It has been another tough year for the New York Yankees’ pitching staff. Injuries and inconsistent pitching have plagued the Bronx Bombers in the pitching department. Not to say pitching has been the major problem for this year’s team. I think many fans would agree when I say the bats have been far from potent. Run support has been scarce in many games this season. However, this does not excuse the pitching woes for the Yanks. Mainly though, it has been “bad luck”. Just face the facts. C.C. Sabathia has not pitched since the beginning of the year. Hiroki Kuroda has not been the number two starter the Yankees hoped he would be this season. Masahiro Tanaka was dominating until his elbow problems, which seemed were caused by his work load being too high. Michael Pineda looked like he was back on the right track until his injury set him back. Ivan Nova showed promise to take over a bigger role in the rotation at the beginning of the year, but soon faced injury problems of his own. Finally, “the unknowns” as I call them, have been good replacements, but every time they take the mound fans are a little on edge. I’m talking about guys such as Brandon McCarthy, David Phelps, Chase Whitley, and Shane Greene.
That being said, what can the Yankees do to change their bad luck in the pitching department? Well, pitching coach Larry Rothschild has a suggestion. Rothschild believes a six-man pitching rotation might be the solution. Sorry what was that? Yes, that number is correct. Not a four or five-man rotation, a six-man rotation. That would entail that each pitcher would make approximately one start per week. This makes perfect sense. This system would save top arms such as Tanaka, Pineda, Sabathia, or Nova for the late run in September and October. A six-man rotation would definitely take the stress off of those guys. Not only would this save their arms for the late season, it would also save their arms from injury. Less stress means less of a chance of elbow/arm problems such as elbow inflammation or the famous Tommy John surgery.
However, there are risks to this theory of a six-man rotation. First, you need pitchers to buy into the system. Guys like C.C. or Tanaka have that ace mentality and want to be out their at least twice a week. Convincing them might be tough. Second, the bullpen becomes thinner. Usually, as a contending team, you want a deep bullpen, but this system would take away that philosophy. However, starting pitchers with extra rest would hopefully be able to go later in games which would almost eliminate this bullpen issue.
The fact of the matter is, you need a solid amount of starting pitchers in order for this ideal system to work. You also need a select number of relievers who are consistent. The Yankees are in the perfect position to test this system now. With Tanaka hopefully coming back soon and an aging Hiroki Kuroda out on the mound, why not give the system a shot? Who knows, maybe it could work out for the Bronx Bombers in not just the long run, but the short run as well.