Sunday, July 31, 2005

Chaconingly solid debut

So Shawn Chacon seems like a random stiff that comes to fill yet ANOTHER open spot in the Yankees OK-let's-give-you-a-try rotation -- he's a National Leaguer who has had tons of bad luck (1-7, despite a 4.09 ERA for the Rockies). And he has to face the Angels, a team that inexplicably gets good-to-great pitching performances from stiffs (Erwin Santana) and finds its bats against the Yanks. What's the result?

A nice 6 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 4 K outing with just one unearned run against him. Good on him. Maybe we won't have to add 15-20% to project an AL ERA for Chacon because he pitched at Coors Field. Then again, Al Leiter was sharp in his debut, notsomuch since then.

Naturally the Yanks' 'pen decided to try throwing the game away (Tom Gordon: get it out of your system soon, the team needs you to suck less). Thankfully the Yanks' bats and eyes work: Giambi with a 2-run bomb and then 4 walks against Frankie K-Rod Rodriguez to set up Matsui's game-winning double in the bottom of the ninth in an 8-7 win. If Gordon continues to suck, the Yanks will be wanting Rivera to take the Gossage workload (the Goose would start "closing" games in the 7th on occasion).

And the Yanks picked up Alan Embree after the RedSux designated him for assignment -- good, I hoped he'd be available for the Yanks when the Redsawx made their move b/c hard-throwing bullpen lefties are not exactly a dime per dozen.

So Chacon, Small and Leiter have provided about 4.5 good starts in their six outings (the .5 is Leiter's 5 IP, 1 R against the Twins Wednesday -- he was poor but kept getting out of trouble and left down only 1-0). But the Johnson-Moooooooose-Small-Chacon playoff rotation (if the Yanks make it that far) is a far cry from Clemens-Pettitte-Moooooooooose-Wells in '03. Have I mentioned that I miss Pettitte? I didn't miss him that much pre-All Star break in '04 because Javy Vazquez was one of the top starters in the AL and that's the man the Yanks counted on to replace Andy (and the Yanks' fears of Pettitte's latent arm troubles were well-founded, he made a career-low in starts and innings and sat the last couple of months and playoffs resting his elbow). But Vazquez lost his arm and his mind, and Pettitte is having a career year in all-but-record (the Astros can't score for him either) with Houston. UGH.

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