CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, and Phil Hughes, with Freddy Garcia coming off a strong 2011 and Andy Pettitte waiting in the wings. Now flip the page to today, and the Yankees have a front three in Sabathia, who isn’t in his usual grove yet, Nova, who has been strong, but still has to prove himself, and Kuroda, who’s been erratic, though it’s just a four start sample for him. Now, the back two, Hughes and Garcia, have been dreadful. They’ve combined to go 1-4 in seven starts with an 8.67 ERA and a 5.71 FIP*.
With all that said, it seems as though it’d be OK to panic, but fear not. We know CC will get on a roll. That’s pretty much inevitable. The Yankees do need Nova and Kuroda to pitch like number 2 and 3 starters, respectively, and I’m confident they can. Yes, the Yankees did bring Kuroda in to be a number two starter, but if he can pitch like a quality number three starter, the Yankees should be good to go. Then there’s Pettitte, who we all want to pitch well, but nothing’s certain. I don’t doubt him, but I’m not going to get my hopes up too much. If he can pitch like a number four starter, the Yankees should be fine. In the early going, the starters have compiled the fifth fewest innings (99.0), third worst ERA (5.73), and fourth worst FIP (4.45) in the American League. With the talent the Yankees possess in the rotation, it’s safe to say that these rotation failures are unsustainable.
Ok, I’ve been talking about the starting rotation this whole time though it takes a TEAM to win the World Series. The Yankees have an awesome bullpen, that’s pretty much a fact. They have the greatest closer ever in Mariano Rivera, two set-up men in David Robertson and Rafael Soriano who could close for the majority of teams, as well as guys like Boone Logan and Cory Wade who are definitely capable of setting up for most teams. You also have guys like Clay Rapada and David Phelps who each have had their share of bright spots in the early going. And finally, Hughes and/or Garcia will go to the bullpen sometime in the near future with Pettitte returning. In total, the Yankees have the third best ERA (2.31) and second best FIP (3.19) in the AL out of the ‘pen, though they’ve pitched the fifth most innings (62.1).
As well as having a great bullpen, the Yankees have an explosive offense. They may or may not be the best offense in baseball, but they’re certainly right there. Derek Jeter has been out of his mind to start the season with the bat and Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, Raul Ibanez, and Nick Swisher have gotten off to solid starts, while guys like Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, Russell Martin, and Andruw Jones are still trying to find their stride. The eventual return of Brett Gardner will certainly help, too. In total, the Yankees have scored the second most runs (100) in the AL while sporting a 126 wRC+*, tied with Texas for best in the AL. Oh, and they have the fourth highest batting average with RISP at .277. Raise your hand if you knew that ….Thought so.
The Pineda surgery definitely hurts the Yankees, there’s no denying that. But that doesn’t mean the team can’t win it all without him. This team is still stacked and full of depth in just about every category. Fortunately, the Yankees have an easy schedule for the next two and a half weeks following the series against the Tigers, so if they get on a roll maybe it’ll lift everyone’s spirits. We’ll have to wait and see, but I’m very confident in this team and you should feel the same.
- You can read more about FIP and wRC+ by clicking on the BYB Sabermetrics terms page on the left-hand side of the page, or by clicking HERE.
--Jesse Schindler, BYB Lead Staff Writer
Follow me on Twitter @SchindlerJesse
ORDER A BYB SHIRT NOW, DROB WEARS ONE! Also, Please comment, we have DISQUS, it's easier than ever. Let me know what you think and follow me on Twitter @BleednYankeeBlu and join the group Bleeding Yankee Blue on Facebook, just type it in.