Jordan Montgomery Looks Like a Find For The Yankees

Coming into the season the Yankees supposedly had too many question marks in the starting rotation to be a legitimate playoff contender. Well, it’s June 9 and the Yankees have only used five starting pitchers.

One is rookie southpaw Jordan Montgomery, who improved to 4-4 on Friday night. The lefty gave up two runs in seven innings as the Yankees beat the Orioles 8-2 in front of a sellout crowd.

“So far,” Montgomery said when asked if this was the best start of his young career. “I’m starting to trust my stuff a little more. Just kind of throw it in there. Whatever happens happens.”

He fell to 2-3 on May 18 after a bad start in Kansas City and there were some questions concerning whether he would lose his spot in the rotation. He surrendered five runs in five innings in that start but made some changes afterward.

“I just slowed my tempo down, let my arm get up, just throwing the ball,” Montgomery said. “Not trying to overthrow or aim it, but just let the ball come out of my hand and trust that the grip and the spin’s going to make it go the way I want it.”

Montgomery struck out three in the first, working around a single. In the second, Jonathan Schoop crushed a two-run homer but that was all the Orioles would get. Baltimore did collect two more hits in the inning, including one from former Met Ruben Tejada, but the lefty limited the damage. “He didn’t let it snowball,” Girardi said.

Not only did he not let it snowball, Montgomery retired 17 of the final 18 batters he faced.

“And then after that, he settled in pretty nicely,” Girardi said, adding that the lefty and catcher Gary Sanchez executed the game plan well.

Montgomery struck out a career-high eight batters. While Masahiro Tanaka’s struggles and the offensive explosions have been the main stories so far, the starting rotation has been quietly consistent. Montgomery, Luis Severino, C.C. Sabathia, and Michael Pineda all have ERAs under 3.70. The Yankees are the only AL team to have used only five starters this deep in the season.

Montgomery has allowed the fewest home runs of the five starters. The team has not allowed a hit with a runner in scoring position this month.

This win came against an Oriole team that Montgomery failed to make it out of the fifth inning against 11 days ago. On Friday, he pitched a career-high seven innings.

The Yankees are living a charmed life at the moment. Even a rookie who surprised many and made the team out of spring training is developing into a reliable starter.

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