First Half Review: Starting Pitchers


At 51-37, with the third best record in baseball, leading the Wild Card and just three games back in the AL East, the Yankees had a fine first half. Yet it was a tumultuous three months, wrought with streaks and injuries and strange trends, causing mass panic at times among Yankees fans. Over the extended All-Star Break, we’ll go over each position to see what went right, what went wrong, and how things look for the second half. First up: starting pitching.

The expectations

The Yankees went into the 2008-2009 off-season focussed on adding a couple of starters. They got their guys in CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. After protracted negotiations they also brought back Andy Pettitte to anchor the back end of the rotation. Sabathia, Burnett, Wang, Pettitte, and Chamberlain looked as formidable as any rotation in the AL heading into the season. Plus, Phil Hughes waited in the wings as a viable backup plan. Fans could justifiably expect big things from these guys.

The results

The staff wasn’t quite as dominant as we’d hoped, with each starter hitting a rocky path with varying degrees of severity. It led to some ugly results. The Yankees starters have combined for a 4.76 ERA through 88 games, which ranks 12th in the AL, besting only Baltimore and Cleveland. They’ve averaged under six innings per start, which is bad, and lead the AL in walks, which is really bad. It’s safe to say that the rotation has not lived up to expectations so far.

Part of that rests on the shoulders of Chien-Ming Wang, whose first three starts were so historically bad that they skew the numbers of the staff overall. I won’t remove them here, since they did happen. Still, even if we did remove them, the Yanks would still be at or near the top of the league in walks, and still probably wouldn’t be at six innings per start. Wang’s ineffectiveness is no excuse for the whole staff.

There were some bright spots, of course, so we’ll hand out props and boos to each individual starter.

CC Sabathia

Signed as the ace, CC has mostly lived up to expectations. He got off to a rocky start, as seems to be his calling card. He did manage one gem among his April starts, but that was against the pathetic Kansas City Royals. He found his mojo in May, though, coinciding with the return of A-Rod. Since then he’s 7-3 with a 3.43 ERA, throwing 65 percent of his pitches for strikes and holding opposing hitters to a .218 batting average. If he keeps that up through the second half — and over his career this seems to be the case — he’ll continue to be the workhorse ace the Yankees signed him as.

A.J. Burnett

A.J. had his peaks and valleys early on, leading many to continue questioning the signing. Fans were especially vocal after he blew a game against the Red Sox in which the Yanks got out to an early lead against Josh Beckett. A.J. fanned the flames again when he couldn’t get out of the third inning in the repeat trip to Fenway. Since then, Burnett has been the best starter on the staff, going 4-1 with a 1.34 ERA in five starts. This is the Burnett the Yankees signed. Like Sabathia, Burnett has historically had slightly better second half numbers than first half. If he sticks to the trend, the Yanks will be set atop the rotation.

Chien-Ming Wang

It was tough to gauge how effective Chien-Ming Wang would be after suffering a lisfranc injury last June. He seemed fine, but not great, in Spring Training, leaving few worries as the season opened. But then he sputtered in his first start, surrendering seven runs to the Orioles. His next start was so short that the Yankees called on Nick Swisher to pitch an inning when the game was far out of hand. His third start led to the worst drubbing of the year. The Yankees then placed him on the DL, giving him a chance to recover more fully from his injury. Then they rushed him back, and had to put him in the rotation at the expense of Phil Hughes, who had just started to pitch well in that spot.

Wang currently resides on the 15-day DL with a shoulder strain, and the severity of the injury is unclear. He’ll work his way back, but it’s tough for any Yankees fans to have faith in Wanger this year. He’ll have to earn back trust not only from the fans — which is mostly meaningless — but of the front office and coaching staff.

Andy Pettitte

Heading into the season, Pettitte was viewed as the team’s fifth best starter. To this point, he’s mostly pitched like it. He’s had his good starts, and on those days it’s easy to forget his bad starts. But when he’s bad, he takes the team out of the game. Andy likes to blame the new Yankee Stadium for his woes, but his last clunker was on the road. Pettitte is another guy who has historically been better in the second half, but at age 37 one has to wonder whether he can continue that trend this year.

Joba Chamberlain

Yet another Yankee with ups and downs. He got lucky in some of his earlier starts, as he kept the team in the game while not throwing enough innings, not throwing enough strikes, and not throwing his pitches with the conviction we’ve seen in the past. He’s had starts that make us remember how he pitched as a starter last year, ramping up his fastball to that familiar 97 range, but for most of his starts he’s sat much slower on the gun. He’s turned himself into essentially a two-pitch pitcher, throwing either a fastball or a slider 87 percent of the time. He’ll need to work in his curveball and changeup more often to find success. Thankfully, even though he was bombed last time out, his fastball was up in the 94 mph range, which is probably where it should be as a starter.

