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Yankees need starting rotation to step up

The 6-10 New York Yankees have looked off since Opening Day. While the bullpen has exceeded expectations, their offense has been non-existent, the defense has struggled and the rotation has been underwhelming.

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The offense has taken a lot of heat and rightfully so, but the rotation has not been strong early on as well. Cole has been what we signed up for and Jordan Montgomery has been great as well. But, the rest of the staff has its struggles. Yes, it is a small sample size, but the Yankees have had rotation issues for years and maybe it’s PTSD from previous years, but I don’t like the early signs so far.

Digging Deeper

The biggest pitching issue the team has faced has been getting length out of their starters. Gerrit Cole, Montgomery, and Michael King are the only three pitchers to pitch at least six innings this season. Starters have been running into early trouble and have to be pulled. The rotation as a whole has an ERA- of 118 and a FIP- of 111. Obviously, that includes Cole’s starts, so those numbers would be much worse if you subtract Cole from the equations who has a 45 ERA- and a 26 FIP-. The bullpen has been utilized a lot and they have been the brightest part of this team. The bullpen has the best WHIP and FIP- (0.96 and 70), as well as the 2nd best ERA, ERA- and SIERA in the league (2.43, 60, and 2.70).

The Yankees have had four quality starts this season, three have come from Cole, the other was from Montgomery. The team is 3-1 when they receive a quality start from their starter. Cole has been Cole and Montgomery has been impressive this season, but the rest of the rotation has been hit or miss.

Jameson Taillon pitched five innings for the first time last night, Corey Kluber and Domingo German have only pitched at most four innings. Kluber and Taillon have not pitched a full season since 2018 so this was to be expected early on. They need time to work themselves up more, but they need to step up. German has not pitched since 2019 which could explain his early troubles. He has been optioned, but he will be re-joining the team at the end of the week.

It’s crucial the Yankees get some length from their starters soon. They cannot get through the season relying on the bullpen so heavily asking them to get 4-6 innings three times a week. It will burn out the bullpen over time.

Final Thoughts

The season is still very young and there is no reason to panic about any of the team’s issues yet. The offense should work itself out. It has been a 16 game stretch, if this happened in June, we would not remember it come playoff time.

Taillon pitching 5 innings was a huge positive last night, he has shown better stuff in his past few outings and appears to on the right track. Hopefully Kluber takes the next step as well tonight and puts up 5-6 solid innings.

German will be back with the team on the upcoming road trip. Hopefully, he worked on his stuff and can be a factor again. If not, the Yankees have other options including King who has been sharp in two appearances this season. He pitched 6.0 innings of one hit and one walk ball against Toronto in the opening series. He also posted two strong innings only allowing two hits and zero runs this past weekend against Tampa. Deivi Garcia is another option at the Alternate Site.

What are your thoughts on the rotation? Are you concerned yet? Leave or reply or tweet me @sashalueck