AL East Round Up: Report Card Edition: Pitching

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Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

New York Yankees

The Yankee are stuck in first place 4 weeks in. They’ve been able to attain a good grip as the best of a mediocre group. While everyone else is playing .500 ball (or so) the Yankees are doing just a bit better. And, at the end of the day, teams need only finish first in their division to make the playoffs. It doesn’t need to be pretty. It can be as ugly as pine tar all over your bat, helmet, gloves, hand, neck…

Starting Pitching– B  
Hmmm…this is a sticky topic. The starters have been up and down. Their ERA sits at 4.46, which is too high. C.C Sabathia is not the bear he once was, but is managing to put up good a K/BB ratio. He’s 3-2 with an ERA of 4.78. Hiroki Kuroda is doing worse. His 5.28 ERA has got to come down for the Yankees to have a chance. The offense will pick up some slack, but it can’t be expected to pick THAT much. Ivan Nova needs Tommy John surgery. That puts a hole in the rotation. Michael Pineda is…umm….stuck riding the pine (tar) for 10 games, which is really only one start. This whole situation baffles me. He is seen with pine tar on his glove hand. Then, the next time he goes out against the same Red Sox team, he puts it on the one spot that everyone will see- his neck! The Yankees say they talked to him after the first time, but in English. How hard is it to get across that pine tar is a no-no? Anyway, that’s enough of that. Masahiro Tanaka has been pretty much the only bright spot in the rotation. So far, he’s been worth every (well, almost) penny the Yankees spent. He’s 3-0 with a 2.15 ERA and has struck out 35, while walking only 2! TWO! How do you say “dominant” in Japanese? Still, the Yankees are going to need more than one fifth of their rotation to compete.

Bullpen– B-
When grading the bullpen, it is hard because their results can be skewed by poor starting pitching. But, we’ll try anyway. How can any team replace Mariano Rivera? Honestly. By putting David Robertson in his spot. Except that didn’t go well. He went to the DL. Shawn Kelly did a nice job filling in for the guy filling in for Mo. He picked up 4 saves and struck out 11. Now that Robertson is set to come back, perhaps he can provide some stability to a bullpen that has had to work an awful lot. The Yankee starters have been averaging less than 6 innings per start. So, like a lot of teams (see Blue Jays) the bullpen has had to work more than is ideal. The Yankees have 13 pitchers with at least 1/3 of an inning worked in 2014.