Ball In Rasner’s Court for Tomorrow; Some Numbers

I’m not of the opinion that tomorrow’s start should make or break Rasner’s chances to stay in the rotation. While his ERA has hovered around 4.50 or higher since getting shellacked by Pittsburgh June 24, he’s had more decent or better starts than bad ones since then. In fact, I’d argue that since that poor June 24 start, Rasner has had four of five fairly good starts, including the last one when Girardi left him in too long against Baltimore, and the last two runners he faced to start the seventh reached base and scored. He was bad against Boston but pitched pretty well against the Mets, Jays, Twins, and Orioles. That said, should Rasner struggle tomorrow in a tough match-up with Lackey, Ponson might move ahead of Rasner in Girardi’s and Eiland’s eyes. I’d argue instead that if Rasner struggles tomorrow–and I’m not ruling out a good effort like he’s given before and like Ponson had last night–he would only be back with Ponson, who has a slightly lower ERA but an appreciably higher WHIP than Rasner. Tomorrow shouldn’t make or break Rasner. Yet I hope he responds to this challenge for a spot better than he did down the stretch in Spring Training, when he, Karstens, and Igawa treated a roster spot like a hot potato and each outdid the other with outings of decreasing quality. Ponson upped the ante yesterday, and good for him in doing so. Rasner has to meet the challenge, and for more than just his future spot but the team’s well being. Tampa and Boston are not going anywhere, and it is imperative that the Yankees’ #4 and 5 starters provide quality starts.

Giambi is 9-37 (.243) since the break, and the Yanks sure need him to support Abreu and A-Rod, who have been tearing it up the last week plus. Robinson Cano is 3 for his last 26 (.115) and, while his left hand is apparently sore, the 5 and 6 hitters must be better than that for the Yanks to gain ground on Tampa, Boston, and Minnesota. They also need more out of Melky, who is 3 for his last 18 and whose average has sunk to .246.

On a brighter note, after starting 1-11 with the Yanks, Xavier Nady has gone 5-10 with 5 runs, 3 RBIs, 2 doubles and a homer. That’s more like it. JD is 11 for his last 34 (.324), scoring 5 runs, driving in 8, working 6 walks and stealing 3 bases. Yet only one of those hits was an XBH, his homer in the blowout loss to Baltimore. Methinks the shoulder may not be healthy the rest of the season. His gutting it out has helped the team, however, especially as Giambi and Cano have cooled off. Although the guy fans way too much–40 times in 132 at-bats–and is drawing walks at an even worse rate than last year (4 BB/132 AB for 2008, 6 BB/84 AB in 2007), Betemit is 6 for his last 18. It could be worse. Jose Veras has been very good in his last 15 1/3 IP, allowing 13 hits, 3 runs earned, walking 8 (way too many) but striking out 18. That’s an ERA of 1.76, a WHIP of 1.369, and a decent K/BB ratio that would be excellent if he cut down the walks. In only two of those appearances did Veras allow runs. Veras’s fine work helped make Nuke expendable.

Published in: on August 2, 2008 at 11:37 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Wilson Betemit is batting .327 (18-55) with 4 doubles and 1 HR vs. RHP since 6/18.

    Despite he’s still the new punching bag.

  2. Great write up for the game Jason. Cano was super hot just a week ago and he has cooled down considerably. It’s good to see Nady going. Rasner has been servicable which is you might be able to ask for a 4rth of 5th starter at this point for the Yankees. Kennedy has been pitching great in the minors and Hughes did really well yesterday.

  3. It should say, Ranser has been servicable which is all you might be able to ask for a 4rth or 5th starter. I missed the word, “all” in there.

  4. He is the new punching bag, Leo, in good part because he fans way too much and is prone to odd defensive miscues. But he’s been good at the plate lately and, while I liked Gonzo’s slick fielding, provided much more punch at the plate. His homer yesterday left the yard like a rocket.

    Thanks, Sean. I’ll have to check when it was that Cano hurt his hand and see to what degree it correlates to his cooling off. Off the top of my head, I honestly don’t know. Oddly, I had a dream last night that Rasner got scratched for Kennedy today, and that Kennedy pitched great and won. I’d sure settle for Rasner doing that today. Serviceable is a good way to describe Rasner, and I totally agree. He often gives them chances to win–what you want from that part of the rotation. I also don’t mind that he’s pitched OK, since it not only bought the Yanks time without Hughes and Kennedy, but also staved off a trade for Washburn that I for one wasn’t high on, and also has made Kennedy work hard to get back to where he started the year. Nothing wrong with a little competition, as my old basketball coach used to say.

  5. Alright, I’ve started my in-gamer, I’d be honored if you guys join in.

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