It's Not Just the Yankees: AL Starting Pitching Is Falling Apart

Ivan Nova. Nathan Eovaldi. Luis Severino. Michael Pineda. If you're like me, a little pin pricks you every time you hear these names. The back 60% of the Yankee rotation has been awful this year. Given the resurgence of CC Sabathia, the dominance of the Yankee bullpen, and the dependability of Masahiro Tanaka, you'd think the Yankees could have made some lemonade this season despite a poor offense. But, as we all know, that has so far not come to pass.

Here's the interesting thing: the Yankees aren't alone here. American League starting pitching is falling apart this season. Take a look at this graph of starter vs. reliever ERAs:

Run scoring is overall up this season (and really since the second half of last season), but most of the change has come from starting pitching. The average starting pitcher now has an ERA of 4.5. After years of diminished run scoring, we've grown accustomed to decent pitchers being able to put up a 3.50 ERA. Now, we're back to those kind of numbers being very good again.

The Yankees? We're sitting with a very average 4.62 ERA for starters and 3.93 for relievers. The non-DMC crew really hold down the relief pitching ERA. 

I don't have much of a lesson to take from this other than to adjust our starting pitcher expectations back to where we placed them in the mid-2000s. Run scoring is coming back.