Phil Hughes

In the second inning of Phil Hughes’s start against Baltimore on May 8, fans hung their heads and groaned, “not this again!” Hughes looked like he did last year, having trouble finding the plate and giving up hit after hit. He struggled through his next few starts before shutting down Texas for eight innings. It looked like he was finding his way, but after a rough subsequent outing against Cleveland the Yankees moved Hughes to the bullpen in favor of Chien-Ming Wang. He’s been lights out since the transition, which is a good sign, but it appears he’ll stay there for now even though the Yankees need another starter. We can only hope Hughes has learned a thing or two out there and that he’ll put it to work when he returns to the rotation next year (though hopefully this year).

Expectations for the second half

With so many pitchers on the staff who have historically pitched better in the second half, it’s tough to not have heightened expectations — especially considering how mediocre they were as a staff in the first half. They might not live up to those expectations, but we’re right to have them. The Yankees rotation has not been as good as advertised, and they’ll absolutely need to be in the second half if the team is to retake the division.

Categories : Pitching


  1. I have seen questions come up about CC’s peripherals, which are the worst they’ve been since 2005.

    What do you guys think? Should we be concerned?

    • V says:

      I’d have to look more into them. How are his peripherals in good starts vs. bad ones? For example, are his stats skewed by his early awful outings, where he couldn’t find the plate?

    • Reggie C. says:

      I looked at his 1st half with Cleveland last season. In essentially the same amount of innings, CC’s numbers are a bit down in the strikeout dept and up in the walk dept. But the WHIP is fine at 1.15. You gotta stay confident that he’ll stay just as solid as he’s been as there are far greater concerns in the rotation.

    • Chris says:

      His FIP is still lower than his ERA, so that suggests he’s not just getting lucky. If he gets hot in the second half, I expect that his peripherals will show an improvement as well.

  2. Double-J says:

    Very pleased with CC and AJ, Pettitte is pretty much either going to have a good or bad start, so at least his mediocrity is consistent…

    Wang has been a huge disappointment for me, he is one of my favorite Yanks, but I don’t know if he’ll ever get back to his old form. Seems like a good thing the Yanks hadn’t signed him to a long-term deal though, in hindsight.

    Joba has something wrong, either mentally, physically, or both. His velocity is down, he lacks his confidence, it’s like you guys said the other day…he has no rhythm on the mound. Really wondering what the Yanks can do to turn him around.

    Hughes has looked awesome out of the ‘pen, hopefully he’s turned the page after his disappointing 2008.

    Aceves is also a pleasant surprise, if only because he’s not expected to be much more than a longman/spot starter.

    • Peter Lacock says:

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Joba other than he’s young and as is typical for his age, stupid. Everyone is stupid when they’re 23 although they think they know everything which is why they’re stupid. Young people in general are inconsistent and have many extreme peaks and valleys. He is no different and he will be this way for a few more years. The only way to avoid this is to trade him and let someone else deal with the headaches and develop him into the star he may become. I’m sure many parents consider this with their own children. Surely his trials and tribulations will affect his confidence in some way but again, this is normal.
      Personally I’m content to live with his ups and downs while building his stamina and hopefully proving his health. That’s the goal this season, stay healthy, throw 150-ish innings.
      Everything else is meaningless.
      Same thing next year ‘cept 180-ish innings.
      If that part works out, then in 2011 it’s time to start watching the results.

      • Double-J says:

        But even RAB has acknowledged there is no real explanation for his drop in velocity. Even if he is just holding back from throwing gasoline to increase his stamina, it just seems as though the attitude and confidence he brought last year has evaporated.

        Believe me, I’m not advocating trading him or that we shouldn’t be having to deal with the headaches of young players (see Zack Greinke, currently, and potentially, Phil Hughes). I’m just wondering, like other RAB readers, if his problems are attributed simply to age or to other factors (probably a healthy dose of both, imho).

  3. Reggie C. says:

    At what point do we write Wang off for the rest of the season? I guess we could assume an early August return, though i havent heard recently of any timetable for his return. If we’re in the thick of things when Wang looks passable against minor league comp., do we really re-insert him in the rotation?

