Do You Feel Better or Worse?

I keep reading about the disaster that the Yankees rotation is and how it hasn’t lived up to expectations. To me this is kind of silly and I for one, feel much, much better than I did last year at this time.

Just to refresh your memory. In 2011 the June rotation was made up of CC, AJ, Colon, Garcia and Nova. Colon had moved into the rotation when Phil Hughes absolutely fell apart to start 2011 and he had been a star up until this point. Garcia was surprising everyone and Nova was about to really get going. In fact those five, plus Hughes put up a 3.62 ERA in the first half. Contrast that with the 4.64 ERA the 2012 starters have and it seems like 2011 was a much better staff.

Ah yes, but we know what happened in 2011. AJ Burnett’s ERA kept going up and up. The magic wore off on Colon and Garcia by August and when the playoffs rolled around, the Yankees had CC Sabathia and not a lot to work with. (I fully recognize that the 2011 ALDS was lost by the bats and not the pitchers, but nobody felt confident about the pitching heading into that series.)

Now contrast that with the current staff. CC is still CC. Kuroda has only 4 wins, but his ERA is 3.82 and he has given up three runs or less in 8-of-11 starts. Phil Hughes’ overall numbers aren’t great, but he started the season with an ERA of almost 8 in April. Since then he has been much better, apart from his awful start in Anaheim. It may only be four starts, but Andy Pettitte looks pretty darn good. That may turn out to be the best signing of the year. The only really bad spot is Nova, but if he can figure out how to stop giving up so many home runs, his numbers would come around a lot.

So, I am going to go out on a bit of a limb here and say it won’t be the pitching that holds this team back. If the playoffs started today, a Yankee rotation of CC, Kuroda, Pettitte and Hughes would be more than solid. The bullpen has been great, even with all the injuries, so no worries there. The concern would be the hitters. But, there have been some signs of life recently and the bottom line is that for all of their problems, the Yankees are 29-24, just 1-1/2 games out of first.

109 games to go.