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Copyright © 2017-2019 by NYY Sports Talk, LLC - Bronx, NY

A review of the Yankees' pitching troubles

June 24, 2019

 

As I am writing this I am on a flight from Laguardia back home to sunny Detroit.  Came in to town for a great wedding of an awesome friend. Congrats to Corey and Natalie.  All the best in life.    

 

While waiting to board the Yankees were getting pounded by the Astros 9-3.  If that score holds up this will see the Bombers 8 game winning streak come to an end. (update 9-4 was the final)  With Tampa’s win in Oakland the Yankee’s lead in the division shrunk to 4.5 games. The concern with this game is the continued inconsistent pitching of JA Happ, especially in the Bronx.  Happ will drop to 4-4 at home with an era of 6.29. Happ continues to get bit by the homerun bug. He allowed 3 today including Tyler White’s grand slam and has allowed 20 on the season in his 16 starts (13 at home).  Baseball today revolves around the homerun, but 20 is way too many.

 

Happ has shown an inability to limit damage when he doesn’t have his top stuff.  My concern is Ol Larry R has shown he is incapable of getting pitchers straightened out once they start to really struggle in his tenure as Yankee pitching coach.  So it’s easy to assume he may be unable to help correct Happ’s issues. At this point, it might be time to consider Happ nothing more than a back of the rotation innings eater at this point.  This is problematic considering the kind of money the Yanks paid him to bring him back in free agency during the off-season. (2 years $34 million). 

 

When Domingo German comes back from his hip injury that eliminates the need to use Chad Green as the “opener” Then if/when Luis Severino comes back (hopefully after the All Star Break) who comes out of the rotation?   Paxton, and Tanaka are locks. If German is pitching like he did the 1st 6 weeks of the season upon being healthy you can’t remove him from the rotation until he closes in on that innings limit.  Are the Yankees going to have an awkward conversation with CC Sabathia in his last year about moving to the bullpen? I doubt it.  So if Happ is continuing to throw up clunkers at home a move to the bullpen much like Sonny Gray last year may be the only option.  

 

With the recent highway robbery of the Mariners in getting AL HR leader Edwin Encarnacion, GM Brian Cashman took what was an already stacked team, and made it even better.  The Yankees through this afternoons game have homered in a club record 26 consecutive games. The lineup (now that Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have returned) is an absolute gauntlet.  The roster, however, is not without flaws. Jonathan Holder and his atrocious 5.55 era and Luis Cessa and his equally bad 5.11 ERA continue to be on the ballclub. I am ok to this point with journeyman David Hale being on the team because he has actually been pretty decent so far.  The unfortunate injury to Cameron Maybin yesterday brought back Nestor Cortes Jr (who has shown flashes but is still an unproven youngster). Cashman will have to improve these 4 holes if possible at minimum the 2 large ones occupied by Holder and Cessa on a team with championship aspirations.  The main bullpen guys simply can’t pitch every day. The whole pitching staff is needed to navigate a 162 game season. Having gas cans like Cessa, and Holder with a kid and a journeyman in the back of the bullpen could cost the Yankees a shot at glory in 2019. So these guys have to go ASAP.

 

I am curious to see how this next week goes for Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres.  The pair had homered coming into Sunday’s tilt in 3 consecutive games (both were given Saturday off) which had never happened in Yankee history previously.  NYYST are big supporters of these 2, where I am a bit more skeptical. At the same time, I am not like some of the dopes out there on that says these guys stink, etc.  I just feel that the 2 of them have a tendency to get “big” when they start to hit lots of homers and try to pull everything in an attempt to hit “more” bombs. The talent is there for these 2 guys to hit between .280 to .300. But it will take maturity, and discipline at the plate in learning to take what opposing pitchers give them as opposed to just swinging for the fences.  If they show me that I will be all in with these 2.  

 

As the Yankees are about to win 50 games before the end of June they are linked to all the potential big name starters who may be traded by the July 31st trade deadline.  Despite his huge contract Max Scherzer is the most desirable.  I just don’t feel like 93-year-old Nationals owner Ted Lerner will be willing to give up on this season with the realization that the Nationals are not a contender, and trade his ace.  There has been a lot of talk about Madison Bumgarner. Despite his recent uptick in velocity these last few weeks, I don’t feel like he is the same pitcher that helped San Francisco with all those championships back in the day.  I think Corey Kluber has too much mileage on his arm (and is recovering from a broken bone in his pitching arm). My choice if he can come back from a strange blood condition is Indians righty Carlos Carrasco. Carrasco is under team control for 3 more years after this season ($10 Million per in ’20 and $12 million per in ’21 and ’22). That is phenomenal value for a pitcher of his stature.  This may make Cleveland less inclined to trade him. However Trevor Bauer (who is younger and more durable) than Carrasco in coming up on free agency so it might behoove the Indians to move Carrasco in order to sign Bauer.  This is my hope anyway. Carrasco is a power arm and has pitched in big games. The Indians outfield depth is terrible right now, and they can use a bat like erstwhile slugger Clint Frazier (who was drafted by the Indians and acquired in the Andrew Miller trade) to headline a sweet trade package.  A playoff rotation of a healthy Sevy, Paxton, Carrasco, and Tanaka would be damn near unbeatable in the Yankees quest to win championship # 28.

 

Today's terrible tweet goes to The Yankee Fan @YankeeLiveTweet.  This is the clubhouse leader so far for dumbest baseball take ever so congrats bro. I quote “Giancarlo Stanton is the equivalent of giving Dwayne Johnson a bat, and telling him to swing as hard as he can despite not having any baseball experience”  Have you watched baseball ever? SMH… My dear lord.

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