    • Jeffrey says:

      If he can be back by August its probably fine to wait for Wang, any longer and more major move needs to be made. He’s one of my favorite pitchers and its disappointing to see him get hit with another injury just when he seemed to be getting back on track.

      • Peter Lacock says:

        It may best serve everyone for Wang to work towards next season. There’s is no reason he can’t be 100% his old self by then. He’s missed so much time it’ll be hard for him to get to that point this season. With this latest setback he’ll basically be starting his spring over again in August. Others will pick him up and get us thru ’til then. Next spring it’ll be almost like we’re picking up another top FA SP.

  4. Jeffrey says:

    If Wang is out for a long time the Yankees need to get more pitching. That means either trade for a starter or transition Hughes back to the rotation. If Hughes moves back to the rotation then they need to acquire some bullpen help if Melancon and Albaladejo can’t contribute more. In the current bullpen Bruney and Tomko are not getting the job done. Bruney looks lost out there. These flaws in the pitching need to be addressed if this team plans on getting past Boston in the standing and making it to the playoffs.

    • Whozat says:

      They don’t have to pass Boston to get to the playoffs. They need to put Hughes in the rotation, and consider acquiring pen help.

  5. Charlie says:

    For all those promoting Mitre for the 5th starter spot, the guy has a mediocre major league resume. 5.36 career ERA, an ugly K/BB ratio, high WHIP, and he’s only pitched in the national league. Put that kind of pitcher in the AL East, and the results might not be pretty. Hughes should absolutely be in the rotation, and we can only hope that the Yankees management is able to realize this.

    • Thomas says:

      While I want Hughes in the rotation, he needs to be stretched out. The reason people keep suggesting Mitre is that he already is stretched out and many people would just want Mitre to fill in until either Hughes gets stretched out or Wang returns.

      Also, Mitre is a ground ball pitcher, hence the low strikeouts. His ERA has dropped pretty much every season and was 4.65 (which is below average in the NL) in 2007 his only full season of starting (he is a more successful starter than reliever). His ERA/WHIP/BABIP would also probably be lower if he pitched in front of the Yankees’ IF defense compared to the Marlin’s IF defense, which had Jacobs, Uggla, Ramirez, and Cabrera (man, that is bad).

      • Charlie says:

        the he’s not stretched out enough idea is being exaggerated. he started earlier in the year and has only been in the pen for a month. Send him down to scranton, have him throw like 50 pitches or so in a start in a few days, and he’ll be able to come up in time to start when the 5th spot next comes up. if he can only throw 75, fine, aceves can pitch a few innings out of the pen. the yankees are just looking for reasons NOT to start hughes.

      • I’m fine with Mitre taking a few turns in the rotation while we get Hughes ready (and wait for Wang).

        And, if Mitre pitches well during those spot starts, he can go to the pen when Hughes/Wang is ready.

        • Charlie says:

          this would all be a lot easier if the yankees had an idea of when wang will be back. if its a month, then mitre can hold down the fort. but i doubt it’ll be a month. i think he won’t be back till september (just a guess), and in that case, hughes has to be starting.

          • True, but frankly, with Joba struggling too (and still optionable to the minors), I’d rather just get Hughes ready to start. If Wang comes back and is ready to go, both Hughes and Wang can join the starting 5 and Joba can go to Scranton.

            It’s probably moot, though; since Wang’s injured again, this time we can take our time on his DL rehab stint. Give him a solid 3-4 starts in Scranton when he comes off the DL and don’t activate him if his mechanics aren’t ironed out.

            Mitre now, Hughes soon, Wang only if he performs well. That’s the plan. Joba, Hughes, and Mitre are all moveable pieces between the rotation/bullpen/Scranton, so they’re a good threesome for the last two spots in the rotation.

            • Charlie says:

              agreed with most of this, but i’m just not sure the yankees are thinking along with us. i’m legitimately worried that the yanks think that hughes is a reliever and may not move him back into the rotation this season (or even ever, for that matter). Hopefully i’m wrong, but that would really, really suck

              • matthaggs says:

                Yes, because all of this winning with Hughes in the bullpen is getting old.

                • If he’s in the rotation, he stands to give them a better chance to win on days they wouldn’t get to him in the pen in the first place.

                • Bo says:

                  They will not mess with what Hughes is doing right now. Why should they with Bruney not pitching well?

                • Because the rotation is a larger concern, now that Wang is out.

                • Ed says:

                  They will not mess with what Hughes is doing right now. Why should they with Bruney not pitching well?

