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Yankees Hot Corner – Paxton turning the corner

‘Big Maple’ is finally starting to pitch to his nickname.  The big left-hander James Paxton came into New York with huge expectations.  After trading for him before the season, Brian Cashman had the expectation that Paxton would fill right in as the third starter in the Yankees rotation.

While it’s been a bumpy road so far, due to both incompetent play and injuries, the Yankees are back on track and a lot of that can be attributed to James Paxton.  The lefty over his past two starts has pitched 14 innings total, given up only five hits, has given up zero runs and most importantly has back to back 12 strikeout games.

24 strikeouts in two games is impressive even in this day & age, and the uptick in strikeouts also shows that Paxton is using his nasty stuff correctly.  When Paxton is on, he is one of the best pitchers in the league.  He easily hits high 90s on his fastball and his breaking stuff is excellent when he can find the plate.  When he’s off he loses control of his fastball and his pitches don’t have the same break.

Part of Paxton’s success recently can be seen in his confident demeanor on the mound.  Whether it be the sports psychologist he’s been seeing or just confidence in himself, he looks like a completely different pitcher out there.  He’s in an excellent spot and the Yankees will need him over the next few months as he’s become the de facto #2 starter behind Masahiro Tanaka.  Without him, the Yankees could start to fall behind.

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