How many Yankee fans expected Carl Pavano to return to the roster this year and offer solid production? I can not say that I was one of them. If someone told me that Pavano’s next appearance has been pushed back because of a bizarre gardening accident, you would not count me as surprised despite the eerie parallel to one of the best films ever made. If his most recent story is to believed, his traffic accident involving a garbage truck is ironic on the sort of level as would be a hypothetical injury to Jaret Wright caused by a blow to the head by a model biplane while riding a bicycle.
While on the subject of Wright, after three consecutive respectable starts in August, he has been shaky with 10 runs allowed in 8.2 innings over four appearances, three of them starts. The stress of throwing a bit shy of five innings over the course of a season as a starter may have taken its toll. Months ago I suggested it may be a good move for him to go to middle relief. I made that suggestion convinced that the Yankees would get an above average arm or two before July 31st; they got one arm, but will it be enough?
New York got Corey Lidle, and to my surprise, he has been about average. I thought he would take more of a beating coming over from the National League. His 4.15 ERA in 26 innings pitched has resulted in two wins and three losses for the team, the last coming at the hands of the Angels over the weekend in which he took a no-decision but was beaten rather soundly and removed before the end of the fourth. The Angels’ onslaught would have been much worse had it not been for two base runners thrown out stealing by Sal Fasano.
There is no reason to think that Mike Mussina needs to return to action with any haste, considering the state of affairs in the AL East. Remember the crowing that was going on about how tough the East was back in late May, when New York took three of four and Boston took two of three in consecutive series against the Tigers at
Comerica Park Tiger Stadium? Aside: I am sorry, that is just what it should be: Tiger Stadium. The AL East battles prior to the restructuring are some of the favorite memories of my youth, and I knew the Tigers because of that rivalry. Gehringer, Morris, Kaline, Greenburg, McClain, Trammell, Parrish, Sparky, so many others, especially my favorite, Sweet Lou, deserve a better hallmark. You decide for yourself if you think Cobb does. My lady is from Detroit, and is a rabid Tigers fan. She says that is what everyone she knows calls the new park anyway. Where am I going with this? I need an editor.
Anyway, Chien-Ming Wang, Randy Johnson, Wright and Lidle are the next four projected starters. Jeff Karstens will likely get the start on September 2nd since Moose is ineligible to start against the Twins, healthy or not. If Wright completely self-combusts (a distinct possibility), who might we see as the next fifth starter?
Darrell Rasner is finally off the DL and pitched six innings for a ND in an 8-4 victory for Columbus over Charlotte last night, giving up 7 hits and 3 runs with 5 ks and no walks. Colter Bean threw seven innings the day before with 3 hits and a run with 6ks and 1 bb in his ND against Indianapolis (Columbus won the game 2-1). Phillip Hughes is still in Trenton with his 2.35 ERA and .93 WHIP. Drool. I haven’t read anything to indicate he will play anywhere else this
The series with the Tigers and Twins have implications in the playoffs regarding home-field advantage and represent an important test as to how New York can perform against two of their likely opponents, or at least two very strong tests of the game the Yanks will bring to the table in October as we head to the last month of the regular season. I am extremely interested to see what Torre and Guidry do with the starters and bullpen, and who they might call up in the next five days.