Right around 3 weeks ago the Yankees’ starting rotation looked to be interesting for a number of reasons. In true baseball fashion, a lot of things have changed in that time and now the rotation is set up to be interesting for a lot of the wrong reasons. Phil Hughes had a miserable start against the Rangers last night, lasting just 2 2/3 before being tagged for 4 runs. And it wasn’t a case of bad luck and the ball simply finding holes – Hughes got hit hard, including a home run to Adrian Beltre in the 3rd inning. For those keeping track at home, Hughes’ line through four starts is now 16.0 IP, 24 H, 14 ER, 6 BB, 17 K, with a whopping 7.88 ERA. So far that’s not a strong case for a rotation spot or a long relief spot when Andy Pettitte joins the team.
Speaking of Andy, his less than stellar start with Trenton yesterday and the fact that Michael Pineda will miss the entire 2012 season with a torn labrum are joining Hughes’ early struggles to form a trifecta of new-found starting rotation unpredictability. Even David Phelps, who has caused a lot of ink to be spilled over whether or not he should take Freddy Garcia’s spot in the rotation, has struggled of late. Phelps has allowed 3 earned runs in each of his last two relief appearances, giving up 11 hits and 4 BB in the same span. As far as struggles go, when it rains it pours for a good portion of the Yankees’ pitching staff.
And since this post has been all doom and gloom so far, here’s a high note to end on: Derek Jeter continues to tear it up at the plate and is now hitting a cool .420. Yep, you read that correctly. Old Man Jeter, who just last season was declared a has-been by a fickle New York (and national) sports media, is looking unstoppable at the plate. Granted, we’re only 18 games into the season, but that Jeterian swing is looking far better than even my eternally-optimistic self could have hoped for.