                  Because Bruney is a guy who only pitches about 3 innings a week. The rotation is short a guy and has two other guys struggling. Those are spots you expect anywhere from 6-15 innings a week out of.

                  6-15 innings >>>> 3 innings

                  If you improve the rotation, it doesn’t matter as much if the bullpen has issues.

                • If you improve the rotation, it doesn’t matter as much if the bullpen has issues.

                  That, and it’s easier and cheaper to add a bullpen arm at the deadline than a starter.

                • Chris says:

                  If he’s in the rotation, he stands to give them a better chance to win on days they wouldn’t get to him in the pen in the first place.

                  While that’s generally true, it’s not certain that overall he would be more valuable as a starter than as a reliever this year (in the future, the answer is certainly as a starter). You can certainly come up with scenarios where he saves more runs for the team this year as a reliever than he would as a starter.

                • matthaggs says:

                  I don’t get it. What has Hughes done as a starter in the Major Leagues that suggests he would be better then Aceves, Mitre, or whoever they plug into that spot?

                  Answer: next to nothing.

                  What has he done as a reliever to suggest he is miles and miles better than anyone else they would replace him with?

                  Answer: everything.

                  Small sample size in both cases and for all pitchers involved, but there are stark differences.

                  Moving him to the rotation robs Peter to pay Paul.

                  Hope Joba turns it around. Use Mitre for a few starts and try to get lucky (a la Small, Chacon, etc), rely on CC and AJ to go 7 strong, and have a lights out bullpen anchored by Mo, Hughes, Aceves and Coke. Anything from Bruney and Marte and the rest would just be gravy.

                  The problem isn’t that Wang went down, the problem is that Aceves was used to replace him, thereby wrecking the best thing about this team for the past 3 weeks – the pen.

                • Moving him to the rotation robs Peter to pay Paul.


                  Moving him to the rotation robs some insignificant bum not worthy of a name to pay Paul.

                  Creating a hole in the rotation to fill one in the bullpen doesn’t make sense. Creating a hole in the bullpen to fill one in the rotation does make sense. Because the fifth starter is way more important than one of the 7 relievers.

                • matthaggs says:

                  Again, what has Hughes done to suggest he will be a better starting pitcher than Mitre or whovever else this season?

                  Potentially yes, he’s a very good starter. But you are all acting like it’s a lock he’ll be far superior to someone else in that role. Based on what major league evidence?

                  He is dynamite in his current role. It’s not luck that the Yanks started winning when he took on a more important role out there. Leave him alone and find a starter someplace else for now. Hughes can start all the games he wants next year.

                • It’s not luck that the Yanks started winning when he took on a more important role out there.

                  Yankees, 2009:
                  April: 29-21 (.545)
                  May: 17- 11 (.607)
                  –Phil Hughes joins the bullpen–
                  June: 15- 11 (.577)
                  July: 7- 5 (.583)

                  Your theory isn’t accurate. We’ve won the most when we had 5 good starters all pitching well.

                • matthaggs says:

                  When did we have five good starters all pitching well?

                  Plus, when Hughes first went to the pen he was Wang’s shadow. When he stopped shadowing Wang and became an actual weapon the Yanks started rattling off wins. I would put this happening at right around Atlanta (June 24). The 24th was the last time he followed Wang into a game. It was 3-0 Braves when he entered, and it was 3-0 when he left two innings later. That weekend he came into a game with a runner on base and the tying run at the plate against the Mets.

                  The way I figure it, the Yanks are strongest with both Aceves and Hughes in the pen. Going by that line of reasoning the last 3 games don’t count because Aceves was not available to pitch. The way the Yanks were hitting, the Friday and/or the Saturday game could have ended differently had Aceves been available.

                  From June 24th to July 9th they were 13-3. Not a coincidence in my opinion.

    • Double-J says:

      Someone called him a potential “stud” in a post about a week ago, and I was like “What?!?!” Thanks for posting his stats. I knew I wasn’t crazy.

      Well, I think so, anyways.

  6. Girardi's got to go says:

    It absolutely baffles me that the Yankees preach starting rotation depth all through the off season and first quarter of the season and then exactly when they need it they decide that a 7th/8th inning guy is more important. With three starters hurt or clearly struggling, its time to tell your 6th man to get ready. Hughes should have been on the first bus to scranton/trenton to stretch out when Wang went down. I chalk it up to Girardi not wanting to mess with some positive momentum in the bullpen. Seems pretty spineless and short sighted to me. If this team isnt within 5 games by Aug 15, I say send Girardi packing.

