Michael Pineda has been on the disabled list nursing a forearm strain since the end of July and it looks like he will rejoin the Yankees soon. He threw 45 pitches in a rehab start earlier this week, and is set to make another rehab start tonight in Scranton, with the goal of throwing 65 pitches. If everything goes according to plan, Pineda could be activated from the DL as soon as Wednesday. Top prospect Luis Severino has been filling in for Pineda for the past few weeks and he's pitched so well that it's hard to imagine the Yankees removing him from the rotation, and he doesn't deserve to lose his spot either. Instead of removing any of the starters, the Yankees should implement a six-man rotation.
Since his promotion, Severino has made three starts. Two were quality starts, and the third was headed that way if he hadn't been pulled after the fifth inning. Through 17 innings, Severino has 9.53 K/9, 2.12 BB/9, 1.06 HR/9 with a 3.18 ERA, 3.40 FIP and 1.06 WHIP. He held a fearsome Blue Jays' lineup to just one home run, and struck out nine batters in Toronto. He has yet to pick up his first win thanks to mediocre run support and questionable defensive plays behind him, but he has done more than enough to stick in the rotation.
In fact, all of the Yankee starters have pitched well recently and there is a strong argument to be made against removing any of them. Ivan Nova has only allowed four or more runs to score in two of the nine starts he has made since coming off of the disabled list. Meanwhile, Masahiro Tanaka just pitched a complete game against the Blue Jays, allowing just one run to score. Since the All-Star break, Nathan Eovaldi is sporting a 3.55 ERA, 3.37 FIP, and opponents are batting just .240 against him.
Even CC Sabathia, who has been roughed up the past few seasons, has pitched better as of late. He gave up just three hits and one run while striking out eight Red Sox near the beginning of the month, and he followed that up with a two-run start against Cleveland. Sabathia didn't fare as well against the Twins this week, but he only gave up one home run. Considering how much Sabathia has struggled to keep the ball in the yard this season (1.66 HR/9), it is an improvement to see him give up just one home run in a span of three starts. If the Yankees wanted to stick to a five-man rotation, then it would make the most sense to see Sabathia lose his job, however, the Yankees have shown all season that they have no intention of moving him out of the rotation.
Using six starters would be especially helpful based on the upcoming schedule, and Joe Girardi has said that a six-man rotation is something that the team will think about doing. The season is winding down and the Yankees only have three off days remaining between now and October, not to mention the fact that almost the entire rotation has injury concerns. They play fourteen straight games, followed by an off day then play 17 straight games to finish the regular season. With the postseason (hopefully) right around the corner, what better time to give everyone an extra day of rest?
Would you like to see the Yankees use a six-man rotation for the rest of the season, or would you rather see someone lose their spot when Pineda comes back?