The team with the best record in baseball has some major issues as the calendar approaches September. The Yankees remain atop the American League East, leading the Rays by one game. They do, however, have some issues and I’ve noticed many fans becoming concerned.
While they have a right and reasons to be concerned, it’s not quite time to panic just yet. It’s not one area that causes concern either. It's multiple areas.
Starting pitching has been up and down of late. Ace CC Sabathia has really been the only consistent performer. A.J. Burnett, expected to be the number two starter this season, has been inconsistent to say the least. The righty had a very good start to the season before it all seemed to fall apart.
Recently the Yankees felt they had gotten Burnett back to normal. Then he delivered a bad performance last night against the Seattle Mariners. The Yankees will need Burnett down the stretch.
Phil Hughes has been a dependable starter all season. The problem comes when the Yankees limit his innings. The team has not announced an official plan for Hughes but it seems more and more likely they will limit him to somewhere around 170 regular season innings.
Javier Vazquez is another pitcher that has been very inconsistent. After a horrific start to the season, Vazquez has been much better. If he can figure out a way to keep the team in the game each and every time he steps on the mound, the Yankees will be much better off.
Andy Pettitte remains out with a groin injury. Originally he was expected to be back with the team right around this time, but he has since suffered a setback.The veteran lefty is an integral part of the Yankees rotation.
In Pettitte’s absence, Dustin Moseley has filled in nicely. While having an ERA over 4.00, Moseley has kept the Yankees in most of the games he has started. He allowed the Yankees to stay pat at the trade deadline instead of trading a key piece for another starter.
With Pettitte still out, Hughes being limited, and Vazquez and Burnett being inconsistent, the Yankees still may need some help. Sure they have Sergio Mitre who could be used in a spot start to give some guys rest, but I don’t think the Yankees want to try that again.
There are some reports that Ivan Nova will be promoted from Triple-A, most likely when rosters expand September 1st. Nova, the Yankees top pitching prospect at Scranton, will be used in spot starts to give the rotation some rest.
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