    • Chris says:

      I am assuming that the reason they didn’t stretch out Hughes is that they don’t want him bouncing between the rotation and bullpen once Wang comes back. I believe (more like hope) that he would have been moved to the rotation if Wang were done for the year.

      • Mike bk says:

        no the reason they didnt is cause girardi doesnt want to have more questions about the pen blowing games late when hughes was so good there and neither girardi or cashman want to tell mo they are taking his bridge away. it is shortsided and wrong.

        • Chris says:

          When did you have a chat with Girardi about this?

          They moved Joba to the rotation after he was great in the bullpen, so why would they suddenly get scared about the media/fans when you change the name of the pitcher?

  7. mryankee says:

    I say the biggest disappointment has been Joba Chamberlainm, absolutely mediocre and his last start was disgraceful. The Angels did nothave Vlad and Torii Hunter in te lineup and he looked like a little leaguer out there, no excuse for couging up the lead. I was going to compre him to Jaret Wright but at least wright when he was 23 threw the balllike he cared. I am sorry I dont know why the hell Girardi won’t get in face or publicly say something to wake Chamberlain up. If this is the best he is going to be put him in the Hallady deal and lets get on with it. If there are better days ahead and I hope there is then its time to teach this kid some humility. I just dont see the Yankees with enough starting pitching to win the W/S. So Cashman better get creative, Lee-Bedrd would be good fits.

  8. Frank says:

    CC and A.J are doing well, but starters 3-5 (however you wish to rank them) remain a major issue due to inconsistency, injury, lack of ability or any combination thereof. How this plays out remains to be seen. I’m also curiuous to see if when the $$ is on the line, if CC can come through against the RS and Angels, 2 teams he has not has success against.

  9. YankeeScribe says:

    If Wang wasn’t on the DL and Pettite wasn’t getting clobbered start after start, I think the Yanks would send Joba to Scranton for a few starts. We don’t know what’s wrong with Joba and I don’t think the Yanks know what’s wrong with him. I don’t think he’s going to be able to fix his problems during the season at the ML level.

  10. ChrisR says:

    We know what we’re going to get out of CC, AJ, and even Pettitte at this point. I’m really sick of Joba, however. I don’t know what the hell is wrong with him, but he needs to get it together ASAP because he’s taxing our bullpen every 5 days. Hopefully Wang can pick up where he left off when he comes back, but I doubt that. He needed to be consistently pitching in order to get back to where he should be. Now, with his shoulder injury, this will almost definitely set him back

  11. mryankee says:

    The problem is he has no conviction or does not seemmotivated to throw the ball. Its a disgrace that he gave up a three run h/r to Kendry Morales and then the audacity to say he had his best stuff. What a joke-this is Jaret Wright 2.0-I mean if he can throw 95-97 in fenway at 22 why not at 23-is he that old? get Hallady in here someone who actually knows what the hell he is doing out there and get Girardi and teh excuse makers out of here

    • get Hallady in here someone who actually knows what the hell he is doing out there and get Girardi and teh excuse makers out of here


    • Charlie says:

      oh god, really??? kendry morales is a pretty good hitter, and he somehow was expecting a first pitch curveball from joba. he was throwing 94 that day, too, which is decent for him this year. good idea, let’s just get halladay in here. Actually, i’ll just call him on his cell right now and see if he can start for the yanks next week. It’s not like we’d have to empty our farm system to get him, or anything. lets just get him in here for kei igawa + shelley duncan!!1!!

      • Let’s get something straight — and I’m not talking to you specifically Charlie — but 94 is good for Joba. Not just for this year. But in general. He was throwing 95, 96 last year and got hurt. A.J. Burnett came over and shared stories about throwing that hard and being constantly injured. So it makes sense for Joba to dial it down in order to not travel the same path as Burnett and many others.

        He doesn’t need to throw it through a wall. He needs to have more confidence in his curveball and continue to throw his changeup. As far as I can tell, Joba’s pitch selection has been a far bigger issue this year than his stuff.

      • mryankee says:

        Tell me how did John Lester and Josh Beckett do last timeout(I say Josh Beckett because we were told Joba is our Josh Beckett) At some point result do matter-and if you cant see the velocity drop and the lack of bite on the slider then you dont want to see or are just blind.

