After taking a look at Yankee hitting over two months, it's time to take a look at their pitching staff. The Yankees came into this season acquiring Mariners' rookie starter Michael Pineda and Los Angeles Dodgers' veteran starter Hiroki Kuroda, thinking that they had great depth in their pitching rotation.
However, Pineda is not going to pitch a game this season, and the rest of the pitching staff have been plagued with injuries and other ups and downs throughout the first two months. They displayed some excellent performances, and some not so good performances.
Here is the New York Yankees pitching staff two month report card.
To start at the top, the ace of the Yankees' rotation C.C. Sabathia, has pitched great for the first two months of the season.
Sabathia is posting a solid six and two record, once again proving he's always putting the Yankees in a position to win. He also leads Yankees' starters with 71.1 innings pitched and 69 strikeouts.
His earned run average is a little high at 3.66, and he may have given up a few more home runs than he would like to (nine through ten starts), but Sabathia is the only pitcher who the Yankees can put out every five days and comfortably say that, "we have a chance to win."
The Yankees were hoping that Ivan Nova would be the same reliable guy that he was last season. He does have a six and two record, the same as Sabathia, but it has not been an easy road so far.
Along with his six victories this season, Nova has posted a 5.60 earned run average. Shockingly, the Yankees have been able to bail Nova out on his bad pitching days by out slugging the opponent, as they did yesterday against the Los Angeles Angels.
On top of his inflated ERA, Nova has also given up thirteen home runs in 62.2 innings pitched this year. Hitters have gone .313 against the young Yankee pitcher.
Nova has found a way to win games, and in some of his starts, he has looked great. However, he has also looked streaky, which is unfortunate for the Yankees who are still looking for a solid number two starter to back up Sabathia come October.
Phil Hughes was fighting for a spot in the Yankee rotation this year when spring training rolled around. He looked great—back to the way he was pitching two years ago—and the Yankees thought that that would continue into the season.
However, this has not been the case. Hughes has pitched much like Nova; the only difference is that Nova is winning his games and Hughes is losing his.
Hughes, like Nova, has had some great outings and some awful ones. His 5.64 earned run average reflects his four and five record perfectly.
Hughes also hasn't been able to keep the ball in the park, allowing 12 home runs in 52.2 innings pitched this season. With 1.44 walks and hits per innings pitched, Hughes has been anything but consistent.
A Yankee rotation that was supposed to have great depth this season now has a lot of question marks in it, and Hughes is one of them.
Hiroki Kuroda was brought in to bring some veteran pop to the Yankee rotation. At the start of the season, he was the number two starter behind Sabathia, but up to this point, he certainly has not played like it.
Much like Hughes and Nova, Kuroda has been all over the place. In fact, he was more like a good start bad start pitcher the first two months of this season.
Kuroda was lights out some nights, going eight innings and giving up one or no runs,. Other nights he was tagged for five or six through five innings, which explains Kuroda's "even" record of four and six.
Kuroda has managed to keep his earned run average below four, barely, at 3.96, but that is mainly due to great pitching one day and awful pitching the very next outing.
1.37 walks and hits per innings pitched is not exactly spectacular, especially not for the number two starter in a rotation. The Yankees better hope these flip flopping pitchers start to straighten themselves out, otherwise they are going to be in trouble.
Andy is back, and for the Yankees, he could not have come at a better time. Although he has shown a bit of age, he still looks like the pitcher he was before he left.
Pettitte has a 2-2 record, but he has actually been pitching well. Hitters are hitting only .255 against him, and he has 22 strikeouts and only five walks in 28.1 innings.
What has been killing Pettitte is the long ball. He has already given up six home runs in his four starts, and that is where the majority of the opposing teams runs have been coming from.
If Pettitte keeps the ball in the ballpark he will pitch great this season. Another good arm is just what the Yankees needed, and lucky for them, it is a reliable veteran named Andy Pettitte.
It seems as if age has finally caught up to Freddy Garcia. After a solid season last year, the Yankees resigned Garcia in the hopes that he would be able to pitch well enough to round out their rotation in a similar fashion.
Now, Garcia is in the bullpen and really has not been used much.
