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Colon, Garcia’s Great Seasons Could Cost Yankees Championship

Freddy Garcia (Willis/AP)

The Yankees are up one game in the American League East over the Red Sox, and this is true largely because of the stellar pitching performances of veterans Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia.

These two veteran retreads have undoubtedly helped the Yankees’ position in the standings, but they may have hurt the team’s chances of winning their 28th championship in 2011.

Both pitchers have thrown the ball so well—they have a combined 18 wins—that Brian Cashman, the general manager of the Yankees, felt that he did not need to trade for a starting pitcher before the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline.

Make no mistake about it; the Yankees need another starting pitcher.

Better Than Advertised

Colon and Garcia have been much better than the brass in the Bronx could have hoped for, but they haven’t been the number two starter the Yankees desperately need.  Can you honestly see either one matching up against Jon Lester in a playoff series and winning?

Colon is 8-8 with an earned run average of 3.71.  Garcia has ten wins to go along with seven losses and a 3.16 ERA.  These numbers are impressive for any part these veterans’ careers.  They are even more impressive when you consider the fact that Colon is 38 years old and Garcia is 35.

The troubling part is both pitchers are starting to show signs of breaking down.

A number two starter needs to throw quality innings deep into a ballgame. Colon and Garcia have, of late, struggled to go six. This includes Colon’s recent five-inning debacle against the Royals. Garcia hasn’t been on the mound in nearly two weeks after suffering a “kitchen accident,” and he hit the DL as a result of it.

A.J. Burnett, who is being paid $16.5 million per year to be the number two starter behind C.C. Sabathia, has not lived up to his contract.  Since signing with the team in 2009, Burnett is yet to beat archrival Boston.

Colon No. 2 For Now

Colon is considered to be the Yankees de facto number two, but consider that he has not pitched this late in the season since 2005 when he won the American League Cy Young Award. Also, his 124.2 innings so far this year are the most he has thrown since 2006 when he was on the hill for 99.1 innings.

Colon spent time on the disabled list earlier this year with a hamstring injury, so the fear of him breaking down is not unfounded. The DL stint may actually be good for the Yankees because this was two weeks where he was resting his arm, but that is just grasping at straws.

The efficient pitching that defined the early part of the year has disappeared. In a recent outing against the Orioles, Colon threw 105 pitches in only five innings. Against the Red Sox on earlier in August, he threw 94 pitches in 4.2 innings.  He labored through five innings again versus the Kansas City giving up five earned runs.

Garcia More Consistent, Less Spectacular

Garcia, who like Colon was a non-roster invitee in Yankees camp, has been the more consistent of the two starters this year. Unlike Colon, though, the flashes of brilliance have not been there.

The most troubling part about Garcia’s season is the amount of base runners he has allowed, as indicated by his 1.31 WHIP (a number that is on par with what his career WHIP – 1.30).

Eventually, the high number of base runners is going to catch up with him, and he is going to start giving up more runs. This is especially true since his batting average against this season (.263) is up by nearly ten points over his career average (.256).

Frozen At The Deadline

Cashman said all the right things after the trade deadline came and went with the Yankees doing nothing.  He said that injured Yankees like starter Phil Hughes and slugging third baseman Alex Rodriguez were going to be the Yankees’ mid-season acquisitions.

If Colon and Garcia haven’t been pitching so well before the trade deadline, the Yankees may have pulled the trigger on a deal for former Colorado Rockies and current Cleveland Indians ace Ubaldo Jimenez.

If the Yankees make the playoffs Colon and Garcia will be a big reason why.  They will also be a big reason why they fail to win the World Series.

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  1. New Post: Colon, Garcia’s Great Seasons Could Cost Yankees Championship http://t.co/Nm2Me1B

    Posted by Sports of New York | August 24, 2011, 3:27 am

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