New York Yankees: Pitching is Kryptonite So Far

New York Yankees, Aroldis Chapman

The New York Yankees are definitely not off to their best start, as they sit 5-7 with a nine game homestand approaching. The Yankees are down just one reliever, but their all-star caliber bullpen has been awful so far.

3.97

That’s the current Yankee bullpen ERA. That’s about two earned runs per nine innings too high. With four all-star level pitchers healthy in Chad Green, Adam Ottavino, Zack Britton, and Aroldis Chapman, Ottavino has been the only one with success, an ERA of 1.29 in seven innings pitched.

Chad Green is the most worrisome of the four. His ERA is at nine and has already been charged with two losses, including one against Houston.

Zack Britton has an ERA reaching towards five and has a loss too. Chapman is at 3.60, with his velocity still down a bit, but is expected to increase. His accuracy has improved from last year, only issuing one walk in five innings. His K/9 rate is still sky high at almost 13, which is obviously a good sign.

Though not one of their best relievers, Jonathan Holder has struggled, too, with an ERA of 5.40. He is a key guy in their bullpen, normally used in high-leverage situations in middle innings or extra innings.

The only real positive out of the bullpen so far is that Luis Cessa is pitching well. The Yankees are hoping this continues for him and the team. Remember, he is out of options so for him to go to AAA he must clear waivers.

Happ’s ready to bounce back

After a poor start on Wednesday by James Paxton, his ERA dropped to 6.00. Following him in the rotation is another starter whos’ ERA is in the sixes: JA Happ.

In two games, Happ is 0-1 and has pitched just eight and a third innings. This could potentially cause bullpen problems due to them having to pitch more than they should.

Last time out, he gave up five hits and two runs to the Orioles in a personal no decision, but a win for the team.

Friday against the White Sox would be the perfect time to get back on track and put one in his win column, as well as the team’s.

 

New York Yankees: Chad Green Struggles as The Yankees Lose 6-3

New York Yankees reliever Chad Green gave up three runs in the eighth inning as the Yankees lost to the Astros 6-3. The sad part is that they led 3-2, blowing their second lead in as many days.

Bullpen struggles

In five pitched innings on Tuesday, the Yankee bullpen gave up three runs off seven hits. Jonathan Loaisiga only pitched three innings, giving up two runs. He was removed due to throwing 71 pitches in the three innings.

Steven Tarpley relieved Loaisiga and gave up a hit, but threw just nine pitches in the scoreless inning. Luis Cessa got five outs without a score, before the ball was turned over to Jonathan Holder.

With the Yankees up 3-2, Holder gave up a double to new Astro Michael Brantley before being pulled. After, Chad Green came in and got hammered in the eighth, giving up three runs and the Astros took a 6-3 lead.

Again, the Yankees couldn’t recover and went down 1-2-3 in the ninth

Sanchez keeps cookin’

Gary Sanchez kept up his strong play on Tuesday, going 2-for-4 and knocking in two runs on a sixth inning double to put the Yankees up 3-2. His other hit was a single that beat the shift, as the Astros placed three men on the left side.

Luke Voit was responsible for the other run, mashing a solo home run to center field in the first. That was his only hit in four at-bats.

Aaron Judge and Austin Romine were each responsible for a base hit.

Red hot Clint Frazier went hitless on Tuesday night. Not just that, he had a few problems in the field. He dropped a ball on a diving catch attempt, then misplayed a ball a little later.

Brett Gardner also went hitless on Tuesday including being doubled up on a bunt attempt that he didn’t run out. This killed a rally with runners on first and second early in the game.

The Yankees try to salvage the series with the Astros on Wednesday before returning home. Gametime is at 7:40PM (ET) on YES Network and FOX Sports Go. James Paxton gets the ball for the Yankees against Collin McHugh of the Astros.

 

New York Yankees Smack Seven Home Runs to Beat Orioles

The New York Yankees came out swinging on a sunny Sunday in the DMV, hitting seven home runs to beat the Orioles 15-3.

Scary Gary

Gary Sanchez led the New York Yankees by smacking three home runs, while just missing a fourth in the final inning. Two of his long balls came off a fastball, one first pitch, and the third was off a slider.

Clint Frazier built off of Saturday’s game by going 4-for-5 with two home runs and an RBI single. Gleyber Torres went 2-for-5 with a home run, and Austin Romine mashed a home run in the ninth.

