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Can the Yankees Win With Their Current Rotation?

The New York Yankees are currently in second place in the American League East just one game behind the first place Tampa Bay Rays.

The Yankees have lost two straight with two straight horrible outings by their starting pitching. On Sunday, starter Masahiro Tanaka allowed 10 hits along with 7 runs in only 5 innings of work and the Yankees lost 12-4. However, in Tanaka’s three previous starts he gave up just a combined 4 runs in 21 innings while striking out 21 and not walking anyone. One bad start should not derail what should be a solid season for the right-hander.

On Monday, Michael Pineda continued the pitching woes for New York with a start that might have been worse than Tanaka’s. He gave up 8 runs on 11 hits across 3 1/3 innings, with New York losing 11-8.

Pineda did not have his slider and ended up with no strikeouts in the game.

The big question many are asking in New York is should the team be worried about its starting rotation. The group is No. 12 in the American League in ERA. With the Yankees only a game out of first and the season not yet half over, a trade now would be too early, the situation could get better and if not, then before the deadline make some moves.

The elbow of Tanaka should be more of a worry than the way he pitched on Sunday. The Yankees have since the opening game considered a backup plan in case Tanaka goes down. They have Chris Capuano sitting in the bullpen and Ivan Nova with three rehab starts in the minors who is returning from last season’s Tommy John surgery and will start Wednesday.

Pineda of late is inconsistent which is definitely frustrating for his coaches. His slider has not been up to par and hitters are teeing off on that pitch.

The Yankees should be patient as well because the rest of their division is not that strong. At just 6 games over .500, the Yankees are within one game of leading the division. The Yankees are second in the AL in ERA from the rotation; while the division’s other four teams are between 11th and 15th.

If the defense were a bit stronger the pitching would follow. Not all the runs scored against the Yankees are on the defense that is certain, but the team has not been good defensively this season. Just two teams have a lower Defense Runs Saved than do the Yankees.

Weakness exists at third base, second base and right field. Chase Headley at third should improve as he is a solid fielder, but Stephen Drew and Carlos Beltran at second and right need to play better or be changed.

The season is long. Only 70 games have been played with 92 remaining so the Yankees have plenty of time to make pitching changes down the line.

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