Cory Wade’s Bad Month

Hughes handles Tribe as Yanks win 4th straight
Yankees place CC Sabathia placed on the DL
(Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

The Yankees were one inning away from shutting out the Indians last night, but Cory Wade let things get out of hand in the ninth and surrendered four runs in his latest dud outing in a month full of them. The 29-year-old right-hander has now allowed nine runs in his last 6.2 innings, spanning ten appearances. He’s walked four, struck out three, and given up three homers during that time. It’s been an ugly stretch, no doubt about it.

Wade has been betrayed primarily by his changeup during this rough patch, the pitch that is usually his go-to weapon. Two of the three homers he’s allowed came on nearly identical mistake changeups, pitches that were supposed to be down and away to right-handed batters — Miguel Cabrera and Jose Lopez — but leaked inside and belt high. That’s a batting practice fastball. The other homer (by Ian Desmond) was an inside fastball that just caught too much of the plate.

“Couple of balls over the middle and they hit them well … kind of sucks,” said catcher Chris Stewart after last night’s game. “His velocity is the same,” added Joe Girardi. “If I saw a real drop in velocity, I’d be concerned. I just think he’s struggling right now.”

Wade isn’t a guy that’s going to blow hitters away with the fastball anyway, but here’s his day-by-day fastball velocity plot if you’re interested. As Girardi said, there’s no drop. Wade did work quite a bit when David Robertson was on the shelf last month, at one point pitching eight times in 16 days. That includes three days in a row and four times in five days to end that 16-day stretch, which coincides exactly with the start of this rough patch. Remember, this is a guy that is two years removed from major shoulder surgery, so maybe he’s just worn out a bit and his all-important command is suffering. Who knows? It’s just a theory.

It’s very easy to write a guy like Wade off because he doesn’t fit the profile. We all like to see some hard-throwers march out of the bullpen and throw gas by hitters, but Cory is a pure finesse guy who mixes his pitches and changes arm slots to keep the batters off balance. It’s unorthodox so we’re skeptical. It worked brilliantly last season and for the first eight or ten weeks of this season, but the last month or so has been rough. Perhaps the other shoe has dropped, perhaps it’s just a slump. I would greatly prefer the latter.

With David Aardsma about three weeks away, Wade still has some time to sort himself out before his roster spot is really in danger. He obviously shouldn’t see any important late-inning situations anytime soon, but he should be given time to work through this. I do believe he has a minor league option left so it’s not like they would release him anyway, plus the current alternatives are Ryota Igarashi, Justin Thomas, and I suppose the recently claimed Danny Farquhar. No thanks. Wade’s awful recent performance could be just a bump in the road or it could be an indication that the end is near, but the Yankees can afford to be patient and give him some time to right the ship — in a reduced role, of course — before making a change.

Hughes handles Tribe as Yanks win 4th straight
Yankees place CC Sabathia placed on the DL
  • Joe

    I would DFA Thomas or Igarashi and add Delcarmen or Whitley. Both have pitched well with Scranton.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    I believe he’ll work it out.

    That being said, your bullpen will always be a work in progress.

  • DM

    Use Garcia more, Wade less. Forget Joba/Aardsma roster shuffling until they’re actually ready. See what happens.

    • Robinson Tilapia


    • 28 this year

      I agree. There is no reason right now to actually get rid of Wade. He has had a bad month but he’s earned at least the chance to try to work out of it in mop up situations. The Yankees don’t NEED to make a change right now, I prefer they wait and see. Wade could still turn it around in time and until Aardsma is ready, there is no reason to do anything just for the purpose of doing something.

      • jjyank

        Pretty much my thoughts on this.

  • Murderers’ Row Boat

    I’m no big city pitching coach, but let Hughes finish that game. The way he was pitching the last few innings I don’t think an extra 10-15 would have killed his arm. Plus he could use the self-esteem boost.

