Quality starts a goal as Yanks aim to save 'pen

Quality starts a goal as Yanks aim to save 'pen

Quality starts a goal as Yanks aim to save 'pen
NEW YORK -- With two trips through the Yankees' rotation in the books, the team's starting pitchers have combined to toss just two quality starts entering Tuesday's contest against the Twins. That's not what any club wants to see, particularly one going through a stretch of 13 games in as many days.

"When you're in a real long stretch, 13 games in a row and 19 out of 20 days, the bullpen's getting more use than you want," manager Joe Girardi said. "We do need to get some quality starts so we don't have to go to insurance, because there are days when you have guys down and your bullpen's limited."

New York's bullpen entered Tuesday with a 2.36 ERA (nine earned runs in 34 1/3 innings of work), good for fifth-best in the Majors.

Team ace CC Sabathia -- who starts Tuesday -- has two no-decisions on the year, allowing a total of nine earned runs in 12 innings of work in games against the Rays and Orioles.

The Yankees' only two quality starts came on April 9 (Ivan Nova allowed two earned runs in seven innings for the victory against Baltimore) and April 13 (Hiroki Kuroda threw eight shutout innings).

The weather in New York is heating up, and Girardi hopes his starters' performances will follow suit.

"The weather can affect the pitcher the same way it affects a hitter, in a sense, when you have some cold days," he said. "Sometimes the arm strength, you never know when a pitcher's going to go through a little bit of a dead-arm phase. To me, command has probably been the biggest issue -- not to where we've walked a lot of people, but where we've got too much of the plate."