Saturday, June 7, 2014

Don't Sleep On Chase Whitley

(Courtesy of the AP)

The Yankees have battled rotation inconsistencies since Opening Day.  Be it the underperformance of CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda, the injuries to Sabathia, Ivan Nova, and Michael Pineda, or the uneven, all-or-nothing nature of their injury replacements, the only thing constant about the group has been the non-constantness with which it has operated.  Except for Tanaka of course.

Well, him and the newest member of the injury-replacement brigade.  Chase Whitley took a spot in the rotation on May 15th, replacing Sabathia and becoming the "new" 5th starter.  He's made 5 starts in that spot and pitched to a 2.42/2.26/3.74 triple slash in 26.0 innings pitched.  He's been worth 0.9 fWAR in those 5 starts, tied for 2nd best among all team starters with Kuroda, and has helped to somewhat stabilize the back end of the rotation.  Last night he had his best start to date, pitching 7 innings of 2-run and not walking a batter while striking out 3.  Is this for real?  How is he doing this?

Quick Hit: Big Mac And Little Jake Starting To Wake Up

Brian McCann Last 10 Games: 10-33, 4 2B, 5 RBI, 4 BB, 3 K

Jacoby Ellsbury Last 10 Games: 16-40, 2 2B, 1 HR, 5 R, 7 RBI, 4 BB, 5 K, 6 SB

It hasn't been a great 10-game stretch for the Yankees in terms of team-wide production or W-L record, but their top 2 free agent position players are starting to come around after rough Mays.  McCann has slowly boosted his batting average above .230 for the season, although the consistent HR power stroke has yet to materialize, and Ellsbury has raised his back over .280 after dipping below .260 at the end of last month.  He has an 11-game hitting streak and was finally starting to be productive from the 3-spot before Joe moved back to leadoff for last night's game.

I need more than a good 10-game stretch to convince me that these 2 are getting back to offensive homeostasis, but there are good signs in what each has been doing at the plate.  Normal productive months from them paired with the returns of Teix and Beltran should bring some respectability back to the lineup.

Game 60 Wrap-Up (Abridged Version): NYY 4 KC 2

Didn't pay one ounce of attention to this game.  I was out doing Friday night stuff.  Maybe I should take that approach more often.  The Yankees usually seem to win when I have zero involvement.

Game Notes:

- Chase Whitley had the best start of his career, throwing 7 innings of 2-run ball and giving Joe an easy bridge to his best bullpen guys.

- Brian Roberts singled in the first Yankee run in the 2nd.  Brian McCann had the big hit with a base-clearing 3-run double in the 3rd.

- Dellin Betances struck out 2 in a scoreless 8th inning, D-Rob worked around a couple baserunners with 2 strikeouts of his own in the 9th.  They should all be this easy from a pitching perspective.