        • Charlie says:

          i’m not going to tell you how they did, because joba chamberlain is not josh beckett or jon lester. josh beckett is a veteran, and i don’t know who told you joba was just like him. joba can, and might be as good if not better than beckett someday, but now he is a 23 year old pitcher in his first full season as a ML starter. the velocity was fine in his last outing… you shouldn’t expect 98 from him regularly as a starter.

          • mryankee says:

            I believe it was Hank Steinbrenner who stated that Joba is our Josh Beckett. I do admit Hank is not a brilliant baseball man but its pretty disappointing when your owner sees the ability and the pitcher does not realize it. So fine Beckett is a veteran. How old is Tim Lincecum? and maybe Clayton Kershaw? Josh Johnson? they dont seem to be having these issues?

            • Charlie says:

              Hank Steinbrenner is an idiot. he got a-rod a fucking 10 year contract. Lincecum is special, you shouldn’t even mention him. And also he’s been in the league for a few years. Clayton Kershaw is 21, started last year in the bigs, and has and will have more issues. Johnson is like 26 and he’s not a first year starter either. Bottom line: Joba is Joba, not lincecum or josh johnson, and you shouldn’t be comparing him to them. He’ll be a great starter in the future and all young pitchers have these issues at some point in their careers.

            • How old is Tim Lincecum? and maybe Clayton Kershaw? Josh Johnson? they dont seem to be having these issues?

              Lincecum is 25. Kershaw’s 21. Johnson’s 25. So, two of them are older, and thus, further along than Joba. Only Kershaw is younger.

              Here’s the real question, though: If Lincecum, Kershaw, and Johnson were currently struggling to pitch well consistently like Joba is now, would the Giants, Dodgers, or Marlins give up on them? Would they include them in a deal for Roy Halladay?

              Of course they wouldn’t. Because they’re great young pitchers who are more valuable than a 32 year old starter approaching free agency.

            • A.D. says:

              Kershaw had issues last year, to the point they sent him back down & he had league average numbers last year (as of right now Joba is still above that this year).

              Johnson blew out his arm, which results aside, is an issue.

        • Tell me how did John Lester and Josh Beckett do last timeout(I say Josh Beckett because we were told Joba is our Josh Beckett)

          Josh Beckett did great last time out. He’s also 29. Joba’s 23.

          At some point result do matter

          Results always matter. The issue is, young pitchers don’t usually deliver good results. That doesn’t mean you should bail on them. You have to be patient with them. Being patient means you’re going to get some bad results in the short term. In the long term, it’s worth it.

          and if you cant see the velocity drop and the lack of bite on the slider then you dont want to see or are just blind.

          I saw excellent velocity and nasty bite on his slider against the Angels. His problem isn’t his stuff, it’s the consistency of his stuff and his plan to attack hitters. Right now, it’s crappy. This is what happens with young starters.

          In the long term, it’s worth it.

  12. matthaggs says:

    With regard to some of the starters, and especially CC, it would be nice if they figured out a way to work with Posada. I’m surprised Girardi caves in to his pitchers as much as he does. He had Jorge catch a day game after a night game in Minnesota just so Joba could throw to Molina on Friday night in Anaheim.

    It’s annoying, esp when CC is matched up against the opponent’s 1st or 2nd best pitcher, as is often the case.

    Put a picture of Posada up on the bulletin board, and write “This is your starting catcher. Deal with it.” underneath.

  13. YankeeScribe says:

    Didn’t Joba hook up with Alyssa Milano?

    Other pitchers who have had problems after banging Milano are Barry Zito, Carl Pavano, and Brad Penny. Coincidence?

    • A.D. says:

      Might be onto something here.

    • Brad Penny doesn’t belong in that group. He’s one of the best pitchers in the league, and if the Sox ever decided to move him, he’d net a Justin Smoak type bat in return.

      For Diamond Cutters, I’m Peter Gammons, ESPN.

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

        …and Casey Kelly is not good, he’s GREAT!!! I have a friend who’s a scout for the Dodgers, and he says that Casey Kelly is the greatest pitcher that he has ever witnessed, and HE signed Sandy Koufax AND Pedro Martinez. Kelly’s fast ball is anywhere from 92-98, even though he only choose to show the 91mph one in the Futures Game. His curve has so much spin, that it literally catches bats on fire. Of course that bat first has to make contact with the ball.

        For Diamond Cutters, I’m Peter McDrool, ESPN

  14. Simon B. says:

    It’s interesting how disappointing the pitching staff has been while pleasantly surprising the offense has performed. Yankee Stadium is certain to factor into this at least a little.

