Fresh off an exhausting weekend for the elite members of the Yankees bullpen, Joe Girardi has decided to get a little creative with his pitching staff this week. Chad Green will remain in the starting rotation after pitching brilliantly on Sunday against the Padres while the struggling Nathan Eovaldi moves to the bullpen with Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller unavailable today.
Green pitched well enough on Sunday and is dominating to such a degree in Triple-A (1.54 ERA and 11.5 K/9 in 14 starts) that he certainly deserves a shot to stick in the rotation. It would be one matter if he hadn’t really earned this opportunity and the team was super desperate, but Green really caught the Yankees’ eye. Although Justin Wilson might be a fine reliever in Detroit, I’m sure the team appreciates having the improved starting pitching depth with Green and Luis Cessa.
Eovaldi on the other hand has been in an awful slump for quite awhile. At the end of May, he had a 3.71 ERA with almost a strikeout per inning and a .689 OPS against in 10 starts, but it has been an absolute nightmare since then. Friday’s dismal outing against those same Padres, who were shut down by Green and Ivan Nova, capped his poor performances of late. Since the beginning of June, Eovaldi has been torched to a 9.20 ERA and opposing batters are hitting .344/.399/.710 with 12 homers in six starts. That’s a minus.
Although Eovaldi is damn frustrating, using him in the bullpen with Betances and Miller weary is not a bad idea. Of the five starters, his repertoire is the one that will most likely play up the best in short-relief, given his eye-popping velocity. For what it’s worth, Girardi said that Eovaldi would have made his Friday start if Betances and Miller were rested.
If Green impresses again on Friday while facing the hottest team in baseball (Cleveland), then Girardi and the Yankees might have to discuss keeping him in the rotation after the All-Star Break. Whether it means keeping Eovaldi in the bullpen or shifting the lower-ceiling Nova to there instead remains to be seen. The answers should come later in the week.