Don’t look now but something is going right in the Bronx. It’s not just recent clutch hits from Carlos Beltran and Didi Gregorius as that would have to happen consistently to truly raise eyebrows. It’s the starting pitching starting to dominate and pitch deep into games.
It would appear Nathan Eovaldi is starting to get comfortable with his splitter and his splitter is starting to make him look like a front-of-the-rotation arm when it’s working. It seems like CC Sabathia is starting to make the transition from power pitcher to control specialist, but we will have to monitor his progress when he comes off the disabled list in a couple of weeks. One would think Masahiro Tanaka is starting to feel some of his 2014 success and Luis Severino and Michael Pineda are showing signs of a turn around.
Here’s a review of each starter’s progress recently:
Pineda: After bottoming out (we think) with a 6.95 ERA (worse than David Price!), in a seven run smackdown by Tampa, Pineda has put together two decent starts in a row against the Red Sox, who until this weekend, were in first place in the American League East and lead the league in batting average. Pineda threw five innings of two run ball and followed it up with six innings of two run ball instead. The 6’7″ righty has now made six starts and given up two runs in three of them, including his most recent two appearances.
Tanaka: Nothing really needs to be said as Tanaka has not struggled this season. The Japanese import had surrendered two runs in all five of his starts until his most recent one, when he hurled eight shutout innings against the Orioles in Baltimore. Tanaka currently sports a 2.29 ERA and has four consecutive quality starts.
Sabathia: For the former ace, it’s been more about pitching deep into games than damage done. In maybe the most surprising stat nobody is discussing, Sabathia and Tanaka have combined for 11 starts this season and given up three runs or less in all of them. Sabathia, who is recovering from a rehab stint for alcohol addiction, has shown signs of a late career turnaround, most recent putting together 13 innings of three run ball in his past two starts. Currently on the DL with a minor groin strain, Sabathia will look to continue to build on his positive start around the third week of May.
Severino: The young righty has been suffering through a sophomore slump of sorts early this year, but did just record his second quality start in five attempts against Baltimore his last time out with six innings of three run ball. Severino has a 6.31 ERA but has quality starts in two of his last three outings.
Eovaldi: Maybe the most intriguing season of the rotation. Eovaldi has lowered his ERA in four of his five outings since giving up five runs in five innings against Houston on April 7th. Very possibly, Eovaldi has been perfecting his splitter, a new pitch to his arsenal he just started using consistently this season. The big righty has three quality starts in his past four outings, and has sandwiched a six run bombing by Boston with eight innings of two run ball his last time out against Boston and seven shutout innings in Texas.