Rewind the calendar about six weeks ago. It was full-fledged panic mode in Yankees land. The Yankees started the season 5-10. They were 2-8 against the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays and actually played worse than that 5-10 record would indicate.
Over that fifteen game stretch, I couldn’t really pinpoint one particular element that was working well for the team. That said, I always expected the Yankees to find their groove at some point in the regular season, because after all a team with that much talent is usually going to perform to the back of the baseball card.
The Yankees have done exactly that. Since the 5-10 stretch, the Yankees have won a whole lot of series. I’d make the argument that their most impressive series of the year was this past weekend against the Chicago White Sox.
The White Sox are one of the most talented teams in baseball and a team the Yankees will likely meet come October. The Yankees won two dramatic games and found a way to sweep one of the hottest teams in all of baseball. The negative vibes of early and mid-April have turned into walk offs and Gatorade showers postgame.
So, what’s been the biggest difference from the Yankees in April to the Yankees of right now.
Well, it’s the pitching stupid! Since mid-April, the Yankees starting rotation has been amongst baseball’s best units. Sure, offense is down throughout the sport. We all know that, but that does not in any way take away from what the Yankees rotation has been able to do.
Heading into Tuesday’s matchup against the Blue Jays, the Yankees starting rotation has hurled 35 consecutive scoreless innings. It helps when you have Gerrit Cole who clearly profiles as baseball’s second-best pitcher, but he has had a whole lot of help recently. Corey Kluber has so far lived up to the billing of being a legitimate number two starter. He has flashed the form we saw from 2014-2018 with the Cleveland Indians and threw the Yankees first no hitter in 21 years last Wednesday against Texas.
In addition to Kluber, Domingo German and Jordan Montgomery have been durable and reliable arms that have exceeded expectations. The Yankees rotation went into the season with all sorts of questions and two months into the season, it has provided a whole lot of answers.
It may not be the case for all four starters not named Gerrit Cole, but I do believe the success of the rotation throughout the last six weeks is sustainable. The Yankees have put together the best rotation they have had in about ten years and remember help is on the way.
At some point, former ace Luis Severino will make his return to the team from Tommy John surgery. Who knew that two months into the year, the success of the team would be tied to its pitching staff?
That’s baseball Suzyn!
You can listen to my podcast New York, New York every Sunday Night, Tuesday Night & Thursday Night on the Ringer Podcast Network on Spotify and Apple. Plus bonus episodes on Wednesday & Friday Night after both Knicks Playoff Games.