Yanks winning in spite of Igawa

Zach McAllister, man of many K & GB
J.P. Ricciardi is not fooling anyone

That win today, it was a good one. Hideki Matsui, batting clean-up, utterly crushed a 3-1 offering from Pat Neshek to give the Yanks a lead they wouldn’t give up. And with that blow, the Yanks took 3 out of 4 in a must-win series for the Bombers.

But the real story of today wasn’t the win or Kyle Farnworth’s fourth 1-2-3 inning of the season. The real story was yet another incredibly bad outing from Kei Igawa. Down 2-0 before the Yanks had a chance to bat, Igawa would later cough up a three-run lead. Torre pulled the Japanese bust after five innings, and for once, going to the bullpen was the right move.

Since returning to the Yankees rotation from Minor League purgatory, Igawa has gone 0-1 with 6.19 ERA. Sadly, that’s an improvement from his pre-demotion tenure on the Yanks. While the Yanks have gone 2-1 in his three starts, the credit belongs to the offense as they’ve scored 14 runs in the two wins (and were one-hit in the loss).

Specifically, Igawa has thrown 16 innings, surrendering 17 hits while walking 9 and striking 12. He’s given up 3 home runs and has retired just 14 batters via the ground ball as opposed to 21 via the fly ball. He pitches like a disaster waiting to happen, and it’s only a matter of time before he gets pounded for an ungodly number of runs in, say, 1.2 innings.

So what should the Yanks do? With Phil Hughes still a few weeks out, the Yanks’ options are limited. They could keep Igawa in the rotation, and they do seem to be leaning toward giving him at least one more start. They could dip back into the farm system and call up Steven White.

What they won’t do, however, is what we would all love to see happen if just for the novelty of it: The Yankees will not call up Joba Chamberlain. This afternoon, I debated whether or not to post a piece calling for his Bronx debut. He is, after all, making mince meat of AA hitters, and he has the psychological make-up to make the most of a Big League call up. But being cautious right now is the right choice. There’s no need to rush a potential top-line starter this season.

For now, then, we’re stuck with our expensive waste of money. While some of us have clamored for Igawa’s release, the Yanks have options on the ineffective lefty and owe him a pretty penny over the next few seasons. He won’t go anywhere, but the team will try to minimize the damage he may do at the Big League level. And with Hughes on the horizon, all we have to do is hold out a few more weeks. It can’t be all that bad, right?

Zach McAllister, man of many K & GB
J.P. Ricciardi is not fooling anyone
  • http://tradearod.com jon

    call up joba!!!!

  • CB

    despite his decent looking numbers and “improvement” in scranton his ground ball to fly ball ratio remained awful. he continues to pitch up in the zone with poor control. he’s bad as a starter. he’ll be terrible as a reliever – imagine him consistently coming into games with runners on base in pressure situations?

    any chance they send him to the minors and negotiate a buyout or even “trade” him back to a japanese team for cash considerations? he was so successful in japan i’d think a team there would want him back. alternatively, i can’t imagine him wanting to rot away the best years of his career in scranton.

  • brxbmrs


    I don’t know how long the Yanks will be patient with Igawa, I do know in years past we would trade a guy like this and pick up a much bigger contract in return.

    I like your Japan idea – it will be interesting to see what happens.

  • http://www.canyonofheroes.blogspot.com Mike Plugh

    Question Ben. You wrote:

    “Torre pulled the Japanese bust after five innings….”

    I wonder how this would read if it instead said:

    “Torre pulled the Dominican bust after five innings….”
    “Torre pulled the Puerto Rican bust after five innings….”
    “Torre pulled the African-American bust after five innings….”
    “Torre pulled the Italian-American bust after five innings….”
    “Torre pulled the Anglo bust after five innings….”

    I agree that he looks like a bust, but the “Japanese” aspect of it escapes me. Just an observation.

  • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    I don’t think Ben meant anything by calling Igawa “the Japanese bust.” I’m sure he meant in the same manner as if he said “the left-handed pitching bust,” or “the guy wearing #29 and sunglasses bust.”

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben

    Yeah, Mike P. Didn’t mean anything by it. I didn’t even think of the racial undertones. I guess I picked up on the Japanese aspect of it because the media always puts so much focus on the players picked up through the posting system.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    Speaking of the posting system, the Yanks should try to post him back to Japan. I wonder how that would go over with MLB…

  • Mike K.

    Perhaps he and Andy Morales can find a nice two-bedroom somewhere…

  • http://www.canyonofheroes.blogspot.com Mike Plugh

    I know there was no racial overtones to it. Just pointing out how we get used to certain labels in the media that we don’t use in other situations. Part of the reason I started blogging was to end the “Japanese pitcher” or “Japanese everyday player” label. Daisuke Matsuzaka, for example, is praised for being an outstanding Japanese pitcher, but I think he’s an outstanding pitcher anywhere. Kei Igawa is a bad Japanese pitcher, but he’s really just a bad pitcher. He wasn’t all that great in Japan either.

    It’s all love at RAB fellas….

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