With a lot of uncertainty surrounding the starting rotation in New York through the first month of regular season play, it seems as though the top two starters, C.C. Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda, have at least turned it around with solid performances in their most recent starts, providing back-to-back wins for the team.
Last night, Kuroda gave the Yankees another good outing on the mound, as the Bombers held onto a 2-1 lead, good enough for Kuroda’s second win on the year. He went 7.0 innings and gave up just four hits in the victory. When the righty was acquired from LA this offseason, Kuroda was set in the second spot of the rotation, with heavy expectations to shut down opponents. But after a shaky start to the year, concerns were raised regarding whether or not he could handle the big stage. In two of his first three starts, Kuroda looked unstable as batters were locked in and he gave up a total of 18 hits, 10 earned runs, and three homers as he went on to lose those two games.
As of late though, Kuroda has looked to be more poised on the mound and has erased some of that doubt as he’s kept opposing lineups in check during his last two outings. Going into the later innings of these games, he gave up just nine hits and three earned runs total. The scores were tight however, and kept plenty of pressure on Kuroda to pitch well as he didn’t have much run support behind him, but did his job and kept the Yanks close. If he can continue this trend of holding down opposing batters, the lineup behind him will surely break out and come to his aid for more big wins in the future.
Workhorse, C.C. Sabathia, has also been on a roll, providing a win for the club in three consecutive starts. This is a big turnaround for the Yankee ace, after posting horrid numbers in his first two starts, which both resulted in a no-decision for Sabathia. These numbers have steadily declined though in his last three victories, as his workload increased, making it through at least 7.0 innings in each of those starts with a more limited hit count and lowered ERA. With a 3-0 record now, the improvement is a welcome sign for the Yankee clubhouse, as their number-one pitcher will be heavily relied on for consistent, similar outings throughout the year.
The Yankees are currently trying to fill the gaps in the rest of the questionable rotation and are making changes accordingly until the staff is settled. This week manager, Joe Girardi, announced that the struggling Freddy Garcia would be moved to the bullpen, to be replaced by the promising young reliever, David Phelps. The Yanks have looked to their farm team for help too, calling up right-handed pitcher, D.J. Mitchell, from the AAA ranks this week. New York is also awaiting Andy Pettitte’s arrival to the staff, who came out of retirement this offseason to rejoin his former club. Pettitte still has a few more minor league starts until he’s ready to return, but his arrival in the Bronx is highly anticipated as the Yankees attempt to establish their identity in the starting rotation. In the meantime, they will continue to count on Sabathia and Kuroda for dominaant outings on the mound.