The last time Chase Whitley toed the rubber as a starting pitcher consistently was during his sophomore season in college. Yet, that hasn’t stopped Whitley from pitching well in that role since making the transition for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A).
Whitley, who began his professional career out of the bull pen and has had success coming in relief for a starting pitcher but now, his role has switched and the success is still there. When asked on how the transition was going for the right-hander he said, “It’s going well. I’m trying to go out there every day and perform and get in a routine. I can’t complain how it’s going.”
The Ranburne, Alabama native is 3-1 in six starts thus far and in 22.1 innings pitched has allowed four runs and has a 28/6 K/BB ratio and is perhaps coming off his best start where he tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings allowing just three hits while striking out eleven against the Indianapolis Indians (Triple-A Pittsburgh).
“I think it’s a matter of whoever is catching and following their lead. They do their prep and going out and performing. Results are what everyone looks at but results don’t matter to me. My job is to throw the pitch to the spot I want it and the results will take place. The job is to go out and pitch and the results will take care of itself,” Whitley said when asked about what’s led to his success this season.
Last season, he filled in as a starter and had success as he went 1-0 in five starts as he posted a 1.64 ERA while holding opposing batters to just a .192 AVG. Prior to those starts, he spent the 2013 season primarily as a relief pitcher as he went 3-2 in 24 appearances aside from the spot starts and finished with a 3.06 ERA allowing just 23 runs in 68 innings of work.
“I think it’s about honing down your adrenaline. In the pen you pitch off adrenaline, as a starter you just go out and pitch. You try and execute each pitch and set the hitter up but at the end of the day it’s still just pitching”, Whitley said when asked about the major difference in pitching as a starter compared to a relief pitcher.
With the Yankees starting rotation becoming decimated with injuries to Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda and most recently CC Sabathia, the 24-year-old will get the start in place of Sabathia on Thursday against the Mets. Whitley hasn’t exceeded typical pitch counts as a starter with his time in Triple-A (hasn’t thrown more than 88 pitches). However, with the current condition the starting rotation is in, he may have a legitimate shot to stick around in pinstripes for a little while if his success in Moosic, Pennsylvania can translate to the Bronx.