The New York Yankees lost another game last night and now sit at the bottom of the AL East. Why? The Yankee starting pitching failed again, giving up more runs than the Yankees could recover from. Another big concern for the Yankees is that the hitting hasn’t been there. But the bottom line is that the starting rotation has to be able to keep the Yankees in the game, and they just have not been able to do that. At the start of the season, the Yankees were looking for high rewards from their new starting rotation; those rewards are yet to be realized.
Gerrit Cole, not being as dominant compared to his 2019 season with the Houston Astros, has been our best pitcher and is likely to get even better as his history has shown. In this young season, he is 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA and striking out an amazing 29 opposition hitters in 3 games so far. Cole also has pitched notably better when being caught by Kyle Higashioka. Last season when being caught by Gary Sanchez, he had a 3.91 ERA. When “Higgy” became his personal catcher late in the season, his ERA was 1.10. That seems to be holding so far this season as well. Manager Aaron Boone although not committing to the personal catcher name, has said that Kyle will be catching many of Cole’s games.
Some have complained about Montgomery’s performance, but the fact is that he is our second-best pitcher this season. He has a 1-0 record with an ERA of 3.27. If he can end the season with a 3.27 ERA, the New York Yankees will be more than happy. However, the Yankees would like to see him go deeper into games lessening the bullpen’s use. If he can stretch to seven innings a game, that would be ideal.
The New York Yankees took the risk in the offseason of paying Corey Kluber $11 million to pitch a year for the Yankees after only pitching one inning last season for the Texas Rangers. Kluber also missed much of the 2019 season after being hit by a pitch. Kluber is a two-time Cy Young Award winner, but as of today’s start against the Blue Jay’s, he will bring his 5.68 ERA with him. Kluber had a mediocre start against the Blue Jays when he last faced them on April 3rd. In his start against the Baltimore Orioles, he was just plain bad. One has seldom seen the concentration that Kluber shows; it’s hard to believe that he can’t improve. Today will allow him to do so.
The New York Yankees obtained Jameson Taillon via the trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was coming back from his second Tommy John surgery. He made delivery adjustments to ease up on his elbow with the hope of becoming an even better pitcher. He has yet to show that. His ERA sits at 7.56 in two poor starts, only going 4 innings a game and putting unneeded stress on an overworked bullpen. Last night he caved in the fourth inning and put the game out of the Yankees’ reach.
This writer doesn’t know what to make of Domingo German. In spring training, he was the Yankee’s best starting pitcher. He pitched for four starts with an ERA of 1.38 striking out 11.8 hitters per nine innings, allowing only one home run. Now that the regular season is here, he is an entirely different pitcher. In two games, he only went seven total innings giving up seven runs with 4 home runs. It may just be that he has to shake off the rust from not pitching for a year and a half with German. With his spring training record and his 2019 season when he went 18-4, it’s hard to believe he won’t improve.
It’s only the beginning of a 162 game season, and there is plenty of time for these pitchers to improve, but the fact that the Yankees sit at the bottom of the AL East is certainly concerning. Manager Aaron Boone in his usual cheery outlook, admits that pitching has to get “popping” soon. If Kluber, Taillon, and German don’t improve, the Yankees may have to dig into their depth early on and try out Jonathan Loaisiga, who has been near perfect, Micheal King, Deivi Garcia, or the soon returning Clarke Schmidt.