    I was really thinking this would be the best pitching staff in baseball at the start of the season. Oh well.

  15. JeffG says:

    Justin Duchscherer – that would be a nice pickup. Washburn?

    I worry about Wang not coming back strong enough and fast enough this year. I do have a lot of overall confidence in him but if Pettitte and Joba keep faultering (hopefully they won’t) it makes it harder to hold his place with our AAA fill ins. I like Hughes in that spot but it leaves our pen with a hole in it.

    As we learned from last year having three fifth type starters is not the way to win. Especially in our division.
    If we trade for a legit starter we could always stick Wang in the Pen – God knows we could use some more help there.

    • Zach says:

      Justin Duchscherer has exactly 0 IP this season and is on the 60 day DL after elbow surgery. So no that would not be a nice pick up

      • JeffG says:

        Ah – that would not be a nice pick-up would it? …my bad looked at Cot’s free agents 2010 and then looked at the last numbers he posted thinking it was this year. Hell of a 2008

        • Zach says:

          he had a great year. but hes also a prime example of why you dont have a guy be a reliever for 5 years then put him in the rotation. Wellemeyer is also one of those relievers who had a great year as a starter, then he comes back to earth

  16. Bo says:

    Joba should be in the pen. hes a natural reliever. Its obvious to anyone who has actually watched him in the 2 roles. its not even worthy of debate. All the starter people have to go on his “patience and time” and one start in Fenway last yr.

    His stuff and presence and results are much, much better as a reliever. Let him go where hes dominant. Not where he stinks.

  17. Little Bill says:

    CC- He’s fine.

    AJ- Great signing.

    Joba- He’ll be fine.

    Andy- He’s old and washed up.

    Hughes- Should be a starter.

    Wang- Should be in the pen until next season.

  18. Paul says:

    You all talk about streching Hughes out, Jaba’s pitch count and all that other tech suff. Look a Bob feller’s 1946 numbers after 4 years of war: 371 inings/348 strike outs/ERA 2.13/26 wins. What happen to pitchers like that?

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

      And what happened to his career after that?

    • He also had to walk 5 miles to school each day, uphill, in the snow, both ways.

      • Paul says:

        I am 64 so I guess I am old fashion but if you look at stats from the 40′s and 50′s the pitchers had some longevity. Maybe they were just trying to make a living.

        • It’s just a different era. Nothing more than that.

          Pitchers pitched more and players played more because the game valued them less, since they were more economically fungible.

          • Chris says:

            There is more than that.

            The biggest problem is that you forget all of the pitchers that blew out their arms after 1-2 great seasons. Are there pitchers today that could handle a severe workload like that? Absolutely. But there are far more that can handle a lighter workload. The only way to tell between the two is to overwork them and see who breaks down.

    • Jeffrey says:

      Its a case of the pitching philosophy changing. To me teams, managers and front offices baby pitchers too much. I’m sick of pitch counts to be honest. They need to let a pitcher pitch until he says he is done or starts to get hit consecutively in some cases.

      • Zach says:

        ‘They need to let a pitcher pitch until he says he is done’

        stupidest plan ever. what pitcher/athlete wants to come out of a game? wasnt that the problem with ARod this year? Kept telling Girardi he was fine, and obviously he needed rest.

      • Its a case of the pitching philosophy changing.

        It’s probably a greater case of the economics of the game changing. Cleveland could afford to pitch Feller until his arm fell off because in the pre-Curt Flood/Andy Messersmith era, players didn’t make all that much and new players were easily obtained. There wasn’t a massive financial outlay at stake, either directly (like CC) or via opportunity cost (like how much cheaper Joba and Hughes will be over the next 10 years vs. replacement starters signed through free agency.)

        Think about it this way: Joba and Phil Hughes staying healthy and slowly progressing into quality big league starters reduces our likelihood of having to sign a Carl Pavano or a Jaret Wright.

        • toad says:

          Cleveland could afford to pitch Feller until his arm fell off because in the pre-Curt Flood/Andy Messersmith era, players didn’t make all that much and new players were easily obtained.

          Well, they didn’t make all that much, but so what? Their value to the club was their performance, not their paycheck. Would you blow out CC’s arm if he were making the minimum? Plus, players were tied to the team for their whole career. Silly to overuse them. And by the way, there weren’t a lot of Bob Feller’s lying around waiting to be “easily obtained.”

          Nowadays, at least with FA pitchers, you only have them, usually, for a few years. If a guy is gone after three years, or is in his last year, it’s more tempting to blow him out than if you know he’s with you forever.