New Yankee Giovanny Urshela added an RBI while going 2-for-3 as well as playing a good third base.

The Yankees accumulated 15 hits while drawing nine walks during the game, with Gardner drawing three. Aaron Judge went 0-for-4, but didn’t strikeout at all.

Luke Voit went 1-for-5, and despite him having a .182 average, he has reached safely in all but two games thus far.

Dominant Domingo

Domingo German was dominant on Sunday in possibly his best start yet. He pitched 6+ innings, allowing two hits and two runs. German actually had a no-hitter going through 5 1/3 innings. In the seventh inning, he gave up a hit and a walk before he was pulled.

Once pulled, Steven Tarpley came in and allowed both runs to score, as well as one of his own runs as he struggled to make it through the seventh.

Luis Cessa came in for the eighth and ninth, giving up just one hit. Cessa is looking better and better each time out, and we are finally starting to see why Brian Cashman thinks so highly of him.

Speaking of Brian Cashman, the Yankees won their 2,000th game with Cashman as the GM. What an accomplishment for one of the best general managers in all of sports.

The Yankees now travel down to Houston to take on the Astros in a three game series. Masahiro Tanaka gets the ball for the Yankees against Houston ace Justin Verlander. First pitch is set at 7:00PM (ET) on ESPN, Watch ESPN, YES Network, and FOX Sports Go.

Yankees can’t recover from Happ’s poor start in another loss to Orioles

New York Yankees, J.A. Happ

JA Happ gave up a three run homerun to Orioles third baseman Renato Nunez in the first inning, and the Yankees weren’t able to recover as they dropped the rubber match to the Orioles, 7-5.

Happ’s struggles

In his first start of the season, JA Happ did not come out with his best stuff. After more than a three hour rain delay, Happ opened the game by striking out Jonathan Villar. It spiraled downward after that.

Dwight Smith Jr. hit a double to right-center field, then Trey Mancini hit a dumb little chopper down the third base line that Andujar couldn’t get to in time, putting runners on the corners.

Then, Nunez crushed a 2-2 fastball into the bleachers in left field, giving the Orioles a 3-0 lead.

After a 1-2-3 second inning, Trey Mancini launched another fastball, this time into monument park to give Baltimore a 4-0 lead.

Happ worked a 1-2-3 fourth, but the Yankees decided to pull him and put in long reliever Luis Cessa, who gave up one earned run in 3 1/3 innings.

Happ just couldn’t throw the fastball well on Sunday. Both home runs came from it, as well as the double in the first inning by Smith Jr. Happ struck out three while issuing just one walk in his four innings of work, throwing 75 pitches.

Hitting like it’s still 2018

It may be a new season, but the Yankees offensive tendencies are just the same. Too many chased pitches while having a poor average with runners in scoring position. The Yankees were 2-of-12 with runners in scoring position on Sunday, Judge knocking in two on a single in the fourth, and a LeMahieu RBI single in the ninth.

The Yankees were down 7-4 going to the bottom of the ninth after Tommy Kahnle walked the bases loaded, but managed to work out of it.

Bird walked and then Gleyber Torres just inched out an infield single before LeMahieu had his RBI single. Troy Tulowitzki pinch-hit for Brett Gardner, but struck out on a 1-2 slider that he check-swung at.

14 of the Yankees 27 outs were strikeouts, but four of them came from Judge and three came from Sanchez. However, in addition to Judge’s RBI single, Sanchez went yard for the first time in 2019, lining a 1-2 change-up down the left field line in the seventh.

The Yankees will now take on the Detroit Tigers in a three game series to wrap-up a six game homestand. The Tigers split a four game series with the Toronto Blue Jays to open their season. Tyson Ross is expected to start for the Tigers, while the Yankees are expected to have a “bullpen game”. Domingo German is expected to pitch a few innings for the Yankees, but it is unknown if he will be the starter.

Game time is at 6:35PM on YES Network and Fox Sports Go.

New York Yankees: Dellin Betances to Start Season on Injured List

During Tuesday’s spring training game on the YES Network, New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman announced in an interview that hard-throwing relief pitcher Dellin Betances will start the 2019 season on the injured list. Cashman said that in an MRI, he showed to have shoulder inflammation and the team is calling it a “shoulder impingement.” The team expects Betances to be throwing again “in 3 to 5 days.”

