Friday night at Fenway Park the Yankees will look to bounce back from a thorough depantsing at the hands of the Red Sox on Thursday (BOS 15, NYY 7). The Yankees actually led Thursday’s game 4-0 at one point. .
Staff ace Luis Severino will get the ball Friday night, and, on Saturday, the Yankees will give the ball to pitching prospect Chance Adams for his MLB debut. Joel Sherman of the New York Post was the first to report Adams will be called up. Adams himself confirmed his call-up a little while later.
Adams, 23 and a consensus top-100 prospect coming into the season, has had an uneven season at Triple-A, pitching to a 4.50 ERA with 102 strikeouts and 48 walks in 21 starts and 98 innings. He has been better of late, pitching to a 3.06 ERA in his last seven starts, and taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning last time. MLB.com ranks Adams as New York’s 12th-best prospect.
Here is a snippet of MLB.com’s scouting report:
After sitting at 93-95 mph with his fastball in his first two seasons as pro starter, Adams had offseason surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow and has operated at 91-93 in 2018. His slider has lost a couple of ticks of velocity as well and isn’t as sharp as it has been in the past … Besides regaining his velocity, the key for Adams to reaching his upside as a No. 3 starter will be refining his changeup into a solid third offering … He lives on the corners and the bottom of the strike zone, making it difficult to square him up.
The Yankees are turning to Adams because their rotation has been decimated in recent days, mostly due to poor performance, but also because of illness. The last few days for their rotation have not been pretty:
Cessa had been tentatively scheduled to start Saturday in Happ’s place. Instead, the Yankees needed in him in long relief Thursday, because Lynn was unavailable after pitching in long relief Wednesday. Adams is starting Saturday because Cessa and Lynn (and Gray) won’t be available. Losing Happ to the illness is an unfortunate break. The short starts by Gray and Sabathia have compounded the problem.
The Yankees are throwing Adams right into the fire. He’ll make his MLB debut at Fenway Park in a division race. Truth be told, Saturday would be a good time for the Yankees to use an “opener” a la the Rays. Let a reliever like David Robertson face the big bats in the first inning (Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, etc.), then turn it over to Adams in the second. He might be able to give the Yankees five innings while facing the top of the lineup only once in that case.
Either way, opener or no opener, New York’s rotation is in tatters at the moment, mostly because Gray and Sabathia didn’t perform, but also because Happ is sick. Now they have to call up a pitching prospect — quality pitching prospect, but still a pitching prospect — with a 4.50 ERA in Triple-A to make his MLB debut in a big game against the Red Sox on Saturday.