Starting pitching was supposed to be a strength after this offseason’s moves, or at least starting pitching depth was supposed to be a strength. The season is just five games old — 3.1% of the 162-game schedule — but the first turn through the rotation hasn’t exactly gone according to plan. Ivan Nova was the only starter to turn in a respectable outing, holding the Orioles to two runs over seven innings despite allowing ten hits. Here’s what the rotation has done overall…
28 IP, 35 H, 19 R, 16 ER, 12 BB, 24 K, 6 HR, 37.5 GB%
That all adds up to a 5.14 ERA (and a 5.14 FIP!), and I suppose the good news is that the performance can only improve from here. The Yankees starters simply have to be better, and not just for the sake of the team. CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda are safe, but Michael Pineda and Andy Pettitte are on the way. Jobs are on the line and if the guys currently in the rotation don’t step up their game, they’re going to wind up in the bullpen or Triple-A. I guess that’s where all the pitching depth comes in handy.
The Yankees need Sabathia to pitch well tonight just to save the bullpen, but I’m sure they would also like their ace to turn in a gem and set an example for the rest of the staff. Five games is in no way indicative of what’s to come in the next 157 games, but right now the only part of the roster that seems to be clicking is the bullpen. The offense will surely get going in due time, but the starting rotation needs to get its act together pretty soon.