With pitchers like Masahiro Tanaka, C.C. Sabathia, and Michael Pineda all on the DL, one might ask how the Yankees are winning games. The current rotation consists of a 39-year-old and 4 other guys who people barely know, so how are the Yankees above .500?
Hiroki Kuroda continues to be a solid pitcher despite his age. Kuroda (7-7, 3.97 ERA) a WHIP of 1.20 and he leads the Yankees with 142.2 IP…as a 39-year old. There is no way a team with a depleted rotation lead by a 39-year old could still be in contention for a playoff spot, one might think, but this Yankee rotation has proven that wrong.
The acquisition of Brandon McCarthy has proved to work out a lot more than expected. He was 3-10 with a 5.01 ERA with Arizona before joining the Yankees. In his first 5 starts as a Yankee, he is 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA. Shane Greene has pitched well enough for the Yankees to somehow win games despite just being a rookie. Chris Capuano has bounced around the league being a part of 3 different teams this season alone, but he has an arm and can get the ball across the plate and that seems to be all the Yankees need right now.
This is not one of the best rotations in baseball or the American League or even the American League East in terms of individual stats, but it doesn’t have to be. The Yankee starting pitchers are doing well enough by keeping the game close and getting to the bullpen while still in the game.
The rotation has done well enough to compete with the Detroit Tigers who arguably have the best rotation in baseball. Joe Girardi seems confident enough in his pitchers to keep games close.
“If you manage them, you feel pretty good every day that your pitcher is going to give you a good opportunity to win,” Giradi told NJ.com.
The past 16 games for the Yankees have been decided by 2 runs or fewer. That shows how the Yankees are hanging on. They aren’t winning every game, but they are winning enough games to stay in the playoff hunt which is the only thing that matters at this point in the season.
Sabathia and Ivan Nova are out for the season, but Tanaka and Pineda are not done yet. Tanaka’s chances of returning this season are slim, but if Pineda is able to return this season, which seems very possible, that could help the Yankees tremendously.
The Yankees are currently 58-54 and are just 6 games behind the first place Orioles, so for now it doesn’t matter who is the rotation. The Yankees are winning and it doesn’t matter what the margin of victory is.