June 17, 2010

Yankees rotation woes: Sabathia, Burnett

Has anyone else noticed the Yankees rotation has taken a U turn in the last five weeks? As of May 8, the Yankees had two starters with sub-2 ERAs, two with sub-3 ERAs and one (Javier Vazquez) with a 9.78 ERA. Since that date, here’s what the rotation has done:

Pitcher ERA from 5/8-6/17
Andy Pettitte 2.83
Javier Vazquez 2.92
Phil Hughes 4.15
CC Sabathia 5.07
A.J. Burnett 6.50

Sabathia and Burnett have been struggling the most, while Pettitte and Vazquez have been excellent. Hughes’s insanely low BABIP at the beginning of the season caught up with him and it’s shown on his ERA.

I’ve already looked into Sabathia’s season in-depth, and the conclusion was he’s lucky he faced the Orioles four times this year. With Burnett, you have to look at his history to understand what he’s going through.

Since May 8, Burnett has allowed six or more runs in four of his eight starts and is yet to throw a quality start in three tries in June. Now he is pitching above his career ERA of 3.87 at 4.33. With the type of stuff he has, it’s hard to believe his career ERA is so high, but the story with Burnett has always been control and that has been the problem lately.

I hate to bring this up, but I think the rotation is missing its pitching coach, Dave Eiland. He took a leave of absence on June 4 and there hasn’t been an update since. We wish him the best, but also a speedy return.

As for the success of Vazquez, you knew he wasn’t going to end the year with a near-10 ERA. He had way too big a track record to think that. I don’t expect him to finish with a sub-3 ERA, but it would be impressive to finish somewhere in the 3s after his dreadful start.

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