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Tuesday Is D-day For That Last Rotation Spot

Monday, April 10, 2017 9:09
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(Before It's News)

(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

As the Bombers limp into the Bronx for their Monday home opener with their Opening Day catcher and first baseman on the missing persons list, and oh year, their starting shortstop too… the riddle of the missing starting pitcher must be solved this week as well.

Photo: Corey Sipkin / New York Daily News

Whomever gets the job — be it Jordan Montgomery, Chad Green or some as yet unknown late entry in the competition — must take the mound this Sunday at the Stadium against St. Louis and every fifth game thereafter. Coming up on almost two months to the day since pitchers and catchers first reported, the day of decision is at hand at last. Judging from their latest round of post-camp competition, Montgomery may still have a slight edge over Green, but it’s tight.

But they could have some company. The pair of Yankee prospects teamed up to replace injured Single A Tampa starter James Kaprielian on Thursday when bad weather postponed scheduled openers for the Double A Trenton Thunder and Triple A Scranton-Wilkes Barre RailRiders.

Photo: Newsday

JoMo, a surprise late entry in the spring race is a favorite in some circles to win the role and started the game and put up five innings of three-hit ball against the Lakeland Flying Tigers. He allowing one unearned run on three hits, walking one and striking out eight. He was then relieved by Green who threw the final four innings, giving up one earned run on two hits, no walks and five strikeouts.

Now it’s important to mention that during camp, Green put up an ERA twice as good as JoMo’s — 1.50 vs. 3.20 — but Montgomery’s higher strikeout to walk ratio impressed manager Joe Girardi, pitching coach Larry Rothschild and the good folks in the front office, apparently. So it’s possible Green’s walk-less outing might’ve helped his cause, although their order of appearance might also suggest a more ominous destiny for Green’s arm in Joe’s binder.

Both pitchers will make a final Tuesday start facing a higher level of competition — Jordan for the RailRiders and Green for the Thunder — to make their case for the start against the Cardinals.

And some time shortly after those two Tuesday starts, the Yankees must make their final decision and call the lucky winner with the good news he’s on his way to the Big Apple.

(Reinhold Matay | USA Today Sports)

As we all know, though, from both JoMo’s late insertion into the rotation race and Joe’s and Larry’s ‘love ‘em and leave ‘em’ history with young starters, a wild card entry isn’t out of the question. So I’m going to throw a speculative dark horse of my own into the hunt (if only to get him on the record so I can do a silent victory lap around my living room when he busts through later in the year).  Here’s that “company” I was talking about.  It’s 22-year-old Trenton Thunder righty Chance Adams.

If he doesn’t face the Cardinals on Sunday, he should be breathing down the neck of whoever is very shortly from the rotation in Scranton and sure to be a guy Joe gets “curious” about as soon as the going gets rough for his young new starters.  We like Adams here.

(Reinhold Matay/USA Today Sports)

Dan Lucia wrote about him extensively in YANKEE PROSPECT WATCH: CHANCE ADAMS.

While Green and Montgomery tied knots in  Single A Tigers’ tails to show their stuff, Adams no-hit the Double A Erie SeaWolves for 5.2 innings in his season opener Saturday.

According to’s game account: “Adams was named the Yankees’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year last season after he went 13-1 with a 2.33 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 127 1/3 innings over 25 games (24 starts) with Class A Advanced Tampa and Trenton. And he picked up right where he left off last season.

“A fifth-round Draft pick out of Dallas Baptist in 2015, Adams has excelled ever since he joined the Yankees organization. He was 16-2 with a 2.21 ERA in the Minors prior to his 2017 season debut, while averaging 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings.”

Oh yeah, and his ERA during spring training? 2.25.  Like Green, better than Jordan.

Photo: Ross D. Franklin, AP

The only place Green and Adams really come up short compared to JoMo is in the height department. Montgomery is 6″6′. Green is 6’3″ and Adams is 6’1″. 

The Yankees love their starting pitchers tall because they allegedly can throw harder and with less likelihood of injury, according to a story the Wall Street Journal did awhile back on their preoccupation with the notion that size matters.

Photo Credit: Tom Priddy

But taller or harder, as we all have witnessed firsthand, doesn’t necessarily mean better. Regardless who wins the fifth rotation spot, shoring up the starting pitching is a tall order that, like the team’s rebuild, is far from a finished work.

And on Sunday, the only size that will matter is how big our newest starting pitcher rises to the occasion and how deep he can go into the game.

 –Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore


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