Today, Jhony Brito takes the bump for the Yankees and looks to right the ship following his previous outing. In the last game, he couldn’t locate anything to save his life, but tonight should hopefully be different. The Yankees need him to bounce back following the injury update to Rodón, as Brito may be in the rotation for longer than expected. The Yanks sit 10-7 right now and look to even the series with the Angels.
Jhony Brito’s stuff is great, but he needs to induce grounders:
Brito has some excellent stuff; his changeup is a great pitch. He can pound the zone and get loads of soft contact, and his first two starts were trending upward. He tossed 10.0 innings in those two starts, only gave up one run, and posted excellent ground ball rates. In those first two appearances on the bump, he induced a 56% GB%.
His third start, however, was nothing to write home about. He couldn’t even make it out of the first inning and was throwing practically everything over the middle of the plate. He only went 0.2 innings, gave up seven runs on six hits, and his GB% was a measly 25%. Brito isn’t a big strikeout pitcher, but that wasn’t an issue when he was able to limit the hard contact and keep the ball on the ground.
If he wants to have any hope of staying in this rotation for the foreseeable future, he needs to get back to what works for him. He managed to get eight strikeouts in the first two appearances, but that was because he was able to pound the corners of the zone and get hitters to reach at bad pitches. In his recent start, that wasn’t the case. Every hitter was locked in and was waiting for him to make a mistake.
The Yankees need Brito to step up:
The biggest thing for every young pitcher is how they handle adversity and how they bounce back following a disastrous start. No pitcher in baseball has a perfect record, and no one can say they’ve never had a bad start. It’s important for Brito, who’s still just 25 years old, to remember that this is the life of a pitcher. There are ebbs and flows on the mound, just like there are in any occupation in life. I believe he’ll be able to get back to what worked so well for him in his first two starts.
Tonight’s matchup against the Angels won’t be easy for him, as the top half of their lineup is one of baseball’s best. However, it’s baptism by fire for Brito, and he needs his changeup and sinker/fastball to work well if he wants to have any chance. Even if he goes five or so innings again, that’ll be all the Yankees need from him. He doesn’t need to shove a complete game shutout, but he also needs to keep the boys in the game.
Brito excelled last season in Triple-A at limiting the damage, as he posted a 3.31 ERA despite a less-convincing 4.03 FIP. The reason was that he didn’t allow homers (7.7% HR/FB%), and yes, he was a ground ball machine (54.4% GB%). If he can get back to what works for him, tonight’s start should see him back on track. Hopefully, the bats can back him up and get something rolling tonight.