Did you know that 90 percent of an iceberg is actually below the surface of the water, making it much larger than it seems? You think you’re coming up to a potentially small problem, but it has a much bigger, potentially dangerous, problem underneath.
Beginning last Sunday, the New York Yankees starting pitching staff started heading right for one.
As Aaron Boone took the long trek to the Fenway mound to remove yet another starting pitcher before reaching even five innings, the Red Sox had pummeled Masahiro Tanaka for 12 earned runs, capping off what has been a historic stretch for the Yankees starting rotation.
And not in a good way.
Yankees starters have allowed over 40 runs over their last five games.
According to Elias Sports, that is the most runs allowed in a five-game span within a season since the 2008 Rangers. The last time the Yankees allowed such a stretch?
July 4-9, 1912.
You read that correctly.
1912. The year of the Titanic. The year … of an iceberg. One that scraped the side of a massive ship, sinking it, taking only two hours and 40 minutes to do so. It’s currently taking the Yankees’ rotation six days.
Before this historic blow-up, believe it or not, the starting pitching for the Yankees was one of the top-end rotations in the league in the month of July. According to YES Network’s Booth Statistician, James Smyth, they were 10th in MLB in ERA, posting a 2.88 ERA, .244 BAA, and 14 home runs allowed in the first fourteen games of this month. So Cashman had some leverage, mainly, not seeming desperate.
But things change quickly in baseball. The “iceberg straight ahead” this staff was heading toward has finally been hit, and after last night, and over the course of the last six games, the Yankees jumped from 10th to 17th in MLB in ERA, with a whopping 15.59 ERA, .395 BAA, and allowing thirteen home runs.
Now that the entire league is seeing the Yankee rotation break down, or rather, sink, desperation may be the only leverage Cashman has. All a General Manager has to say if he claims they’re not in need?
I can only imagine the look on Cashman’s face as Boone took the ball from Tanaka in only the fourth inning on Thursday, his fingers probably burning from the number of texts and calls he was making to find a starter, any starter, that could give him more than five innings in a start.
Five dreadful days of runs.
Five days until the trade deadline.
And if it were up to Yankee fans, five starters Cashman must replace. The problem is he may have trouble finding even one, and he’s running out of time. On top of the wishlist would have been a tried and true veteran who can win us two games in a playoff series, but as the deadline looms close, teams like San Francisco are getting red hot, eyeing October, and effectively ending the trade talks for Madison Bumgarner. And Max Scherzer? The Nationals have zero intentions of ending that relationship. In fact, they’re heading straight for October if they keep up their winning ways.
Will the Yankees push hard now for Marcus Stroman, who’s ERA after his last start has dropped to 2.96 (FIP 3.52)? He seems to be the most realistic option, but the Rays (now with Blake Snell needing surgery), the Astros, Braves, even the Red Sox, depending on how the rest of this series goes, among others, could all be vying for him. Simply put, it won’t be an easy task. Simply put, the “realistic” options out there, as the 31st inches closer, could be anything but.
Perhaps that’s what Cashman does — throws the gauntlet at a team like the Blue Jays and picks up a mid to top of the rotation guy like Stroman who has a little, not a lot, of postseason experience and hopes for the best. Or, they go after a Mike Minor or Matthew Boyd, whose asking prices could leave the farm empty.
Lastly, they could try to boost the bullpen even more, like adding Ken Giles (in hopes he continues his all-star season rather than one having him punch himself in the face) and hoping Dellin Betances makes his way back healthy for the playoff stretch. This would allow the starters to be who they are, giving five innings or less, and letting the pen, and offense, do the rest. If so, they’d need plenty of arms out there, so the pen isn’t fried by October.
Whatever Cashman tries to do, I’m sure he’s had his wishlist, but unfortunately, at this point, he may need to throw his wishlist out the window. Cashman just needs fresh arms, ones that can give him innings, and soon.
So, Yankee fans, what does Cashman do? Give us your best guess, and tell us which pitcher in the rotation you’d replace first. Because, at least over the last six games, you could really choose any one of them.
The Yankees starters have now hit the iceberg, and this ship is sinking fast.