Darrell Rasner seems to be getting better each time he goes to the mound for the New York Yankees, as he pitched his best game [last night] since being called up from AAA-SWB to replace the injured Phil Huges in the starting rotation.
Rasner threw 95 pitches, allowing five hits, and one walk, while striking-out six, in seven shutout innings, to earn his third victory, in the Yankees 8-0 win against the Baltimore Orioles. He is now 3-0 with a 1.89 ERA.
The Yankee bats finally woke up, scoring 3-runs in each of the 2nd and 3rd innings, to give Darrell Rasner an early 6-0 lead. This was all he needed as he coasted through the Orioles lineup, looking very much like an “ace” starter. The three wins by Rasner, coupled with the 5 wins by Mike Mussina, represent 8 of the Yankees 21 wins so far this season. Not exactly where the Yankees expected these wins would come from at this point in the season, but a welcome surprise, and constant reminder, that a team can never have enough pitching. Throughout the long baseball season, a team will have to depend on many different pitchers.
Alex Rodriguez provided the power in the Yankees lineup for the second night in a row, hitting his second homerun since his return from the DL, and having another homer taken away from him on a bad call by crew chief umpire, Tom Welke. In the 6th inning, A-Rod hit a shot off the yellow staircase, over the wall, in the right-center field bleachers which should have been called a homerun. But, it was ruled to have just hit the wall, and Rodriguez had to settle for a double.
After the game, Welke watched the replay, and admitted he made a mistake. It did not affect the game, but did deny A-Rod his 7th HR of the season, and 525th of his career. Alex was 3 for 4, including the HR, and two doubles, with 2 RBI’s, and 2 runs scored. He is batting .306, and having A-Rod’s bat back in the lineup has added the spark plug the Yankees have been missing over the last few weeks he has been injured. The return of Jorge Posada is the next jolt of energy the Yankees are waiting for, and hopefully that will come soon.
The Yankees 8-0 win, Darrell Rasner’s great pitching performance, and Alex Rodriguez’s great hitting, were big stories, but the “lead story” of the night was buried.
Joba Chamberlain replaced Rasner in the 8th, and pitched two scoreless innings, in the 8th and 9th, to close out the win. Joba was brilliant as usual, striking-out three, while walking two, and giving up one hit, on 35 pitches thrown.
It wasn’t until after the game, though, that Manager Joe Girardi announced that Joba’s appearance in last night’s game was the beginning of the process of moving Joba Chamberlain into the starting rotation.
Joba will stay in the bullpen as he builds up his arm strenght, and innings pitched; then, at some point in “this season” will be moved into the starting rotation.
Joe Girardi and GM Brian Cashman both said, this is a move that was planned before the season started; and, the plan called for the move to be made at this point in the season. But, the timing of the move clearly looks like it was directed by Hank Steinbrenner behind the scenes. And, that’s a good thing, because this is a move that had to be made.
Even though Joba Chamberlain is the Yankees best “bridge to Mariano” as the 8th inning set-up man out of the bullpen, he is much more valuable to the Yankees as a starter. He can be the “ace” and “number one” starter for the Yankees [now], and for many years in the future. So, Joba gets his chance to finally prove how great a starting pitcher he can be.
Hank Steinbrenner firmly believes this is the right decision. Yesterday, he said, “What I’ve learned over 35 years of all this, from baseball people, is that you can talk all you want about bullpens, but starting pitching is what gets it done”. “If you have two great relievers”, Hank continued to say, “it doesn’t do us any good”.
I totally agree with Hank Steinbrenner, as it has [always] been my opinion from the end of last year, that, “Joba is more valuable to the Yankees as a starting pitcher”. I would only add that, the Yankees should try to have as many great relievers as possible in the bullpen; but, when you have a great talent [such as Joba], it is a waste to have him exiled in the bullpen when his best value to the team is [as a starter] in the starting rotation.
Joba’s time has arrived.
Joba, Joba, Joba !!! How sweet that sounds !!!