Will the real James Paxton please stand up?
Paxton has a 1-2 record and a 6.00 ERA through 15 innings so far this season, his first in pinstripes.
When the New York Yankees acquired James Paxton in a trade with the Seattle Mariners last November, the team, as well as the fans, thought the Yankees were getting a big game pitcher to pair with Luis Severino to anchor the rotation. Fast forward to today, April 16, 2019, and the Yankees have not gotten anything close to what they had expected. Since Luis Severino has yet to make his season debut, the Yankees needed the rest of the rotation, especially Paxton, to step up, and so far, it has not been pretty.
This season, Paxton has a 1-2 record and a 6.00 ERA through 15 innings. Although it is still only April, and there is still plenty of time for Paxton to get back to his normal form, the Yankees need him to figure it out soon, since no other starting pitcher has emerged to lead the way yet. While this probably is all an adjustment period for Paxton, and he is still getting used to pitching with a new team, it just is magnified a little more due to the numerous injuries that the Yankees are experiencing. Paxton should adjust by the end of April or early May, since that is usually how long it has taken players to adjust with the Yankees in previous seasons. Once he does, and more players come back, the Yankees will be able to get on a winning streak and go from there.
However, there is one thing that Paxton needs to fix immediately. During his start against Houston, Paxton, along with former Yankee Carlos Beltran, who is a special assistant, revealed that Paxton was tipping his pitches, which is when a pitcher unintentionally makes it obvious which pitch he is throwing. In Paxton’s case, the Astros runners were noticing from second base and picked up when he was throwing a knuckle curve. Paxton gave up five runs and eight hits in four-plus innings. While that is a major concern that needs to be fixed ASAP, that is not the only reason why Paxton has struggled. He has also struggled with command issues and has had trouble locating his pitches as well.
While he most likely is just adjustment issues, it is still important that Paxton figure out his pitching struggles sooner than later. He was dominant with the Mariners and needs to carry that over soon, especially there has not been a clear cut ace that has stepped up in Severino’s absence. This is a prime opportunity for Paxton to prove that he can be the ace that he was in Seattle and move past the early season struggles that he, and the team, have endured. It is annoying to see the season start like this, but it’s better to go through these growing pains now than have to endure them during the season. Every team goes through a slide at some point in the season, and since the Yankees have not been at full strength all year, they have not been able to show who they really are yet. They will be at full strength at some point this season, but until then, the healthy players need to get back on track, and that includes James Paxton.
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