Coming out of Spring Training, the Yankees had minimal question marks about their rotation, and those questions had answered themselves during the first two weeks of the season. However, more questions have come into play, and those questions could ultimately sink the Yankees rotation.
The Yankees lost Ivan Nova for the year due to Tommy John Surgery and Michael Pineda for the next 3-4 weeks due to a strain in his teres major muscle. With those two out of the rotation, CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda both have to step up and be just as consistent as Masahiro Tanaka has, a pitcher who was only slated to be their number three starter. Here are the few questions the Yankees rotation now faces as we enter the month of May:
Can CC Sabathia not have an implode inning?
Sabathia has made it a constant trend to roll along for three to four innings and then implode in either the fifth or sixth, usually handing the Yankees a loss in those kinds of outings. The Yankees need CC to be sharp, but it’s hard when even he doesn’t know why he implodes in the first place. We know CC will never be the dominant ace the Yankees signed up for in 2009, but if he can find just a bit of consistency, then he would really help this rotation.
Can Hiroki Kuroda bounce back from his rough April?
Kuroda’s had a very tough April, with an ERA of over 5. Yankees fans expect this from Kuroda–but not until September. Kuroda is usually very good for the Yankees from April – August before age and effectiveness takes a toll on him. With Nova and Pineda out of the rotation for some time, it’s up to Kuroda to find some consistency and to get back on track. If not–this could be a long season.
Can Masahiro Tanaka continue his dominance?
Masahiro Tanaka’s last outing wasn’t completely dominant, but it looked very good on paper if you didn’t see the game. Regardless, Tanaka has been the Yankees best signing and at this point the Yankees best pitcher. The only question is, if he can continue this trend and give the Yankees a chance to win every time he’s on the mound.
Nuno and Phelps are the two Yankees pitchers that will take Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda’s spot in the rotation for the time being, and their question is can they be effective enough to help the Yankees win. Nuno has been impressive so far, but Phelps has put up sub par numbers when in the starting rotation. With Adam Warren out of the equation (Yankees prefer to keep Warren in the pen), it will have to be up to Nuno or Phelps to help the Yankees find an internal fix.
Or…the Yankees could always trade for Cliff Lee!
What? No? Well, I guess that will forever be a pipe dream of mine.