Among the many questions the Yankees must answer this offseason, New York needs to figure out which pitchers will be in its 2024 starting rotation. Michael King lobbied manager Aaron Boone to get an extended look as a starter over this final stretch of the year. His results have been eye-opening and will certainly give the Yankees something to think about.
King has been especially good over his last three starts. The unfortunate thing, though, is there’s been no reward. And I’m not just talking about King earning a win, or the Yankees even winning. They haven’t even been able to lose a close game recently when King takes the hill.
In each of his last 3 starts, Michael King has struck out at least 40% of the batters he faced while allowing no more than 1 ER yet had his team lose by 5+ runs.
No other pitcher has had 3 such starts over his entire MLB career (since ER became an official stat in 1913).
— OptaSTATS (@OptaSTATS) September 21, 2023
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Now, the predictable retort would be, “Well, King isn’t pitching deep into games, so it’s easier for something like this to happen!”
That’s not totally wrong. King didn’t complete more than five innings in two of these starts. But his most recent outing on Wednesday night was his longest (and best) performance since entering the rotation. Here’s a look at all three:
- Sept. 9th vs. Brewers: 2 runs (1 earned), 4 hits, 1 walk, and 9 strikeouts in 5 innings. The Yankees lost 9-2.
- Sept. 14th vs. Red Sox: 1 run, 6 hits, 1 walk, and 8 strikeouts in 4.2 innings. New York lost 5-0.
- Sept. 20th vs. Blue Jays: 1 run, 5 hits, 0 walks, 13 strikeouts in 7 innings. The Yankees lost 6-1.
It’s just crazy to me that no pitcher since 1913 has had this happen three times in their career. Yet, it happened to King in three straight starts. Baseball, man. There’s always a chance to see something you’ve never seen before.
Obviously, how the Yankees perform when King leaves the game won’t put a damper on his performance as a starter. He’s now racked up 30.1 innings as a starter (seven starts). It’s led to a 1.78 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and 45 strikeouts. That’d definitely play, folks.