Jordan Montgomery was STELLAR Last Night; Let's Review His Season Thus Far

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With the current state of the Yankees fragile starting rotation, Jordan Montgomery turned in the best performance of his short career last night. It’s been a rather up and down rookie season for the southpaw, but for the most part he’s showed lots of promise through the eye ball test. To begin his career, Montgomery faced the Rays at home and was one pitch away from striking out the side. He made one big mistake after walking a few men and it led to an early 2-0 hole. After that, Jordan settled down and kept New York in the game long enough for the bats to come alive.

Over his next four starts Monty settled into a groove, getting deep into games while allowing no more than three runs in any start. He utilized all four of his pitches very well, especially when men were on base. In any Montgomery start you tend to see men on base frequently, but what Jordan does best is evade trouble. Is this the best habit to get into? Not at all, but it shows you he’s mature beyond his years when you see him escape first and second nobody out situations.

In the next two starts, against the Astros and Royals, Monty pitched fine until about the fourth or fifth when he gave up the big home run. In either start the Yankees failed to score until the 9th anyways which is never a good thing. He struggled with his fastball command and left a lot of his pitches in the zone, easy to hit. He got roughed up in both starts and there was a tiny bit of buzz about if he should go back to AAA to work on some things.

And then last night happened. In his most important start of the season, considering his recent struggles, Monty turned in the best start of his career. What made Montgomery the highly touted minor league pitcher in his career was his stellar command. You hadn’t seen that from the rookie in his previous starts, where three of which he walked three or more batters. For a guy who doesn’t necessarily have dominating stuff, Jordan needs to command the zone at a high level if he’s going to be successful in the big leagues. Last night he didn’t walk anyone, a first for his major league career. Monty’s accuracy was pin point, and most importantly his fast ball command was money in the bank. He allowed only two hits in 6.2 innings, and came out of the game with a 2-1 lead with his only mistake being a poorly located fastball right down broadway to Lorenzo Cain on a 1-2 count.
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Because Monty’s location was so on for 99% of the night, this happened with no men on base and still kept the Yanks out in front. Now for whatever reason Binder Joe decided to yank the rook before finishing the 7th, leading to the lead being blown by the pen, but it shouldn’t take away from how good Monty was in a pressure-packed start. After those two hiccup starts there may have been some thought about giving Chad Green a shot in the rotation, not that I was one of those advocators by any means. Monty tends to get the short end of the stick in terms of run support as in four of his eight starts the Yanks have scored two runs or less. For an offense that is up there in the top 5 of almost all hitting categories, you’d think run support wouldn’t be an issue for any pitcher. It’s unlucky for Monty, but these things balance themselves out over the course of a season, just ask Chris Sale.

This was a massive start for the southpaw, and it will absolutely instill some much need confidence for his next start against the A’s on Sunday. I’m curious to see if Romine is out there catching on Sunday, since he caught last night. Monty’s recent struggles before this start came with Gary behind the plate, and in the month of April his success came with Kyle Higashioka calling the game. Maybe there’s something to look into there? We’ll have to see I guess.

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