New York Yankees: With Opportunity Knocking, Chad Green Answers With Gem
Adam Hunger, USATSI

With the New York Yankees’ starting rotation being the glaring weak spot, 25-year old Chad Green showed that he can become a dangerous force.

This week will forever be known as “rookie week,” as yet another New York Yankees‘ youngster demonstrated utter dominance in an immense spot.

Green, another fresh Yankee coming out of the farm, hurled six innings of shutout baseball, didn’t allow his first hit until the fifth, and permitted just two Blue Jays’ hitters to reach base en route to New York’s fifth win in six games in front of a crowd of 36,015.

The righty became just the second rookie in franchise history to record at least 11 strikeouts with no runs or walks granted in a game. The last one to do so was Stan Bahnsen who accomplished the feat back in 1968.

The more impressive aspect of his gem on Monday night was that he was a polar opposite from the pitcher that took the mound on August 3 against the Mets in a game in which he surrendered three runs, 12 baserunners, and a demotion to Triple-A.

Why did it look so different you ask? Because unlike most young starters in the system – like Luis Severino – Green enhances his secondary pitches when a demotion is handed to him, a necessary adjustment if one strives to be authoritative in the show.

Additionally, his game was being called by Gary Sanchez, the man who caught most of Green’s 94.2 innings in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season.

“You have to give a lot of credit to Gary,” Green, who maintained a 1.52 ERA across 16 Triple-A starts this year, told Newsday. “The comfort level I have with him, because I’ve thrown to him a lot this year, I thought that was big.”

“We loved his arm. That’s why we traded for him.” -Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi via Newsday

Speaking of “big,” big-time performances from their starters is exactly what the Bombers need at this moment in time.

The Yankees, who have matched their season total for the most games(four) over the .500 mark, are just 4.5 games out of a playoff spot and while their offense has seen a spark in youthful talent, it’s time the rotation steps it up as well.

In the last two weeks, Yankee starters have the sixth-worst ERA (5.50) in the American League while giving up 13 home runs in the last ten decisions and are holding back the youngsters’ eagerness to finish the regular season 12 wins away from title number 28.

The team – which can realistically make a run at a postseason spot – will go as far as their rotation takes them and Green can help bring stability to a unit on life support.

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In rare fashion, a starter in one of the most inconsistent rotation’s in baseball bailed out an offense that went 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position and left 14 runners on base but a team is as good as tomorrow’s next starting pitcher, and Michael Pineda must answer the call.

Big Mike, despite owning a 5.07 ERA on the year, is 4-4 with a 3.81 ERA in his last 13 starts with 93 strikeouts and handled the Blue Jays rather easily back on April 13 in Toronto by allowing a mere two runs in five innings of work.

Notwithstanding the importance of Pineda’s start tonight, Green has a chance to do what Luis Severino was able to do a year ago but failed to do here in 2016. And that’s to take control of the rotation as an elite young hurler.

Sevy, who has given up 65 hits and ten home runs in just 51.1 innings of his sophomore season, just doesn’t match up with Green in terms of their arsenals.

Green’s fastball topped out at 96 miles an hour – including his final pitch being a 95-MPH fastball to strikeout Josh Donaldson – last night, his slider embarrassed Toronto’s lineup, and with the impeccable mix of his cutter and changeup in his back pocket, it’s hard not to expect dominance.

In fact, his stuff jumps off the page as a starter ready to take a rotation over. Severino’s fastball, which tops at 99-MPH, iffy slider, and developing – yet mediocre – changeup slaps you in the face as a pitcher destined to be a reliever.

The point is, Green has all the tools to spark this team to a playoff spot like Severino’s 5-3 record did in 2015. Additionally, he has a better chance to develop into something magnificent thanks to the pitches that Sanchez calls from behind the dish.

For yesterday’s start, Green was recalled for the fifth time this season. Something tells me that after Monday night, it will be the last time he is recalled since the Yankees hopelessly need him if they want to avoid missing the playoffs for the third time in four years.

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