AL Notes: Yankees, Miley, Vladito

Joel Sherman of the New York Post had an interesting profile today of a Yankees pitching staff at a crossroads (link). After losing Domingo German and Dellin Betances to suspension and injury, respectively, over the past several days, the AL East-champion Bombers find themselves with a pitching picture very much in flux. “I don’t look at it as frustrating,” pitching coach Larry Rothschild told Sherman. “I look at it as a problem to solve. We have to figure out what we are going to do. You would love to have those two guys obviously. But we don’t, so we have to move forward.” As Sherman points out, German’s loss may be particularly impactful, as his multi-inning ability may force skipper Aaron Boone to opt for a 13-man pen in the playoffs instead of a 12-man pen.

While Chad Green, J.A. Happ, Tommy Kahnle, Adam Ottavino, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Aroldis Chapman, and Zack Britton are all ’locks’ for the postseason staff, the final spots are more of a toss-up after the team’s loss of German and Betances. Luis Cessa, Cory Gearrin, Tyler Lyons, Stephen Tarpley, Ben Heller, and Jonathan Loaisiga are names floated by Sherman as possibilities to round out Boone’s October pen corps.

More notes from around the AL this Saturday eve…

  • The Astros are facing what the Houston Chronicle’s Chandler Rome deems a “full-fledged fourth starter crisis” after another uninspiring performance from the previously steady Wade Miley (link). In Saturday’s game against the Angels, Miley failed to complete more than one inning for the third time in four starts. The 32-year-old Miley had looked to be a coup for the Astros front office after signing a one-year/$4.5MM deal this offseason, with a 3.06 ERA through his first 156 innings this year. Unfortunately, the calendar’s turn to September has spelled doom for Miley, who has allowed 18 earned runs in 7 ⅓ September innings. Manager A.J. Hinch is voicing somewhat of a hedged belief in the experienced lefty: “We’re going to figure it out,” manager A.J. Hinch told Rome. “He’s going to be really effective for us. But given the time, it’s a difficult time to assess because he’s got one start left before we need to make some decisions.” Looking back, regression was probably coming for Miley all along, as those first 156 innings were undermined by a .263 BABIP and 4.36 FIP mark.
  • In a somewhat more humorous note to conclude tonight’s news, Sportsnet’s Arash Madani passes along an eyebrow-raising nugget concerning Blue Jays rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Guerrero Jr., it seems, doesn’t owe his prodigious power to an intensive weight room regimen: “I’ve never worked out at the gym before,” Guerrero Jr. told Madani. “I’ve never lifted weights before.” While it’s roundly mystifying to consider that “Vladito” has achieved phenomenal athletic fame without ever committing himself to either a ’leg’ or ’upper body’ day, it still may be disconcerting to Jays fans taking a sidelong glance at the youngster’s to-this-point suspect defense. Vlad Jr. has logged a -4 DRS figure in 792 innings at third base this year, with 17 errors to his credit. Guerrero Jr. tells Madani that he will be newly committing himself to weight training this offseason with the intent of remaining at third base moving forward.