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Mitre Is Not The Answer

By Keith Cousin
07/31/09

Well, the July 31st trade deadline has come and gone. Uncharacteristically, the Yankees were unable to procure another starter. With Cliff Lee shipped to the Phillies, Jarrod Washburn acquired by the Tigers, Jake Peavy coming to the south side of Chicago, and Doc Halladay staying home in Toronto, the Bombers stood pat; and with Chien-Ming Wang out for the remainder of the season, Sergio Mitre took the ball for his third start.

If tonight was any indication of things to come, New York will have to reconsider their bottom part of the rotation. There is nothing more run-provoking than a sinkerball pitcher keeping his pitches belt high in the zone. That’s exactly what happened to Mitre as the White Sox touched him for a run in the first from an RBI double by A.J. Pierzynski, three runs in the second capped off by a two-run single from Jim Thome, and a run in the third on a Carlos Quentin solo blast. As you’d expect, the line on Mitre wasn’t pretty (3 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 1K) and he wasn’t involved in the decision (the White Sox eventually won the game, 10-5). In the past, I’ve been very critical of Joe Girardi using a quick hook on his pitchers (see Andy Pettitte last night, who was not allowed to work out of a seventh inning jam after pitching a dominant six innings), but tonight he did the correct thing in inserting David Robertson in the fourth.

So questions still remain about Yankee pitching? Will they stick with Mitre? Will they stretch Phil Hughes out and return him to the rotation? If Hughes does come back, will they trust Brian Bruney to handle late inning duties as a bridge to the great Mariano (especially with Alfredo Aceves faltering of late)? We will see. Unless newly acquired Jerry Hairston can pitch (which he can’t), I say, reinsert Phil Hughes as a starter.

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