The New York Yankees lack consistency largely due to their starting pitching underperforming in favorable circumstances.
Perhaps one of the more simply understood jobs in baseball, a starting pitcher for the New York Yankees contains some general guidelines.
Giving the team six quality innings at a consistent rate will keep you in business. The super ‘pen that follows in the seventh, eighth, and ninth immediately relieves pressure regarding length. There is absolutely no outside force telling the Yankee starting pitchers that eight or nine innings per start are expected.
In fact, the lone reason the organization did not bolster the starting rotation was the belief that a historic bullpen could make up for it. However, some level of decency is needed and aside from a stretch in the month of May the staff has been a liability all year long.
A 23-31 record, a 4.70 ERA, and an average of 5.2 innings simply will not cut it if the club looks to get back to the postseason. Although the ERA ranks 19th in baseball, that is not the alarming aspect. The average length delivered, however, is alarming.
Let’s face it. Starting pitchers on the Yankees are padded by tremendous insurance. Not only is the bullpen there to back them up, but the standard was set so low from the get-go that relatively poor starts are considered acceptable.
The names tell the story. Nathan Eovaldi, Ivan Nova, and Michael Pineda are all as inconsistent as they come. Moreover, Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia have taken the consistent route yet are still smothered with question marks.
If a Yankee starter goes 5.2 innings and surrenders three earned runs, which amounts to a 4.76 ERA, they are applauded. With that said, a low-caliber earned run average has become a staple.
At times, the organization will take poor start after poor start after poor start from Nova, Pineda, and Eovaldi in stride with no further expectations in sight. Simply put: inconsistent arms yield inconsistent results.
When their arms are performing to their fullest potential, it is a sight to see. Six dominant innings are followed by the hammer and the Yankees ultimately come out victorious more often than not. When the potential is not turned into a positive output, the hammer simply awaits as the offense has to play from behind.
It is always interesting to speculate how dynamic the team would be with a more formidable staff, particularly in the final two slots.
Tanaka evidently is not the problem. Constantly giving length, even in his worst outings, he provides an ace-like stature that the team starves for once every five days.
The same goes with Sabathia. Through his revitalization, he has been able to build up stamina and therefore be effective later into games. A true team guy, if he is to get hit around he will stay out on the mound as long as management dictates in order to eat up the innings.
Now comes the slippery slope. Nathan Eovaldi will be electric at times, but rarely will he give you seven or eight innings. When he struggles, which has been frequent, he is never long for a game. The 26-year-old creates the true frustration that comes with missed potential and the inability to hand a game over without implosion.
Despite an improvement last night, Ivan Nova scratches heads in the opposite direction. Opponents slash an absurd .355/.412/.806 when the Yanks try to extend him between 76 and 100 pitches. He is normally dynamite until he is about to hand it over to the formula and then proceeds to falter directly prior to that point.
How about Michael Pineda? Well, an inconsistent rotation would not be complete without his mysterious talent. His dominance of late demands a strong love from fans, but do not think too fast. It is a matter of time before the guy who ranked last in baseball with a 6.92 ERA entering June flares up once again.
Three out of the five guys that are run out every fifth day have some sort of inconsistency attached to them. They all bring serious upside along with them, but it is only shown in bunches.
Every other team in baseball requires both quality and quantity. In other words, no other team in baseball has a bullpen as exceptional as the Bombers.
The Yankees only require quality for a brief period of time. Not receiving that at a constant rate just shows the subpar nature of a rotation that has been let off the hook for the majority of 2016.
The team purely needs improvement in that area in order to contend, or the constant battle with .500 will ensue for the remaining months of an erratic campaign.