With a new season comes a new series here at Yanks Go Yard: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. Every month, we will look at all things good, bad, and absolutely horrific that happens to the Yankees over the course of the previous month. With that said, let’s take a look at the month of April:
The Good: The Starting Rotation
We knew going into the year that the starting rotation would be a strength for the Yankees, but it was hard to predict that they would be this good, either. The rotation (including David Phelps, due to Ivan Nova’s DL stint) pitched to a sparkling 3.66 ERA in the month of April with a 1.32 WHIP over the course of 187 IP. Further, despite the fact that Yankee Stadium is a homer-happy park, the starters only yielded 21 homers, with CC Sabathia (ironically) allowing the most (7). With a K/9 IP rate of 7.65 for 159 strikeouts to only 51 walks the rotation has been nothing but solid, even if the starters’ record was only 13-10 for April. That said, CC seems to be getting back onto track as his velocity has picked up a bit, and Hughes has seriously upped his game from previous seasons. Keep looking for the rotation to be an asset moving forward.
Another good: Travis Hafner. Finally committing to a “full-time” DH has worked for the Yankees, and for Hafner, who has rebounded spectacularly after an injury-plagued final few years with the Indians. The move to the Bronx has proved to be a positive for the lefty, as he went .318/.438/.667 with over a 1.100 OPS in April. Though he has come back down to earth of late, the power numbers are still there (6 HR), which will help the Yankees to make up for runs lost in the offseason, even as they are currently sixth in the league in slugging percentage.
Ivan Nova’s struggles from last season have spilled into this new season. He has been placed on the DL with inflammation in his triceps, but his April numbers were still pretty dreadful: 6.48 ERA, 23 hits in 16.1 IP, and a .345 BAA. He has been pretty solid against lefties, but righties are dominating him: .459/.351/.622, 1.134 OPS. Yikes.
Equally as disappointing in the first month: David Phelps. In 17 IP, he has pitched to an ERA over 5.00, yielding 2 homers and 8 walks. Unlike Nova, Phelps has struggled fairly equal against righties (.295/.354/.477) and lefties (.279/.404/.419), with an OPS around .830 against both batters. Considering Phelps is the go-to option when a member of the rotation goes down, it’d behoove him to step up his game a bit, even if his production is a tick better than Nova.
The Ugly: The Injury Plague
The plague of injuries just seems to the getting worse and worse for the Yankees the longer that the season goes on: Derek Jeter suffers a significant set back (though how much the Yankees would miss Jeter was more closely examined here and here); Francisco Cervelli went on the DL with a fractured wrist; Kevin Youkilis‘ balky back put him on the 15-day DL; Eduardo Nunez has ribcage tightness; and David Robertson has had a hamstring discomfort problem, all in addition to Ivan Nova winding up with sore triceps and landing himself on the DL, as well. The Yankees have done a spectacular job of staying afloat while the injuries have mounted, but now they are even losing depth players, such as Nunez and Youk. With only Jayson Nix and Lyle Overbay as the leading INF back-ups, and no significant catching prospects ready to spell time in the majors outside of Austin Romine, the Yankees must hold their breath that no other injuries will be sustained over the next few weeks, or else those predictions of the ceiling caving in might start to come true.
So, Yankees fans, that was The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for us all here at YGY. What are your nominees?