Betances had not been himself during spring training. He had an ERA of 5.40 in just four outings, and the team was concerned about his velocity. His fastball was only reaching 88 to 92 mph, much lower than his 96 to 100 mph average. He has had issues with getting off to a fast start, literally. His ERA is always a bit higher in the early part of the season, and way high in spring training with his strikeout rate lower.

More Injuries

This now leads to even more early season injury concerns from the Yankees. Though he is the only bullpen guy out right now, the Yankees are down two starters in CC Sabathia and Luis Severino. Aaron Hicks will not be ready until at least the second series of the season, Didi Gregorius is out until summer because of his Tommy John surgery, and who knows about Jacoby Ellsbury.

Like last year, the Yankees will need to have a “next man up” mentality to fill these roster spots. Young guys will be stepping up and providing a lot to start the season, especially on the pitching staff. Those pitchers may be Jonathan Loaisiga, Domingo German, Stephen Tarpley, and Luis Cessa.

New York Yankees: How Concerned Should We Be About Luis Severino’s Injury?

On Monday, the New York Yankees presumed ace Luis Severino was scratched from his first spring start due to what the team called “rotator cuff inflammation” and will be shut down for two weeks. Yankees skipper Aaron Boone said that it is “highly unlikely” that Severino will start the season with the team, forcing the Yankees to look for a new opening day starter. Severino was warming up in the bullpen and felt pain in his shoulder at about 1PM, 10 minutes prior to first pitch.

With Severino likely not on the 25 man roster to start the season, this leaves the fifth starting pitcher position wide open. Plus, how severe is Severino’s injury anyway? We’ll look into all of it right now.

Yankees: Severino’s concern level

From what we hear, the Yankees are not particularly concerned about Severino…. yet. When he had his MRI Tuesday, the results came back quite clean. With that being said, he should be cleared after two weeks if his shoulder isn’t hurting. No Tommy John surgery has been recommended, but if he continues to have pain after the two weeks, the team will grow more concerned.

The plan is to begin a throwing program after the two weeks, then get him some in-game action before camp breaks and the team heads to Washington for an exhibition. My guess is that he would spend a week or two in extended spring training before going to Trenton and/or Scranton for a few rehab stints. Remember, CC Sabathia is also a few weeks behind due to his offseason heart surgery and will also likely not be on the opening day roster.

Options from free agency

When talking about free-agents, two names come into the minds of Yankees fans: Dallas Keuchel and Gio Gonzalez.

In 2018, Dallas Keuchel had a rather down season, his ERA at 3.74 in just over 200 innings. A lot of people thought that the Yankees might push towards him more than signing JA Happ or acquiring James Paxton. But the team didn’t and now heading towards the middle part of March and spring training, he remains a free-agent.

Gio Gonzalez had an ERA last season of 4.21, but remained effective with a 10-11 record in just over 170 innings. Gonzalez, now 33, was a former first round draft pick in 2004. He could still be a fit for any team, and his stats show those of an average fifth starter.

But which one is the better option? In my opinion, Gonzalez is. Gonzalez is older than Keuchel and is now fit to be a five starter, and will not want a whole lot of money. Keuchel was the Astros number one starter just a few years ago, but is now settling as more of a two or three starter.

If Keuchel was available after the 2019 season, the Yankees would jump right on board with him, but they have a solid rotation when healthy. Signing Keuchel would be expensive, and would force the Yankees to really rearrange their pitching staff once everyone is healthy. With Gonzalez, you can DFA or release him and not lose much of anything for your team or salary.

In-house options

The Yankees have a few guys who could replace both Severino and CC in the first few weeks of the season.

Luis Cessa is the first name Yankee fans jump to. Cessa hasn’t had it that great so far in the big leagues, an ERA a bit under five and a 5-11 record. He is slowly improving, but the problem is that he’s out of options. If he starts in the MLB this season, to send him to Scranton they must DFA him and hope he clears waivers.

Domingo German struggled last year for the Yankees, making some starts for injured pitchers in the springtime. His ERA was over 5.50 and won just two games in 14 starts. But his start this spring has been promising, giving up no runs thus far in 4 2/3 innings.

Jonathan Loaisiga, or “Jonny Lasagna” also made a few starts last season, but had an ERA over five despite going 2-0. He definitely needs some more work, and got hammered on Tuesday against the Cardinals, giving up four runs in 2 1/3 innings.

It remains unknown how the Yankees will fill Severino’s hole to start the season, but either way the team goes, there are options.