Can you blame the Yankees, though? Garcia has no wins this season, and he has an earned run average of 8.22.
Hitters hitting .340 against him, a WHIP of 1.78. Need I say more?
David Phelps came up to fill in for some injuries in the Yankee bullpen. Phelps also started a few games when Garcia wasn’t panning out until Pettitte was ready. In both roles, he looked good.
Phelps has a 2.70 earned run average in 33.1 innings pitched. He looked dominant out of the bullpen as a long reliever, and looked decent out of the starting role as well.
What is most impressive about Phelps is his strikeouts. He has fanned 29 batters while only walking 13.
Phelps is one of the few bright spots in a bullpen year for the Yankees that is filled with injuries.
Clay Rapada was supposed to pair up with Boone Logan in the Yankee bullpen to be able to combat left-handed hitting this season. Unfortunately for the Yankees, Rapada has not exactly pitched very well.
Rapada has a 3.95 earned run average in 13.2 innings this season. He has a WHIP of 1.32, but opponents are only batting .205 against him.
Rapada has done fairly well against left-handed hitters, but that is just about all he can face. If a right-handed batter comes up, Rapada gets hit and hit hard.
He may have a win this season, but Rapada is going to need to get his ERA down if he expects to be put into crunch situations where the Yankees need a lefty out.
Boone Logan, the other left-handed pitcher in the Yankee bullpen, has fared quite well this season. He has said that he wants to be more than just a left-handed specialist, and that he can get out both left-handed and right-handed hitters. He has done just that this year.
Logan has a very solid earned run average of 2.89, and hitters are only hitting .270 against him. He also has 29 strikeouts and only 6 walks in 18.2 innings this year.
Logan is doing very well, and the Yankees are going to need him to be more than just a lefty guy with the way the bullpen is going with its injuries. So far, so good.
With injuries to two key bullpen men already this season, Cory Wade has had to bare a lot of the burden of coming up big for the Yankees. So far, he has done so.
Wade may have an 0-1 record, but he has pitched tremendously for the Yankees given the circumstances of the bullpen. He has and ERA of 2.38, and he has only walked three batters in 23 innings.
Even more impressive are his batters averages against him and his WHIP. Batters are hitting only .189 against him, and his WHIP is well under one at 0.87. Nothing short of spectacular.
If the Yankees are going to be able to weather the storm this year, Cory Wade is going to have to be called on to play just as well as he has so far this year.
If there was a man who needed to pray to God more this year than ever before, it's Rafael Soriano. A bizarre turn of events would have had to occur for Soriano to be the Yankee closer, and that is exactly what happened.
Being the third possible closer for the Yankees this season, a season ending injury to Mariano Rivera and a lingering rib issue for David Robertson, has made Soriano the Yankee closer. So far, Soriano has done well.
He has saved six games for the Yankees so far, notching two wins. His 1.96 ERA is also very impressive.
His WHIP is a little high at 1.53, but hitters are only batting .257 against him. It is not going to be as easy as when Rivera came in, but the Yankees right now can feel comfortable with Soriano closing games out for them.
Larry Rothschild has certainly had some issues to deal with this season with this Yankee pitching staff. The only stable parts are Sabathia and a bullpen that is in shambles.
Sabathia is the only starting pitcher on the Yankees who can be assured to have a decent outing nearly every time on the mound. Pettitte appears that way now that he is back, but with three question marks in Nova (Hughes and Kuroda) it is not exactly a recipe for success.
Starting Pitchers Grade: C+
The bullpen has been through a lot already, and we are not even in June yet. They have seen the great Mariano go down, and their backup Robertson go down as well.
Sure they are holding up now, but how long can that last? Can Wade withstand the extra innings that are being put on him now later in the year? Will Soriano falter as the closer?
These are all questions that fill a Yankee fans mind. Right now, however, you cannot complain with the way the bullpen has been pitching. They have kept the Yankees in games, whether or not the Yankees hit is another story.
Bullpen Grade: A-
By the law of averages, a questionable starting rotation and a stellar bullpen give the Yankees a fairly decent pitching report card. It would be nice to see the starters begin to work themselves out, so that the Yankees can save a bullpen that has already been through so much these past two months.
Overall Grade: B