Yankees: Which starter not named Luis Severino can be trusted the most?

CC Sabathia (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
CC Sabathia (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

Heading into the second half of the season the Yankees still have a lot of questions surrounding their starting rotation outside of their ace Luis Severino. They need to make a trade, but if they don’t who can be trusted the most?

On paper, the Yankees rotation falls very short in comparison to the other top contenders in the AL. The Astros have the best rotation in the game, the Indians have multiple All-Stars, and even the Red Sox edge the Yankees starting staff from top to bottom.

It’s not that the Yankees rotation is bad because, for the most part, it’s the same group that brought them to within a game from making it to the World Series a season ago. However, the odds of them doing so again this October with the same starting four is highly unlikely which is why a trade needs to be made as soon as possible.

That being said, the pitcher Yankee fans probably trust the most outside of Sevy has to be Masahiro Tanaka or CC Sabathia. There’s just no way at this point in the season that anyone can feel confident about either Sonny Gray or Domingo German getting a postseason start. And until the Yankees make another trade or possibly call up someone like Justus Sheffield one of these two would have to start a game if the Yankees made it to the ALCS.

The rookie German has a bright future and has shown flashes of excellence since replacing Jordan Montgomery in the rotation, but he’s been very inconsistent. The veteran Gray has mostly been bad and has really disappointed since coming to New York during last year’s trade deadline.

CC or Tanaka?

As much as I don’t trust Gray and German every fifth day I do feel confident when CC or Tanaka takes the mound. Even though the Yankees rotation lacks the firepower the other top rotations in the AL have they can still deliver a shutdown performance against anyone when they bring their A game. We saw both of them do just that all throughout the postseason run in 2017.

Despite last year’s success, there are concerns with both pitchers about injury woes and their propensity for giving up home runs. Both have already been on the DL this season and combined they gave up 32 home runs during the first half of the season. With CC you always worry about his knee issues from the past catching up to him in the twilight of his career and Tanaka just came off the DL after straining both hamstrings over a month ago. He’s also been pitching with a partial tear in his elbow since 2014.

So far this season CC has been the better pitcher, but Tanaka is coming off a solid start in Cleveland before the break while CC is coming off two straight shaky outings.

Sabathia: 6-4, 3.51 ERA, 77 K’s, 100 IP, 1.27 WHIP, .251 BAA, 14 HR

Tanaka: 7-2, 4.54 ERA, 83 K’s, 83.1 IP, 1.13 WHIP, .230 BAA, 18 HR

From here on out both are going to play huge roles in where the Yankees finish in the division and in the playoffs. However, between the two the guy I’d trust the most outside of Sevy is Tanaka. That’s no knock against CC because the Yankees should feel very confident with him on the mound in a big game, but unlike Tanaka, he doesn’t have the makeup anymore to be an ace and dominate deep into a game.

More from Yankees News

CC can shut down any lineup but rarely will he go more than five or six innings especially in the playoffs. Tanaka can still go deep into games when he gets into a groove and at this point in his career, he just has better pure stuff than CC does.

All the home runs are frustrating to watch and he’s more inconsistent than CC, but I still think he has the potential to be a solid number two option behind Severino in a playoff rotation.

His performance last postseason has a lot to do with that, but also because of the time he had to rest his arm when he was on the DL for a month. That could benefit him in the second half because his workload up to his point hasn’t been very heavy which bodes well for a pitcher like him.

Next: The NL Central ace the Yankees could trade for

We’ve seen Tanaka thrive when he gets that extra day of rest between starts so the time off on the DL could lead to him feeling stronger down the stretch of this season. If that’s the case than Tanaka could really be a difference maker from here on out and be the guy Aaron Boone can trust the most every fifth day behind Luis Severino.