Saturday, June 22, 2024

Yankees’ superb starting pitching accomplishes feat not seen in 131 years

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The New York Yankees boast baseball’s best record, and of course, the insane duo of Aaron Judge and Juan Soto have played a large role.

But no one could have predicted what was coming out of their rotation, and that’s without reigning Cy Young Award winner Gerrit Cole.

Yankees starters own the second-lowest ERA in all of baseball at 2.73 – two-thousandths of a run more than the Philadelphia Phillies‘.

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The New York logo is displayed on a hat during the Braves game on Aug. 14, 2023, at Truist Park in Atlanta. (Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

But the stretch their rotation has been on over the last two-and-a-half weeks is, quite literally, unprecedented.

After Nestor Cortes tossed five innings of two-run ball on Tuesday night (both runs came on a first-inning homer by Kevin Pillar), it was the 15th-consecutive outing in which a starting pitcher in pinstripes allowed two or fewer runs in five or more innings.

It now ranks as the longest such streak since the mound was moved to its current distance – 60’6″ – way back in 1893.

The Yankees’ rotation was perhaps their biggest question mark in spring training, especially after Cole went down with an elbow injury – Carlos Rodon was a bust in his first year of a $162 million contract in 2023, Cortes had fallen off, rookie Luis Gil had slid into the No. 5 start, free-agent signing Marcus Stroman had been inconsistent, and Clarke Schmidt pitched to a 4.64 ERA last year. Nothing helped when Cortes allowed three runs in the first inning on Opening Day.

Nestor Cortes

Nestor Cortes of the New York Yankees throws against Los Angeles at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 28, 2024. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

However, only one of their starters (Cortes) has an ERA of over 3.00 this season. In fact, it’s the rookie in Gil who has been the most dominant, pitching to a 2.11 ERA and striking out 11.4 batters per nine innings.

Despite making history, the Yanks fell to the lowly Los Angeles Angels, 4-3, as Clay Holmes blew the save on his first pitch out of the bullpen in the eighth inning.

The loss dropped the Yankees to 37-19, and it was their second loss in a row – of course, causing panic in the Bronx, despite it being just the sixth time all year they’ve lost consecutive games.

The success of the rotation has many people wondering who, if anybody, will slide to the bullpen upon Cole’s return, which could happen next month. 

Stroman and Nestor

Marcus Stroman and Nestor Cortes before the Houston Astros game at Yankee Stadium on May 7, 2024, in New York. (New York Yankees/Getty Images)

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However, there clearly is no reason to rush him.

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