The main problem, aside from injuries, for the Yankees this season has been their lackluster offense. However, over recent weeks, it has been their lack of pitching depth that has continued to make life difficult. Aside from Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova, the Yankees really don't have a starting pitcher right now that inspires a whole lot of confidence. CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, and Phil Hughes have all struggled for a while now and injuries to David Phelps, Michael Pineda, and Vidal Nuno certainly haven't helped matters. At the same time, the team does have an arm in Triple-A who might be deserving a look if needed, and that's Brett Marshall.
Marshall's first couple months in 2013 couldn't have been more of a nightmare. The 6' 1" right-hander started off with a 7.40 ERA and 6.60 FIP in his first 11 appearances (10 with Scranton, one with the Yankees) and 54.0 innings pitched. Opposing batters even tagged Marshall for a .318/.418/.565 batting line. It was that bad of a train wreck for Marshall early on.
To his credit, Marshall has turned his year around. Since June 13, the 23-year-old has posted a solid 3.58 ERA and 3.99 FIP in 12 starts and 73 innings pitched. The most encouraging thing about his turnaround is that he has limited the home runs in a big way. In his first 11 appearances he allowed 12 home runs in 54.0 IP (2.0 HR/9), but in his recent run of success he has surrendered just six dingers in 73.0 IP (0.7 HR/9). The strikeouts have been identical before and after his turnaround (7.1 K/9, first 11 appearances, 7.1 K/9 last 12 appearances), but he has cut back on the walks during this stretch as well (6.3 BB/9 vs. 3.9 BB/9).
Though Marshall hasn't been quite lights out during his recent success with the RailRiders, he's been pretty serviceable nonetheless. The Yankees play a doubleheader against the Blue Jays on the 20th and will surely need a sixth starter and Marshall happens to be in line to start that day. I guess they could have Adam Warren start the game and have Marshall sort of be his caddy, but the former has struggled of late (5.83 ERA in his last 12 appearances), so who really knows what will exactly happen.
Starting pitching, among other areas, will be a focus of this team once the season concludes. Assuming Kuroda, Pettitte, and Hughes all depart (and that's another topic for another day) following 2013, the Yankees will need to find three starters just to fill out the five-man rotation. Essentially, the only two starters you can say are guaranteed spots in the 2014 rotation are Sabathia and Nova while the rest of the arms (Pineda, Phelps, Nuno) will be coming off injury. If Marshall continues to make strides with Scranton, he could find himself starting games for the 2014 Bombers.