Early in the season, the Yankees were carried by their strong rotation and were constantly hurt by their poor bullpen. Lately it has been the exact opposite, though.
At one point CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, and Phil Hughes were among the league leaders in wins. Even A.J. Burnett and Javier Vazquez had stretches where they were among the best pitchers on the team. Lately though, only CC has been coming through for the Yankees as Pettitte has landed on the DL, Hughes goes up and down, and AJ and Javy have just been awful.
Looking back at the month of August Sabathia leads the way with a 3.12 ERA and a 5-1 record. Ivan Nova has been hot lately, putting up a 2.45 ERA in a pair of starts. Hughes is right down the middle with a 4.33 ERA and a 3-2 record. Dustin Moseley has done an adequite job of filling in, but at 3-2 and 5.28 the Yankees would absolutely love to have Pettitte back.
Vazquez and Burnett? They’ve been about as bad as starters can get. Over the last month Vazquez is 0-2 with a 7.43 ERA and has been removed from the rotation, at least temporarily. Burnett has actually been worse at 0-4 and 7.80. The only thing saving him is his potential.
Overall the Yankees rotation is good for a 12-11 record and a 5.12 ERA, good for last in the AL. The rotation is in stark contrast to the bullpen which has been the best in the AL with a 2.06 ERA.
How has the bullpen done it? They’ve gotten contributions from everyone including Sergio Mitre, 2.93 ERA, and Chad Gaudin, 3.60 ERA.
The biggest single factor probably has been the addition of Kerry Wood. Wood has pitched in 11 games and has allowed only a single run, good for a 0.71 ERA. It isn’t just the fact that he pitches well on the mound though, he takes a lot of pressure off of the other relievers and allows manager Joe Girardi to lean on them less often.
Just look at David Robertson and Joba Chamberlain since Wood joined the team. Robertson has been amazing, although his last couple of outings have raised his ERA from spectacular to just good, 2.70. Joba Chamberlain has probably been the most effected though, putting up a 2.25 ERA over the last month.
Not to be overlooked is Boone Logan. Logan has been simply outstanding since his latest call-up and over the last month has pitched in more games than anybody in the pen and has managed a 0.00 ERA. You read that right, Logan has been putting up zeros for a straight month.
It’s a good thing the bullpen has managed to turn things around and with the way the rotation has been going it is just in the nick of time. The pitches staff’s overall ERA is 4.09, good for eighth in the AL. If the pen hadn’t managed to pull that ERA down one could only imagine that the Yankees wouldn’t be in first place right now.
Pettitte is due back in about two weeks. At that time things might turn around for the rotation, especially if Nova can continue to pitch well and remain in the rotation. Then in two weeks Moseley’s numbers can be replaced by Andy’s and Burnett would be moved to the fifth spot in the rotation. At that point his clunkers wouldn’t hurt the team as much as they are now as the de facto No. 3.
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