      • A.D. says:

        This was effectively done with Scott Procter, he is now having arm surgery.

    • Glen L says:

      “what happened to pitchers like that?”

      they’re all dead

    • Chris says:

      What happen to pitchers like that?

      99% of them blew out their arms and are no longer in baseball.

    • Zach says:

      26 wins in 48 games (14+ more starts then guys get nowadays)
      ’20 game seasons’ are meaningless when you talk about old timers

    • A.D. says:

      Just because it was done in the past doesn’t mean it should be done now.

      In the past surgery wasn’t performed in disinfected conditions, does that mean that we shouldn’t disinfect now….obviously not, that would be ridiculous.

      On top of that, if you did use the Verducci rule, its a max innings cap on their career high, which in Feller’s case was 343 in 1941, so the 371 innings would be about what he could go up from (though my guess is Verducci doesn’t support throwing anything close to 250 innings in a regular season let alone 350), and he had pitched some the season before in 1945.

      • Again, Verducci’s theory only applies to pitchers age 25 and under.

        • A.D. says:

          There is that factor too, but I originally didn’t include it since there could be a complication given his age 23-25 seasons involved not playing baseball at all due to service time, and thus hasn’t pitched as much as Verducci would expect a 25+ person to throw.

          Either way, he threw 343 innings as a 22 year old, that would pretty much allow him to do whatever he wanted for the rest of his career, in terms of Verducci theory.

  19. Mattingly's Love Child says:

    IMO CC and AJ have met expectations. Neither has exceeded, but both have pitched well, like the Yankees and all of us fans would have hoped. Neither have pitched well enough to be Cy Young candidates, but with it being their 1st year in the Bronx, in the toughest division in baseball, with the way the new stadium has played they have been exactly what the team was looking for.

    The other 3/5s has been disappointing. I thought Wang was moving in the right direction, slowly but surely, when he got injured. Pettite is what everyone should have expected, and aging pitcher who doesn’t have much left. Enough to be a decent 5th starter, but that’s about it. And I’ve made it pretty clear here that I’m very disappointed with Joba’s progress. Not sure if there is anyone to blame for that, it’s just disappointing.

    The Hughes situation boggles my mind. When there was a glut of pitching depth, it made some sense to leave Hughes on the major league roster as a reliver. Earl Weaver used to utilize this method for breaking in SPs, and the Twins notoriously did it with Santana (of course he was Rule V, so they couldn’t let him start in the minors). But in my mind, to utilize him as a 1 inning reliever was a waste. Santana was a multiple inning pitcher as a reliever, and Hughes should have been the same. Now that there is as shortage of major league starters, the Yankees should be stretching him out at Scranton and then using him for the stretch run. Joba’s gonna run out of innings, and who knows if Wang will be back and effective this year. If Hughes is ineffective there isn’t much better the Yankees could be throwing out there every 5th day. Not to mention, I’d feel more comfortable with a stretch run/playoff rotation with Hughes in it over Wang.

  20. Tank Foster says:

    Patience, Padawans, patience. They need to do better second half….all of the starting pitchers do. I happen to think Boston is playing a bit over their ability right now, but maybe that’s fan wishfulness.

    I think the Yankees second half will be very, very good.

  21. [...] went right, what went wrong, and how things look for the second half. First up we looked at the starting pitching, now it’s time to take a look at the [...]

  22. AP28 says:

    Completely random, but does anyone remember a man by the name of Damaso Marte? He has been on the DL since April 26th. We are approaching 90 days.

    In the offseason, he signed a 3 year, $12M deal through 2011. Ladies and gentlemen, your GM of the NY Yankees, Brian Cashman!

  23. Joseph M says:

    I’m a little suprised at the comments as they relate to CC. What have you been watching. He is 0-5 against the current division leaders. Let’s be clear, CC was brought in to beat these guys not to give us a chance to win. He needed to show us something yesterday and he tanked. He has won one game so far this year against a team with an above .500 record.

    To further illustrate the point, he has 5 no decisions and in none of those games was he any better than mediocre. The Phillie game stands out in my mind, a first place club, the Yanks pull out to an early lead only for CC to give it back, the Yanks recapture the lead and he gives it away again.

    It’s time to stop giving this guy a pass and start looking at this clearly, he has not stepped up pure and simple.

  24. [...] went right, what went wrong, and how things look for the second half. First up we looked at the starting pitching, then relief pitchers. Now we’re onto the corner [...]

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