Despite need for starter, Yankees have some good options in place
The second half of the 2019 baseball season has begun and while the New York Yankees currently have the best record in the American League, they still have room for improvement, primarily with starting pitching.
The Yankees need another starter to solidify their rotation if they want to win the World Series. They will actively be shopping for a starter at the trade deadline, according to general manager Brian Cashman. However, their current rotation has some bright spots in Domingo German, and also Masahiro Tanaka.
German had a lot of success on Friday night against the Blue Jays, going six shutout innings, giving up three hits and striking out seven batters. He has been a big surprise for the Yankees and has stepped up in place of injured starter Luis Severino as the ace of the starting rotation. German currently has an 11-2 record with a 3.40 ERA and 90 strikeouts. He will continue to be relied upon throughout the second half of the season, but he does have an innings limit that the Yankees plan to use. The innings limit is a disputable practice, as some believe it hurts a pitcher and a team that may be successful, and that the pitchers should just go out and pitch.
The other side of the argument is that despite suddenly removing a successful pitcher from the rotation, the innings limit is necessary because it prevents injury or future lack of production. Hopefully, German will be able to be conserved so he may pitch in the postseason.
As for Tanaka, he has not been dominant throughout the season but has gotten the job done. He has a 6-5 record with a 3.81 ERA and 95 strikeouts. He has been anchoring the Yankee rotation by giving the team solid outings when he pitches. He has a tendency to give up solo home runs during his starts, which is an issue that has affected him throughout his career. The one thing about Tanaka that eases Yankee fans is that towards the end of the season and during the postseason, he becomes a better pitcher and has shown that in the past.
The Yankees will still pursue a pitcher and there are a lot of options out there, but overall they need somebody who has experience pitching well in the playoffs and be cool under pressure. The last few pitchers that the Yankees acquired near the deadline in 2017 and 2018 were ineffective for the most part. Sonny Gray was decent in the second half of the 2017 season but did not fare well in the playoffs nor the next season.
In 2018, the Yankees acquired J.A. Happ and Lance Lynn, who were in similar situations. Happ was one of the best pitchers in the Yankee rotation in the second half, having a 7-0 record after the trade, but crumbled in the playoffs against the Red Sox. Lynn was solid for the Yankees, earning a 3-2 record after the trade, but was acquired mainly for depth in the back end of the rotation. He is now pitching for the Texas Rangers and has the most wins in baseball.
If the Yankees can acquire a pitcher that thrives in big games and can contribute in the playoffs, then they will be fine. The Yankees have a loaded team and are well-equipped offensively and in the bullpen. Once they acquire another starter, they should be a threat in the postseason.
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