On June 12th, the Yankees had a four game cushion in the American League East division over the Red Sox after winning their sixth straight game. Since then, the Yankees have done a complete 180, losing their sixth straight game last night to the A’s, putting them in a tie for first with Boston.
During their six-game losing streak, they’re scoring 4.17 runs per game [compared to 10 runs per game during their six-game winning streak], Aaron Judge is hitting a mere .217 with 11 k’s and their bullpen has an ERA of 4.46 with four losses and three blown saves.
But, even with all of this, their biggest issue during this skid has been their starting pitching.
Entering the season, there were question marks from top to bottom of their rotation. However, up until now, the Yankees starters have outperformed expectations [other than Tanaka]. Guys like Michael Pineda, Luis Severino, C.C. Sabathia and Jordan Montgomery all have stepped up, leading to early success.
During this last six-game stretch though, the Yankees’ starters have a combined ERA of 6.78.
None of the starters have gone past the sixth inning, and in three of the six games, their starter only lasted four innings. This has had a trickle-down effect to the bullpen, which likely the root of their struggles.
Not only have the Yankees’ starters struggled recently, but C.C. Sabathia was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a grade two hamstring injury that is expected to sideline him for multiple weeks. This is a huge blow, as Sabathia has been the Yankees’ most consistent pitcher in the last month.
So not only do the Yankees need more innings out of their healthy starters, they now also have to find someone to replace Sabathia, who has pitched to a 1.02 ERA since May 16th. This can be tough, as the Yankees likely don’t want to send assets to a team to replenish their rotation, nor do they want to let the Red Sox overtake first place in the AL East.
There are a few internal options that the organization can experiment with for the near future, including right-handed prospect Chance Adams, who has a combined 1.78 ERA across AA and AAA this season. Going into the year, it seemed Adams was going to get called up at some point this season anyway, and now with a struggling [and hurt] rotation and tired bullpen, it makes even more sense for the 22-year-old to be given a shot.
If the Yanks are reluctant to bring Adams up earlier than expected, a good short-term option to lessen the load on the bullpen could be to roll with a short bench and play with an eight-man bullpen. It seems like the Yankees’ pitching is pretty fatigued, having played 13 straight games with a west coast road trip included.
Luckily for them, they have a much-needed off day before a six-game stretch at home, which could put them back on track.