Wednesday, March 24, 2021

It will be a while before Yankee pitching defines itself

Corey Kluber pitched a "Meh,"
And Yankee haters all said "Heh!" 

Okay, shoot me, but this is what the real madness of March does to peace of mind. In each outing, players redefine their entire spring. Yesterday, it was "Comeback Corey" Kluber, who'd looked so impressive thus far - a veritable Travolta for career-reviving appearances - and then... Battlefield Earth.

Now and then, you see a box score like this, and it hits you that the Yankees' No. 2 pitcher - who turns 35 on April 10 - has thrown just 36 innings over the last two years, and that at any time, in any situation, he might call out the trainer, wiggle his arm, march to the dugout and announce plans to be a fulltime dad. 

Want to know the grim reality of the 2021 Yankees? It's mirrors, reflecting mirrors. Look at them one way, and you see a team that should win the AL East by 10 games. Turn your head, and you see them battling Baltimore for last place. 

And it's all because of pitching. 

Yesterday's Exhibit A: Kluber, whose velocity is said to be down a tick from the glory days, three years ago. Yesterday, against the mediocre Tigers, he played rope-a-dope for nearly four innings - yielding three walks and three hits, but no runs. It's the kind of start that keeps you in the game but devastates your bullpen for the series. The Yankees can probably live with Kluber throwing five-inning starts. But if he can't survive the fourth, that's Travolta in Two of a Kind, the 1983 fantasy comeback pairing with Olivia Newton John, in which he plays an angel sent to save humankind, and frankly, shouldn't.   

Of course, every game is nothing more than a mess of meaninglessness... that is, until it's not. Kluber used to be one of the game's great workhorses: For five straight seasons, he threw more than 200 innings. Now, he needs bubble-wrap, and the Yankees must heat him up slowly, like the frog in the boiler. 

But no matter how he pitches, the reality cannot change: He is one tweak from disaster. That's the gamble the Yankees chose to take. In for a penny...

PS: Mike Tauchman gets two hits yesterday, raising his spring average to .269. I cannot help but believe he brings a higher ceiling than Jay Bruce. But we'll see. They are, after all, the Yankees...




6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, if Jay Bruce doesn't make it, he can always get a job at a Walmart SuperCenter...they should have a high ceiling!

JM said...

The 2021 Yankees are built on a a wing and a prayer. Actually, several wings that could go doi-i-in-n-ng in the night and leave us with Cole and Montgomery as our starting rotation.

We jettisoned Tanaka's questionable yet never surgically altered arm for questionable yet surgically altered arms that haven't pitched in a long time and may never reclaim their former prowess, or even close. But hey, what a great financial deal.

Between the Porcelain Giants, Hicks, Sanchez, Gleyber playing short, and too much of the pitching staff, rooting for the Yankees this year will be like going on a date with Hannibal Lecter.

You might have a great dinner, but be very, very careful with that goodnight kiss.

ranger_lp said...

How many more chances Nick Goody is going to get? He is just awful...

HoraceClarke66 said...

Well put, JM!

And no, we can't survive with Kluber never throwing more than five innings. Looking at you, Jared Wright, and what you did to our pen even when you won!

ranger_lp said...

If I were Kluber or Cole, I'd be concerned...

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/31127060/mlb-memo-warns-teams-crackdown-use-foreign-substances-baseballs

Alphonso said...

Tauchman can pitch as well as play all three outfield positions. He gets my vote. I don't like ex Mets anyway.