There are plenty of ways to go with this one.
Rafael Soriano has filled Mariano Rivera’s shoes, which is pretty much an impossible task. He’s 20-for-21 in save opportunities, has a 1.60 ERA and has thrown more innings than any other full-time reliever. But even that innings total is roughly a third of a starter’s workload, and I just find it hard to think of a relief pitcher as a Cy Young candidate. He’s probably been the Yankees best pitcher, but I’m not sure that means he’s been their first-half Cy Young.
Andy Pettitte has the lowest WHIP and ERA in the rotation, but he’s also made just nine starts. CC Sabathia is an all-star with nine wins and a 3.45 ERA, but he wasn’t really pitching like the staff ace when the Yankees went on that terrific run that pushed them into first place.
In my mind, the Cy Young of the Yankees first half is Hiroki Kuroda, who’s sprinkled a few clunkers into a season that’s been mostly outstanding. After taking the loss in the game that momentarily dumped the Yankees into last place, Kuroda has pitched to a 2.47 ERA in his past eight starts. And his ERA was well below 2.00 in that stretch before he had a rough night during that series opener in Boston on Friday.
Really, what’s made the Yankees pitching staff so good for the past two months or so has been the depth, and that’s part of what makes the first half Cy Young such an up-for-debate decision. Guys like Boone Logan, Cody Eppley and Clay Rapada have done their jobs extremely well, and both Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes have become reliable middle-of-the-rotation starters.
There is strength in numbers on this staff, not one guy clearly carrying all of the weight.
Associated Press photo