Wade still has a pretty great pitching line for the season. His 2.84 ERA is backed by a 2.95 FIP and a 2.18 SIERA. He also has struck out 9.95 batters per nine innings to go along with a clean 1.42 walks per nine rate. That is a pretty special 7.0 strikeout to walk ratio. But frankly, his stuff hasn’t been there lately. He has given up runs in three of his last five outings and has not struck out a batter in his last three appearances. What is the most bothersome is his velocity. Consider the following chart via Fangraphs (click on the chart to see it better):
PitchF/X has his four-seam fastball down a full MPH from last year and he is averaging just 87.6 MPH. His two-seam fastball is down a full 2.4 MPH from last season and is only averaging 88.3 MPH. And here is why his strikeout rate does not seem sustainable: His swinging strike rate this season is only 5.0 percent. That is half the rate he displayed last season when batters swung and missed 10.1 percent of the time. Combine that with the fact that batters are not swinging at his pitches out of the strike zone as much this year (O-rate of 26.7 this year compared to 31.2 percent), and there is reason to believe that by the end of the season, his strikeout rate should plummet as the season goes along.
Cory Wade was a great surprise last season as the fourth or fifth option out of the bullpen. He was much the same earlier this season. But when he becomes the second guy in the bullpen’s pecking order, then there is a problem and that problem is starting to manifest itself more and more with each passing game.
David Robertson needs to get back in a hurry. As long as the starters are getting the ball directly to Soriano, the Yankees have thrived. But if there needs to be a bridge, then that bridge is burning and made of ropes.