    • gc

      That’s all well and good, but maybe Girardi was hoping that a good outing by Wade in that spot would have been even more of a self-esteem boost for HIM.

      • Murderers’ Row Boat

        He’s already appeared in 32 games this year. He pitched in 40 all of last year. It appears he is being used too much.

        • gc

          He also pitched 22 games and 38 innings in the minors last year. Those innings count too, ya know. So no, I don’t think at this point, in comparison to the TOTAL innings he threw last year, he’s being overused.

        • yooboo

          He can match last year performance by 9 perfect innings in 8 or 9 appearances. However, ERA wont be under 3 era. He has a chance with new month coming up.

          Thankfully, Yanks are almost 20 games over right now. No pressure.

          I would like to see Wade back to mix and match duty and let him find a groove of change up.

    • jjyank

      LoHud commenting FTW!

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Sure, but not huge in the grand scheme of things.

  • jjyank

    Give Wade a good 3-4 days off and then get him back into the swing of things. He was too good last year and early this year to give up on him after this bad stretch. I still have more faith in Wade going forward than I do in Eppley.

    • Jose M. Vazquez..

      I agree wholeheartedly with this. No need to do anything but rest Cory a few days and he will recoup.

    • yooboo

      Wade had almost 6 day laying off because Eppley and Rapada become Girardi’s first choice and SP rotation had been solid during that span.

  • LarryM.,Fl.

    Its all about his location. He does not appear to be spent from the extra duty while Robertson was out. He has earned the time to fix the problem from the body of work over the last two seasons.

    Girardi is aware of his situation. I’m sure he will not place him in high priority situations until Wade is fixed or shipped to the traveling team at AAA.

  • BK2ATL

    I hope Cory Wade can right the ship. Maybe he does need some rest, but I’m not sure now is the best time that the team can afford it. The next off day is 8 days away. They are gonna need all hands on deck during this stretch.

    Prior to this month, conventional thinking was that Eppley and Rapada, or maybe Garcia, would be the sacrificial lambs, when Aardsma and Joba returned. I sincerely doubt Garcia will be in that mix, as Girardi loves his veteran presence.

    With his recent performance, Wade has unfortunately thrown himself into that mix. He needs to right that ship, or he will be sent down to AAA since he has an option left. I don’t think either Eppley or Rapada have any left. So they would be DFA or waiver situations, which would work well for many teams in need on good bullpen help, but suck for us as both have pitched well this year.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Eppley’s been sent down already this year, so he definitely would have options left. Rapada would be DFA fodder. It’s very possible he was doomed to that fate from the very beginning. Cruel world.

      • Brian S.

        I don’t think Rapada will be DFA’d until we have another semi-reliable LOOGY available to call up. And no, Justin Thomas does not count.

  • BrooklynRats

    Just announced: CC on DL

    • Brian S.

      Would an ace get an adductor strain? Didn’t think so.

      • Brian S.

        Also, Get Phelps Up?

  • roadrider

    I’m in the “other shoe dropping camp”. Sorry, but I’ve never been a believer in Wade. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed the ride while he was doing well but I never expected it to last even this long. Eppley and Rapada are probably not far behind in becoming DFA fodder.

  • Hubward

    Read it first as Cory Wade’s Bad Mouth – now that would be an article.

    Wade’s done a great job for us I’m hoping this is just a blip as he gives a different look out of the pen. That said I don’t think we will stand or fall on Cory Wade’s ability to get it done.

  • mike

    Grandreson makes a good read on the ball hit into centerfield this is not even a conversation

  • LiterallyFigurative

    Bad month = THROW HIM OFF THE BUS!!!!!!!!

    Clearly Wade has struggled, but he wouldn’t be the first or last releiver to have a rough patch.

    To me, he’s a change of pace pitcher and just needs time to get things back in order.

  • RetroRob

    He’s performed his job for god and country. DFA him and invite him to Old Timer’s Day with Aaron Small.

  • FreeAgentSignee

    Good luck Cory!