Yankees: Since when is their starting pitching a new problem

Aroldis Chapman Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports
Aroldis Chapman Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports /

The Yankees identified starting pitching as their primary problem area since day one of Spring Training back in February. Everything was fine until the past weekend when all of a sudden it wasn’t fine. Isn’t this being a bit fickle, though?

The Yankees starting pitching is falling apart. The New York Post didn’t expect the rotation to “cave in” like it has. Newsday says that the Yankees starting pitching “looks like the team’s Achilles Heel”. All I say is that this is baseball.

We seem willing to accept the well-worn cliche that says hitting is contagious. And because, as Yogi Berra reminded us so eloquently, baseball is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical, hitters tend to pick up that “edge” of confidence when they see hitters before them crushing the ball against a pitcher.

Why would pitching be any different? It’s the same game, so why can’t Yogi’s axiom apply here as well? The only difference, of course, is that hot bats go from hitter to hitter while hot arms extend from game to game.

And wasn’t it just a couple of weeks ago that the Yankees reeled off eight or nine in a row? And even more recently, six in a row? What was wrong with the starting pitching then?

Now you see it and now you don’t

Pitching, just like hitting, can go south on a moment’s notice. The Yankees received a pretty good spanking courtesy of the Houston Astros over the weekend. And I don’t recall the hitting being anything worth talking about. The pitching, on the other hand, stunk up the joint. That’s baseball.

More from Yanks Go Yard

What goes up must come down. And if anything, the weekend serves as a wake-up call for the Yankees in realizing that there just might be at least one team out there who are better than they are, despite all the accolades the team has received over the last six weeks.

Michael Pineda and Luis Severino were supposed to have “turned the corner” before their last start. Maybe they have, maybe they haven’t. And Jordan Montgomery was expected to step in as the next Andy Pettitte (remember?). And CC Sabathia has only gotten older by days, not years as some are claiming given the results of his last two starts.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, has changed. The rotation is what it is, nothing more and nothing less. At the moment, it’s in a mini-slump. I repeat that’s baseball. Two no-hitters in two successive starts do not make a full season. 25-30 starts do.

And just like the home-run tear by Aaron Judge and Brett Gardner are on, these things don’t last forever over the long haul of a baseball season.

The Yankees are not as good as they were when they were “hot,” and they are not as bad as they looked against the Astros.

Fickleness doesn’t help

Let’s see what Sabathia can do tonight against the Royals, a team the Yankees should beat. Sabathia is a fundamental element in the rotation and an even more important one in the clubhouse. And no one knows that more than he does.

Being fickle about these things like the stories in the Post and Newsday advertise doesn’t help though. And surprisingly, for their writers, who are among the best, to take a stance like they did, it shows, more than anything, a lack of understanding the game of baseball at this level.

One turn through the rotation, good or bad, should not be a big deal. What is a big deal, though, is how they bounce back. We’ll know more by the end of this week. In the meantime, why not let the games be played on the field.

It’s a long season, my friends. And you know that as well as I do.