Yankees holding their breath as $162 million pitcher heads for an MRI

mlb: houston astros at new york yankees, carlos rodon
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

In a hard-fought battle on Sunday afternoon, the New York Yankees succumbed to the Houston Astros 9–7, complicating their efforts to regain ground in the Wild Card race. This loss is reflective of recent difficulties the team has been facing, especially in the context of key player injuries.

Carlos Rodon’s Struggles on the Mound for the Yankees

The Yankees featured lefty pitcher Carlos Rodon, whose performance was characterized by struggles. Rodon was pulled after just 2.2 innings, during which he gave up three hits, five earned runs, and two homers. Striking out five batters and walking two across 58 pitches, he struggled to provide the Yankees a competitive edge, even with his massive $162 million deal over six seasons.

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Rodon’s Injury Concerns

The Yankees knew they were taking a risk with Rodon, who may suffer from injuries during his tenure with the club—a concern already realized this year. He endured a forearm strain during spring training and has been dealing with a chronic back issue.

Adding to the woes, Rodon left Sunday’s game with hamstring tightness, a concerning development that led Manager Aaron Boone to schedule an MRI. Comparisons have been drawn to Giancarlo Stanton, who missed significant time due to a similar issue. Given Rodon’s injury-prone nature and the importance of leverage and power in pitching, his absence could be prolonged.

Analyzing Rodon’s Performance This Season

Carlos Rodon’s performance this season has been marked by some worrying statistics. With a 7.33 ERA, a 1.52 WHIP, and four losses across six games, his numbers are less than stellar.

Heading into the defeat, his figures included a 6.29 ERA, 7.40 strikeouts (down from 12 last year), a 69.9% left-on-base rate, and a 37.5% ground ball rate. His walk rate of 5.92 per nine innings and 2.22 home runs per nine represent career highs. Observers have begun to wonder if Rodon is turning into another Brian Cashman bust, especially in light of his 2022 version, which posted a 2.88 ERA across 178 innings.

Challenges in the Starting Pitching Rotation

The Yankees’ starting pitching rotation has been severely affected, with Luis Severino likely moving to the bullpen and Domingo German being placed on the restricted list. This situation necessitates a reliance on younger talents such as Randy Vasquez and Jhony Brito, who may now be thrust into more prominent roles.

The New York Yankees’ recent struggles, exemplified by the loss to the Houston Astros, highlight deeper challenges within the team.

Carlos Rodon’s performance and injury issues are symptomatic of the problems that have made the quest for a Wild Card spot more difficult. The ability of the Yankees to adapt and overcome these challenges, possibly through youth development, will be key to their success as they navigate this tumultuous phase.