This New York Yankees team certainly has its imperfections in many areas but one stands out as being the most frustrating.
There are a ton of reasons why the 2016 New York Yankees find themselves 7.5 games out of the American League East and 5.5 games out of a Wild Card spot.
Hitting is unquestionably one of them.
Overall their offensive production – runs scored – sits 21st in all of Major League Baseball while they rank 20th in home runs, 24th in OPS, 20th in runs scored per game, and their average with runners in scoring position ranks second-to-last across the sport.
So when you declare the offense as one of the major sources of trouble to this unsettled season, you’re not wrong, but the most disappointing sources of underachievement by this Yankees’ team has been the woes of the starting rotation.
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Throughout spring training there was an awareness around the club that the starting pitchers would carry this team to an easy playoff berth if they remained healthy.
And that thought process was flawlessly warranted.
Entering this season Nathan Eovaldi was anticipated to build off his torrid second half of 2015 in which he went 5-1 with a 3.67 ERA but he found himself out of the rotation and into the bullpen by the All-Star break after maintaining a putrid 5.54 ERA in 16 starts.
Michael Pineda finished in the top ten in the American League in the categories of strikeout to walk ratio and strikeouts per nine innings along with showing signs of being an ace. The righty also had an 11.9 % swing and miss rate, which was good for fifth-best in the AL as well.
However, despite the growth that was expected in Big Mike, he has given up 15 home runs while his ERA is the fifth-highest among starters with at least 90 innings under their belt.
Even the Yankees’ young phenom, Luis Severino, was expected to have a big year. Scratch that. He was supposed to take over as the ace of this team following a commanding 11 big-league starts last year in which he finished 2015 with a 5-3 record along with a 2.89 ERA.
From April 15 to May 13, however, Severino’s record stood at a disheartening 0-5 with a terrestrial ERA of 7.80 while allowing the opposition to sustain a .928 OPS. That resulted in a demotion and it appears as though the Yankees have no plans on bringing him back to the Bronx anytime soon.
Masahiro Tanaka has been solid and his 6-2 record with a 3.23 ERA certainly back that up but his figures on regular rest (5.33) in correlation to an extra day’s rest (1.05) are assuredly troublesome.
CC Sabathia has turned back the clock to help anchor this mediocre staff early with a 3.77 ERA through 15 starts but the big lefty owns an 8.22 ERA in his last four starts including four home runs and 30 hits surrendered in just 23 innings of work.
But why is it more disappointing than the sometimes non-existent offense? Easily because they have made it difficult to get to the big three of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, and Aroldis Chapman at the back end of the bullpen.
Also because the starting rotation has remained healthy with the exception of a short triceps issue for Severino.
Just remember, this was supposed to be a rotation that general manager Brian Cashman stated “can match up with anybody” when healthy.
Here they stand, though. Beginning the second half of the season with a healthy, unproductive starting rotation after expecting nothing but sheer dominance from a healthy unit.