While discussing the Chase Wright situation yesterday, another interesting topic came up: who’s going to start Saturday against the Red Sox? Pettitte has Friday, and Wright — if he doesn’t completely bomb — will have enough rest to start Sunday. That leaves a damning hole.
Wang and Karstens won’t be back for the weekend. Starting Wright and Igawa on short rest on back to back days isn’t exactly advisable. What to do?
The easy answer is to start Sean Henn. However, much like the decision to give Chase Wright tonight’s start, this would be a mistake. Henn has done very well out of the bullpen so far, so why mess that up? Plus, the Yanks are going to need plenty of help from the bullpen against the Indians, and likely will also need it against the Red Sox. Why sacrifice a bullpen arm in that situation?
(Yes, I realize there are now eight bullpen arms: Mo, Farns, Proctor, Vizcaino, Henn, Myers, Bruney, and Britton. All of them may be needed over the next four games, and all of them, sans Britton and Mo, have been worked hard this season. Having eight guys in the bullpen is a Godsend this week.)
The solution suggested by River Ave. Blues: Mighty Matt DeSalvo. He’s dealing this year: 2 ER, 11 K, 3 BB, 6 H over 9 innings of work. Yes, this is just as small a sample as Wright’s (though DeSalvo has fewer innings). But we’re also talking about a guy who 1) is facing tougher competition (the Braves and Red Sox AAA teams, as opposed to the Orioles and Nats AA teams) and 2) is/was an actual prospect.
Like Wright, DeSalvo absolutely dominated the Florida State League (1.43 ERA, 80 strikeouts to 30 walks and ONE home run over 75.1 innings). He went on to have a great year at AA in 2005, compiling a 3.02 ERA over 149 innings, 151 strikeouts to 67 walks, and just 8 homers allowed.
Of course, we all know about his hiccup last year, but given his performances before and after, that seems like an anomaly. That’s what happens when you double your career walk rate. He also had personal issues to work through last year.
Really, there was little good reason to pass over DeSalvo for Wright in the first place (the 40-man roster status may have been the deciding factor, with DeSalvo having lost his spot to Miguel Cairo in January). However, with the opportunity for another start, there is even less reason to deny DeSalvo this time around. Choose Henn if you will, but that’s too simplistic and it doesn’t allow him to continue what he’s been doing so well this season: coming out of the pen and getting guys out. Some guys are just better off in the bullpen.