The Yankee rotation is in the midst of one of its hot streaks again, hopefully one that lasts a bit longer than just one turn or a turn and a half through. A big part of that has been the 2 strong outings from Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova, the biggest early underachievers on the staff. It's probably not coincidental that Hughes and Nova have the 2 lowest GB rates amongst the starting staff, but those rates have been trending in the right direction since the start of the season and are likely a big part of their recent turnarounds.
Hughes GB Rate: 30.9% in April, 33.6% in May, 38.1% in June
Nova's GB Rate: 42.5% in April, 46.5% in May, 54.5% in June
Granted, we're dealing with a very, very small sample size this early in June, but Hughes' 9 GB outs in his last start backed up a 10-GB performance at the end of May and marked the 3rd consecutive start in which he's had 8 or more. For a flyball pitcher like Hughes, that's good work. Nova recorded 13 GB outs last night, a season high for him and the 2nd consecutive game in which he's had 12 or more. He said he wanted to get back to generating a lot of GBs and he's doing it.
Each of these guys has different styles and a different mix of pitches, but their recipes for success are one and the same. Locate the fastball, keep it down in the zone, and good things will happen. They've each done that incredibly well in their last start, and if they can continue to follow that path going forward, the rotation can start to become the strength it was expected to be this season.
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