Chase Whitley is back and getting his first start of the 2015 season tonight thanks to the Yankees pushing back their rotation a day. Whitley was 4-3 with a 5.23 ERA in 12 starts last season. So, no, he's not usually a starter. He was used out of necessity last season when injuries began to plague the starting rotation.
The last time Whitley faced Tampa was last September 10. He was forced to come into the game after that day's starter, Chris Capuano, coughed up four runs in just a 1/3 of an inning of work. Whitley kept Tampa at bay for 2 2/3 innings and gave up one hit, struck out two and walked one. He threw 41 pitches, 24 for strikes. The day before, in another game when the starter was roughed up a bit - this time it was Hiroki Kuroda - Whitley pitched 1 1/3 innings with one walk, two strike outs and he didn't give up a hit. He threw 15 pitches, nine for strikes. The only hit he gave up in those appearances was a two-out double by Yunel Escobar.
Here are all the pitches in Whitley's arsenal:
And here's his maximum velocity on those pitches:
And here's where he likes to throw them:
Whitley gave up 10 home runs in 75 2/3 innings last year - four to righties and six to lefties. He gave up two to David Ortiz and also gave up home runs to guys like Jose Bautista and Chris Davis who are the guys on opposing teams that you expect to hit home runs. One plus is that he didn't give up any long balls to the Rays. And if he does tonight, you know who to blame.
What the Yankees really need from Whitley tonight is some length. They have needed to call on the bullpen a lot already this season and while it has been lights out the past two weeks or so, this trend cannot continue all season.
Whitley's innings high in 2014 came in a game against the Seattle Mariners on June 12 where he went 7 2/3 innings, gave up two runs on five hits with six strike outs and he didn't walk a batter. He made his first start of 2014 in a game against the Mets just about a month earlier. The Yankees won that game but Whitley didn't get a decision. He only lasted 4 2/3 innings and was taken out because he was up to 74 pitches.
Let's just hope that tonight's result for Whitley is more like the Seattle game and not the Mets game or the bullpen will be in for another long night.