever mentions him as a prospect that they are looking forward to seeing.

Either way, I would prefer if the Yanks would try from within rather than giving up the farm for sloppy seconds pitching that wouldn't do any better than bringing our rookies up.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Very true, Vamp. Though Zack Littell, the other "will never make it" in that deal seems to have righted his ship and is pitching very well at Triple-A.

Sometimes, you have to just trust the performance!

Anonymous said...

NICE WRITE UP JOHN M.....

MY TAKE ON OUR PITCHING IS....

OUR PITCHING WAS GOOD ENOUGH LAST YEAR, AND IT IS THE SAME STAFF THIS YEAR.

EXCEPT FOR 1 GUY....

JORDAN MONTGOMERY.

SOMEHOW HE MAKES OUR ROTATION MUCH MORE SOLID THAN IT LOOKS.

HE IS NOT GREAT, BUT HE IS VERY, VERY GOOD AT KEEPING US IN THE GAME AND RARELY GETS BLOWN OUT EARLY (I CAN REMEMBER 1 OR 2 EARLY BLOWOUTS, THAT'S IT).

HE QUIETLY WAS THE GLUE THAT STABILIZED OUR ROTATION.

I THINK OUR STAFF IS GOOD ENOUGH IF HE IS IN IT.

WITHOUT HIM, WE WILL NEED 1 MORE SOLID STARTER.

I RATHER LIVE WITH MONTGOMERY, THAN TRADE OUR RICHES FOR COLE HAMELS.

DON'T GET ME WRONG, I WOULD TAKE HAMELS, BUT NOT FOR WHAT COOP WILL GET RAPED FOR.

PRAY WE GET A HEALTHY MONTGOMERY BACK THIS SEASON.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Very much agree, ALL-CAPS.

The Ghost of Yankees Past said...

Madison Bumgarner

TheWinWarblist said...

If only ...

TheWinWarblist said...

Not sure what kind of JuJu you're spinning here, but have you checked the score?

TheWinWarblist said...

Germán is a kid. He will be fine. It's frustrating waiting for him to mature. And also Verlander should get a wretched crop of peri-anal warts.

Anonymous said...

BUMGARNER IS THE GUY....

GHOST IS RIGHT....

....BUT WILL HE BE AVAILABLE?

THAT IS THE GUY I WOULD TRADE SOME OF OUR RICHES FOR...(NOT HAMELS).