It’s an odd time in Yankee land.
For one thing, Brett Gardner has a higher slugging percentage than Mark Teixeira.
For another, right now, the Yankees’ worst starter is…CC Sabathia, their number one starter. Yes, I know Javier Vazquez has a higher ERA, but in a world of what-have-you-done-for-me-lately, Vazquez has pitched to an ERA under 3.00 since May 12th, whereas Sabathia beaten just one team other than the Orioles since April 16.
Of course, part of this is the luck of the draw, but the peripherals, thinks like strike outs and walks, have not been inspiring much confidence, either.
For example, right now, Sabathia has career worsts in strikeouts, home runs per nine innings, and HR/FB rate (over 14%!)
Sabathia’s BABIP is just .259–which means he should probably be getting hit a little harder.
That said, there is still plenty of reason to think that Sabathia will turn it around, and that by the end of the season will once again be the ace pitcher the Yankees signed for in 2009.
For one thing, there is Sabathia’s career track record, and more often than not, guys will play to the numbers on the back of their baseball cards, to steal a line from Michael Kay.
Both his line drive and fly ball percentages are down, with the LD% being the best of his career, and his ground ball percentage is way up. Ground balls are helped by good infield defenses, and the Yankees certainly have one of those (with exception for pastadiving Jeter references).
Does this mean that the 12 home runs he’s given up so far are the exception? One would hope, as he gave up just 18 home runs all of last year.
Of course, any time home runs are up and strikeouts are down, the results are probably not going to be ones you want to see.
That said, the Yankees have two things going for them right now:
1) As said above, Sabathia’s track record, which is also one that suggests much stronger second halves of the season,
2) The performance of the rest of the rotation.
In any circumstance, if Sabathia is your worst pitcher, your rotation is probably doing something very, very right.
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