Inconsistent starting pitching has been a major factor plaguing the New York Yankees all year long.
Four wins in a row, a potential sweep of a division nemesis, and a mark of two games above .500 for the first time since April 12. The current state of the New York Yankees provides a pure case of cautious optimism.
With that said, what do the developments entail? Is this simply a team ready to deceive fans once more?
A direct answer is that they probably will, but certainly without intention. With a 2016 season resembling a rocking chair, coming away with reasonable projections for the team has been an absurdly difficult task.
Simply put, there is one factor which has the ability to separate the Yankees from the rest of the pack. A jolt from mediocrity to relevance would come as a direct result of consistency in this area.
That factor is a starting rotation, which has proven to be a parallel with overall success.
Sure, question marks surround the five men who comprise the starting staff. Sure, immense talent does sit deep within each and every individual.
The current home stand — particularly the four wins — is a direct testament to that.
Following an expected stellar performance from ace Masahiro Tanaka against Boston, a questionable trio has silenced a powerful Baltimore Orioles lineup which ranks first in the league in home runs (142) and second in slugging (.460).
Limiting the lineups of the Red Sox and Orioles to a combined three runs in four games demonstrates already existing competency. Furthermore, it displays an epidemic which has kept the Yankees from achieving their ultimate 2016 goals.
If you want direct proof, flashback to May when the Yanks had won six consecutive games to pull even at .500. The starting staff combined to surrender seven runs total in the six games. While the surge provided hope, the optimism was immediately dismissed.
Proceeding to lose three of four thereafter, 12 runs were permitted by the starters while putting the offense in unfavorable situations.
It takes common knowledge to know that stellar starting pitching translated to stellar play in major league baseball. Pertaining to the Yankees, they have not found a mix or a nice common ground. Either blazing hot or shivering cold can describe the trend of the group.
Perhaps it is time they did find that common ground. With unique capabilities possessed by each starter, locating a middle range in performance and putting that forth every fifth day would be vital.
The offense has become more circular and the bullpen remains dynamic, but steady table setters are essential in order to string together a wealth of success rather than a week of inadequate shock.
When classifying dominance and steadiness, ‘quality’ starts are the true need if lasting success is the name of the game. Not only do they put the offense in a position to succeed, but they set the table for the three-headed monster as well. Moreover, they relieve stress off a starting rotation needing so many aspects to go ‘right’.
Thus far a 4.76 ERA has represented a mediocre to below average set of arms. That is not to say this will not change. A recent string of brilliance should not be expected, but a dive into respectability should be.
The eventual constant nature of the starting staff can lead the Yankees to tremendous heights. Certainly one of the downfalls of a poor first half, an uprise may turn the Bronx Bombers into contenders rather than pretenders.