Posted on : 22-07-2010 | By : jpasseri | In : Thinking Outside the Batter’s Box
Andy’s injury leaves the Yankee’s pitching staff with a “petite” problem. For those of you who are French-challenged that is a “little” problem, that hopefully won’t get any bigger. All baseball fans know the adage, “you can never have too much pitching.” It’s one of those sayings that always proves true year after year. Andy Pettitte was having a tremendous season at the age of 38 going 11-2 and making the American League All-Star team. In his first start after the All-Star break at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, Andy suffered a grade 1 left groin injury that could cause him to miss 3 -5 weeks of the season. The injury hurts any chance Andy had to be a potential 20-game winner again, and it leaves the pitching staff minus one of its mainstays in the rotation. Now the Yankees have to turn to Sergio Mitre to fill in for him. Sergio, himself, is coming back from a strained oblique muscle injury, and will be part of the C.C., A.J., Javy and Hughes rotation. No, that’s not a law firm!
Luckily for the Yankees they are in first place, 2.5 games ahead of Tampa, and 7 ahead of Boston. So they are in good position for the moment to either win the division or capture the wild card spot, if needed. On the hand, there are still 69 games left to play which is enough time for those two teams to catch the Yankees if they don’t play well. The pitching staff still has C.C. Sabathia, the ace, who is 12-3. However, behind him is where the problem lies with an Andy-less rotation. A.J. Burnett, is 7-8 with an e.r.a at almost 5.00, and Javy Vazquez, although pitching well after a rough beginning of the season, is still only 8-7 with a 4.68 e.r.a. Which brings us to Phil “Innings Limit” Hughes. Phil had a great first half and made the All-Star team where unfortunately he ended up with the loss. He’s now 11-3, but has gone 3-2 over his last 6 outings with a 6.44 e.r.a. During that span Phil has given up 43 hits in 36 and a third innings, walking 12 and giving up 9 home runs. Kind of scary!
Brian Cashman, the Yankee GM, says it’s not time to panic and won’t start looking for another starter before the July 31st trade deadline. Say what? Are you sure, Brian! Then again, after the moves made in the off-season by Mr. Cashman, maybe it’s better that he not try to make some more moves now. In all seriousness, the Yankees may need to get another starter as well as some bullpen and bench help to insure their current good standing in the AL East. The problem is good starters don’t grow on trees but some of them do come from the farm – team. The Yankees have Ivan Nova down there and he is pitching well with an 8-2 record and a 3.06 e.r.a. Plus Ivan looked good in a brief stint in NY earlier in the season. So if Sergio fails, then maybe Ivan can come up big. The only other viable starting option at Scranton that may help the big league team is 32-year old veteran, Tim Redding. He’s 5-4 with a 3.32 e.r.a. down there, but it’s had to block out the memory of his only appearance in pinstripes years ago when he was blasted by Boston for 6 runs, 4 hits and 4 walks in one inning of work. He was a DFA’d the next day by the Yankees, and was picked up again this May as a minor league free agent.
On the trade front there the most mentioned suspects: Ted Lilly, Ben Sheets, Roy Oswalt, Dan Haren, Kevin Millwood, Fausto Carmona, Edwin Jackson, Brett Myers, Ricky Nolasco, Jake Westbook, Gil Meche, Pedro Martinez, etc. Let’s examine their pros and cons:
Expensive - Oswalt and Haren. They make too much money and it would take too many good prospects to acquire either of them.
Nostalgic – Lilly and Westbrook. Both aren’t as good as they use to be after arm injuries.
Ineffective – Millwood has been awful in Baltimore and is coming off of an injury.
Erratic - Jackson is 6-8 with a 4.96 e.r.a. but threw a 149 pitch no-hitter against Tampa even though he walked 9 and hit a batter.
Fragile - Sheets is 4-9 with a 4.53 e.r.a. but has pitched better lately. He is also been a member of the Nick Johnson Disabled List group for many years.
Forgotten - Meche still pitches for the Royals but has only appeared in 9 games this season due to shoulder injuries.
Evil - Martinez is the despised ex-Boston hurler who has been waiting for a call all year, and Myers assaulted his wife on a Boston street years ago.
Young – Cleveland’s Carmona (26) and Florida’s Nolasco (27) bring youth and talent but may require top prospects in order for their respective teams to trade them.
There are other names you could throw into the mix but those are the pitchers whose names have been discussed by the media as potential targets. For all we know, Brian Cashman may shock us and reacquire one of his old favorites, Carl Pavano. OK, fat chance, but Pavano another former member of the Nick Johnson Disabled List group, is 11-6 with an e.r.a. of 3.48 for the Twins. If that isn’t amazing enough, then get this – he has pitched 4 complete games this year including 3 of them in his last 6 starts. This is the same guy who couldn’t complete 4 seasons with the Yankees without getting hurt for what seemed like every day of the contract. Now he is a workhorse, and before he was a horse’s ass. Unbelievable! Oh well, let’s hope Andy gets well soon and that his injury and absence doesn’t cause the Yankees a “grande” problem. That’s big for you French-challenged.