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Pitching abandons Yankees on west coast trip

As we all know by now, the Yankees west coast swing was a forgettable one. The six-game losing streak was dealt in heartbreaking fashion with walk-off losses, one-run games, and injuries to both the offense and pitching staff.

While the offense provided a decent performance, the pitching staff tanked. After CC Sabathia‘s injury-shortened outing, no pitcher escaped the game without giving up at least four runs. Here’s what starting pitchers did over the streak.

Sabathia – 4IP, 3H, 0ER, 1BB, 4SO (left with injury)
Michael Pineda – 6IP, 10H, 5ER, 1BB, 1SO
Jordan Montgomery – 5.2IP, 7H, 4ER, 1BB, 5SO
Luis Severino – 6IP, 4H, 4ER, 4BB, 6SO
Masahiro Tanaka – 4IP, 8H, 5ER, 1BB, 10SO
Luis Cessa – 4IP, 5H, 4ER, 1BB, 4SO

And remember this was against two teams with mediocre offenses. One has to wonder if the absence of Sabathia, often credited as the glue of the clubhouse and a mentor to pitchers, is having an effect on the staff. Sabathia could remain on the DL with a strained hamstring for a month.

Oh, and the bullpen during the road trip? They had to pitch 22 innings across seven games with poor-to-mixed results. Relief pitchers were credited with three blown saves and four of the six losses. Aroldis Chapman, who worked a scoreless inning yesterday, may be arriving just in time. Over the course of the losing streak, the Yankees saw their team ERA raise from 3.55 to 3.74.

Pitching has most likely overperformed thus far in 2017; it’s due some regression. But the Yankees won’t remain in contention for long if Tanaka can’t straighten himself out and the rest of the staff can’t recover from this stumble.

Should the Yankees be looking at acquiring a starter at the deadline? Tough to say. One argument is to stay the course and move forward with Cashman’s plan for this to be a rebuilding year (though an exciting one) no matter what is happening. The other side would argue trade from a plethora of young talent to remain in contention this year. It’s a tough decision for management. You’d probably trade prospects for a pitcher if it meant winning the division. Would you trade prospects for a rental pitcher to get to the wildcard game? Do you try and trade more for a pitcher with several years of control left?

The hope is this stumble is nothing more than that, a stumble. The Yankees return to the west coast to face Seattle July 20-23 with hopefully better results. But the good news after all of this? The Yankees remain tied for first place in the division and are on their way home.