Rarely do we see the Yankees at the top of the American League team pitching stats. Now, it’s a matter of time waiting for the bats to join in.
The New York Yankees typically are a team with heavy bats that score a ton of runs while waiting for the pitching to catch up. So far, in this young season, the reverse is true.
According to Baseball-Reference, the Yankees lead the American League with a team ERA of 1.76. They’ve allowed the fewest earned runs over five games (9), and only the Indians and Royals have surrendered fewer hits than the Yankees 32.
Want more? The Yankees pitching is fourth in the league in striking out opponents – while maintaining the utmost control in surrendering only nine base-on-balls (no one has fewer).
Team WHIP is under 1.0 (0.891) and again has the Yankees leading their league.
Tonight, the Yankees will use a fifth starter for the first time in Jameson Taillon, who is looking to make a comeback from two arm surgeries and a battle with testicular cancer.
Behind Gerrit Cole, who is well on his way in battling Shane Bieber tooth and nail for the CY Young award (thirteen strikeouts last night), is Jordan Montgomery, who made a statement of his own with six strong innings of scoreless ball, largely due to lost and found changeup he has been seeking since his college days.
The starts made by Corey Kluber and Domingo German were shaky at best, but that’s to be expected as they work their way back from idleness last year while the Yankees keep them on a short leash.
The Yankees bullpen has done its job with Chad Green appearing in three of the first five games while Aroldis Chapman sat out his suspension from an ALDS incident last year. Michael King came out of nowhere to deliver six immaculate innings in relief of German, and he looks like he’ll be an important swingman for Aaron Boone.
Yankees: Where’s The Hammer That’s Falling
So now, you’re waiting for the hammer to fall – and it does when we look at the Yankees lineup versus what it has contributed thus far. (Source: Baseball-Reference)
Gary Sanchez, Jay Bruce, and Giancarlo Stanton are all batting .200 or lower, and Aaron Hicks has one hit to show for his season (.067).
“Carrying” the Yankees at the moment are Clint Frazier (.313, .421 OPB), who is responding like aces since his promotion to the leftfield starting job, and Aaron Judge (.364) with a team-leading five runs driven home.
In sum, the Yankees are playing “touch ’em all ball” or nothing, leaving too many men on base. As all fans know, that is a recipe for disaster no matter how good your pitching is.
Typically, Time Is On The Yankees Side
In baseball, the theory always goes that it takes hitters a while to catch up with pitchers at the beginning of a new season.
But when you look at the quality of pitching the Yankees have faced to date (Toronto and Baltimore), what can be expected next week when they face Hyun Jinryu and Tyler Glasnow next week?
All in all, though, which would you rather have – a team sputtering with their pitching or hitting?
Most will say, and I will say – gimme that olde tyme pitching any day.
There are sore spots in the Yankees lineup that give pause for what lies in the future. Gary Sanchez has hit two glorious bombs, but he’s still wagging the tail of the team. DJ LeMahieu eventually be DJ LeMahieu, but there has to be ongoing concern about Gleyber Torres and his ability to recapture his 2019 season offensively.
Jay Bruce is what he is at 34 on the downswing of a pretty good career, and a left-handed power bat at Yankee Stadium still holds promise, as does the recent addition of Rougned Odor, who had some good years with the Texas Rangers.
Besides good-field no-hit Tyler Wade, the Yankees do not have a backup for Gleyber Torres at shortstop, and that will prove costly if Torres continues to have mental gaps in the field and trouble completing routine balls hit to him, no matter what he does with the bat.
There’s still the matter facing Aaron Boone, who, together with his pitching coach Matt Blake, needs to worm their way through 162 games following a short season in which all pitchers are trying to make the adjustment from reduced work last year.
Yankees: Five Games In – I’d Place The Bet
Five games in, The Yankees have a win percentage of .600. It’s not a record-setting pace by no means, but it should be enough to capture the AL East division.
From there, the crapshoot begins, and you always want to be the team with the best starting pitching heading in.
If the playoffs began today, the Yankees are one-up on everyone in league with their pitching. Barring – and we always must add this caveat – injuries, the Yankees are looking surprisingly good from the hill, and it’s only a matter of time for the bats to catch up.
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