Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sunday Shaping Up To Be Slow

I said on Thursday afternoon that the past 2 days would clear the waters in terms of what the Yankees planned to do before the trade deadline tomorrow, and after the past 2 days, I'm thinking there isn't going to be anything major that happens.  Long story short, the rotation stepped up and answered the call.

On Friday night A.J. was unlucky that every hit he gave up was a big one, but he also threw 8 innings and struck out 10 batters.  His stuff was solid, and the results were unfortunate thanks to the bad BABIP luck and the lack of offensive support, but he did nothing to indicate that he wasn't worthy of pitching in the postseason and everything to indicate that the Yankees can be confident in him moving forward.

Today, Bartolo labored through 5 tough innings, but still managed to only allow 2 runs and rack up another 6 Ks.  He did nothing to suggest that his performance moving forward was going to be anything to the contrary of what he's already done.  He's healthy, he's no longer concerned about his hammy, and he continues to pitch well.  Numbers-wise, he's been a viable #2 all year.

Then in the recently-concluded nightcap of the doubleheader, Ivan Nova pitched a damn good game.  He was overshadowed by the offense explosion, but 7 innings of 2-run ball with only 7 baserunners allowed and 6 Ks against the best hitters of the Baltimore lineup is impressive.  Nova even got 8 swinging strikes on his 98 pitches.  He was aggressive, efficient, and confident out there on the mound and should have secured his position as the next in line for the remainder of the year should somebody get hurt or Phil Hughes continue to struggle.

Obviously there is no way to predict how any pitcher will perform in pressure situations or in the playoffs against good teams.  But the Yankee pitchers who took the mound today and yesterday showed that they are capable of handling the job and made the likelihood of finding something better in the trade market very unlikely.  Throw in the fact that Ubaldo just got traded to Cleveland and Kuroda announced he wouldn't accept a trade anywhere and we're shaping up for a very quite final day tomorrow.  Sure, they may add a bench bat or a bullpen arm that we haven't heard much about, but from here on out I think it's safe to say the Yankees are going to roll with what they've got in the rotation.