The Yankees have a major starting pitching problem

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees, luis severino
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have grappled with significant inconsistency in their starting rotation this season, a struggle exacerbated by a series of injuries. Despite these challenges, the team is hoping for a turnaround with the return of their substantial free-agent acquisition, Carlos Rodon.

The Anticipated Return of Carlos Rodon

Rodon, who was signed for a hefty $162 million, is set to make his first appearance of the year on Friday night against the Chicago Cubs. His return comes as a much-needed reinforcement for a rotation that has been weighed down by injuries and subpar performances.

Luis Severino Struggles with Performance

Amid the ongoing challenges, Luis Severino’s declining performance has been a particular concern. “Right now they’re just hitting the ball everywhere,” admitted Severino. “I feel well-prepared mentally. I go out there to compete and then all of a sudden, on three or four innings, I’m out of the game.”

In an attempt to bounce back, Severino pitched 77 pitches in his most recent loss, conceding ten hits, seven earned runs, and striking out three batters.

As the Yankees’ offense is battling with its own struggles, the team has been leaning heavily on their pitchers for efficiency. Unfortunately, 29-year-old Severino hasn’t been able to pick up the slack. His current stats include a concerning 7.38 ERA for this year, a 5.20 xFIP, and the highest walk rate of his career at 4.01 per nine.

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Severino’s Performance Equation for Failure

Severino’s performance downturn, marked by an increase in homers conceded, more walks, and fewer strikeouts, spells trouble for the Yankees. Over his last two games, he’s allowed 14 earned runs across 19 hits, sending his ERA into a steep climb. His poor form continued into June, with a 6.93 ERA resulting from seven homers, 19 earned runs, and 34 hits.

This downward trend might push the Yankees into a tough decision. If Severino’s poor form persists, they may consider moving him from the rotation into a bullpen role.

Looking Forward to a Post All-Star Break Rebound

Despite these challenges, the Yankees still believe in Severino’s ability to turn things around after the All-Star break. The break could provide a much-needed fresh start for several players to recover physically and address any mental hurdles affecting their performance.

“I’ve never been this bad of a pitcher my whole life,” Severino said. “It’s a little tough to get my head around.”

Severino himself insists he’s physically healthy, attributing his struggles to a lack of confidence in his pitches. His repertoire includes a four-seam fastball, change-up, slider, and cutter, all of which have seen diminishing success rates against opposing batters this season.

The Clock Ticks for Severino

The Yankees are counting on their veteran starter to improve during the season’s second half. Otherwise, they may be forced into making a challenging decision about his future with the team.

With the trade deadline approaching, General Manager Brian Cashman is likely contemplating potential additions to bolster the team’s rotation. With Severino on a one-year, $15 million deal, his exit from the Yankees seems inevitable given his ongoing health concerns and lackluster performance this year.