BOSTON – Even if Brian Cashman registers the best week of his long career, he still will not land the Yankees five new starting pitchers by Wednesday's trade deadline.
Therefore, if they want to get to where they desire to go, a few guys currently working on the Yankees' rotation must wake up and deliver. James Paxton.
The Big Maple got pummeled again Friday night, his Fenway Park debut as a Yankee going about as well as Jackie Mason's debut as a sitcom star. Mookie Betts – in only four innings, Paxton wore his club's 10-5 loss to the rival Red Sox, his second straight, and extended a hellacious run of Yankees starting to pitch to an unlucky seven games.
"I wanted to give some length tonight," Paxton said. "Unfortunately, I did not do that. So hopefully we can get this thing turned around starting [Saturday].
About "this thing," ready for the ghastly numbers? In their past seven outings, the Yankees' starters have combined to make 48 earned runs in 27² / ₃ innings pitched, a 1
"Certainly, obviously, we can not deny that we hit a bad stretch here," Cashman said Friday – before the game.
Paxton ranked as Cashman's big get last winter, procured from the Mariners for top pitch prospect Justus Sheffield (who also has underwhelmed, alleviating the paxton pain) and two other minor leagues, and early on, he seemed to be a hit. Most notably, he dominated the Red Sox the first time he faced them as a Yankee, giving them two hits and a walk while striking out 12 over eight innings on April 16 at The Bronx, and he concluded that with two more solid starts before exiting his
Since his return, the 30-year-old has been, well, inconsistent. If not terrible, then certainly not frontline. After absorbing this Back Bay beating, his ERA stands at ugly 4.72.
It gets ugly early in these Paxton outings. Amazingly, when Betts started the bottom of the first with a blast over the Green Monster, Paxton notched his third straight start in which he had surrendered a leadoff homer. Rafael Devers with a base hit and, one out later, J.D. Martinez crushed a two-run homer to left-center field. Paxton's 11am first-inning ERA ranks as the worst among all pitchers who have recorded 10 or more starts, via YES Network statistician James Smyth.
"It's just about getting up for the first inning. Try to bring my best out of the start, "Paxton said. I felt like I was doing a pretty good job of that tonight, but same thing.
"I thought stuff-wise, I thought he was electric," Aaron Boone said of Paxton, citing his impressive ratio of nine strikeouts to no walks.
The Yankees' manager added: "To make every mistake really hit him and cost him. So yeah, it's frustrating when you're out there with, I thought, really good stuff. "
If the Yankees' most important pitching acquisition of last offseason does not find higher ground soon, he'll be drawing comparisons to his New York-phobic predecessor Sonny Gray. And because Paxton has disappointed, Cashman must work harder to find more arm reinforcements and hope they will not turn into Sonny Sequels.
The Yankees' AL East lead remains a robust 8 ½ games over the Rays and nine over the Red Sox , No reason to draw that any closer, though, right? Who wants to lift the Yankees out of their pitching radio?
Paxton has as good a chance as you can right now. If he honors his ceiling, his boyfriend's high-end stuff, boy oh boy wants to increase the Yankees' chances of finishing great – and, in the process, decrease Cashman's blood pressure.