2011 Yankee Season Musings. Pitching

 OK….I know it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged and my loyal readership is probably disappointed in me because of that. But being that the vast majority of that loyal readership exists mostly in my own head, I don’t think that not writing about the Yankees for months is that big of a deal.

 

So Cliff Lee didn’t sign with the Yankees. You know what?….Fine.

He’s a great pitcher and he could’ve helped. But the fact is that he just didn’t want to be a Yankee. And if that’s his attitude, I would rather he not be in pinstripes. Plus, he had expressed that he didn’t want to be traded from the Phillies in the first place. So he’s right where he wants to be.

 

So CC Sabathia will be the opening day starter. And it’s already been announced that AJ Burnett will be the number two starter.

 

Is anyone really surprised by this?

 

The Yankees didn’t pay AJ to be a long reliever. So the question has never been whether or not he would start. But rather whether or not he would rebound from last year’s failure.

 

He’s had a decent spring….He got hit pretty hard in his last outing.

 

There is no doubt that he can be an asset to the Yankees. It’s not his pitching ability as much as it is what’s going on between his ears that will determine his success or failure.

 

Of one thing I’m sure….If AJ fails, it won’t be for lack of trying….And that in and of itself is enough for me to root for him.

 

 

I think Phil Hughes will be in the rotation….And I think he should be.

Yes, he struggled down the stretch last year.

 But I still think he’s got the physical tools and the mental make up to help the Yankees win.

 

I am intrigued at the thought of Ivan Nova getting a shot to start. When he pitched last year there were times that he just looked unhittable. The problem that I remember is that he was less impressive once he got through the batting order the first time. Then, it seemed he was exposed. I don’t know if it was because the hitters were able to anticipate his pitch selection or because he ran out of steam.

But both issues could have/should have been addressed in the offseason….And judging from his last outing, it looks like they have been.

 

So that leaves Sergio Mitre, Freddy Garcia or Bartolo Colon to contend along with Nova for rotation spots.

 

The most impressive thing about Sergio Mitre is the fact that he has Pedro Martinez’s number (#45) As a pitcher he’s been very pedestrian. So I’m going to throw out that I wouldn’t mind seeing him off of the opening day MLB roster.

 

I’ve always liked Freddy Garcia…..But he’s gotten rocked in his last two spring training outings.

 

Right now it looks like Bartolo Colon is in the lead for a rotation spot.

 

I don’t know if I like that. He’s looked really good during the spring of 2011…..But Jeff Weaver looked really strong in the spring of 2003. By the time the Yankees were in the 03 World Series he was out of the rotation…Which didn’t keep him from giving up a walk off homerun to Alex Gonzalez in Game Four.

 

Colon can help. But pitchers with weight issues always seem to have problems staying healthy. Everyone remembers David Well’s perfect game in 1998.  But I also remember him having to leave Game Five of the 03 World Series because of back issues which were no doubt caused by that large fuel tank for a sex machine he had below his chest and above his waste.

 

I have a feeling that the rotation issues will be something Yankee fans will discuss until the trade deadline. And although Brian Cashman has made some boneheaded moves in the recent past (Javier Vazquez and Nick Johnson?…..Really?…..) He has pulled off some good mid season trades over the years as well. (Shawn Chacon, Bobby Abreu and Corey Lidle (RIP) )

 

 

As far as the bullpen is concerned, I am convinced that there is no way you can predict whether or not the ‘pen will be an asset or a detriment until the season is well underway.

 

 I like that the Yankees picked up Rafael Soriano. And of course having Mariano Rivera to close out games is comforting.

 

But the fact that Joba Chamberlain came to camp heavier than last year is cause for the same concern that I have about Colon.

But if Joba can recapture what caused all the hype about him before the whole ‘Joba in the rotation’ experiment BS, than hopefully the slimming effect caused by pinstripes will be proven again in 2011.

 

Boone Logan can be an asset. He expressed that his failure against the Rangers will motivate him to do better….I like that.

 

And I’ve always liked David Robertson. He’s got good stuff and velocity.

 

So can the Yankees compete without Cliff Lee?….Absolutely.

 

 

In coming days, I’ll throw in my two cents about the line up.

 

Take care

 

Go Yankees

 

 

Billy

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