Friday, July 15, 2011

Yankees Still On Break

The Yankees have had two games since the All-Star break, but apparently no one has notified them yet. Thursday they started with an embarrassing 16-7 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. Friday night the Yankees were doubled to death by Toronto in a 7-1 loss. The two games have exposed the elephant in the room/stadium. The Yankees starting pitching staff is still a question mark.

The rotation had exceeded expectations during the first half, but cracks began to show when Bartolo Colon went on the DL with a hamstring injury. Colon has made two starts since being activated and is pitched poorly both times out. After Thursday night's first inning exit, Colon admitted he's been tentative due to his leg injury. Colon's success in the first half was due to his blazing fastball and aggressive approach.

Colon's allowed five runs in 5.2 innings against Tampa Bay on July 7, but things went worse for him last evening. He had trouble getting over to first base to cover on a grounder to Mark Teixeira and couldn't move quickly enough on a pair of swinging bunts on the third base side of the mound.

In fairness to Garcia, he entered Friday evening on a streak of five straight starts with three runs or less allowed and at least six innings pitched. But Friday night Garcia hung one breaking pitch after another to the tune of five doubles in five innings. That is the problem when you have two aging starters whose best days are behind them. Colon has had physical issues for a number of years, while Garcia is no longer the hard thrower he once was. If he's on, he's terrific, but when he's not you get games like tonight's.

The Yankees still need to improve the rotation for the long haul of the second half. Whether it is Ivan Nova or a pitcher acquired through a trade, something needs to be done.

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