Questions about the upcoming rotation

Mark Melancon gets it
IOC: Give us A-Rod

It looks like today’s off-day will not be used to skip one of the current starters. The Yanks will trot out Mike Mussina on Tuesday, Sidney Ponson on Wednesday, and Andy Pettitte on Thursday to face the Red Sox. Sure, they could tell Sidney to take a day off, slide Pettitte into his spot, and pitch Pavano on Thursday. But is that any better? After all, Sidney tends to do well in his start after being blown out.

The real rotation issues actually begin on Saturday. This will be Darrell Rasner’s next start. He’s faced Toronto twice this year, each time coming up with at least acceptable results. So do you give him another shot? Or do you turn to Phil Hughes or Alfredo Aceves?

It’s not an easy question to answer. Aceves might seem attractive after last night’s performance, but is he ready for The Show? Hughes has been uninspiring his past two times out, but could eight days of rest cure what ails him? These are questions the Yanks will ask over the course of the week. The results against the Red Sox could play a large role in that decision.

Let’s toss this one up to the comments. Do you take a risk with Hughes and Aceves, hoping that they can piece together a few good starts in September? Or do you give Rasner the ball again and give those two another start in AAA?

Mark Melancon gets it
IOC: Give us A-Rod
  • Rob

    I’ve been thinking about this issue the last week since I’m traveling 300 miles to go to the game on Saturday and wondered whether I should just sell the damn tickets. My money’s on Zambrano, but I’m hoping for Hughes. Still not sure if I’ll sell the tix…

  • Mark

    If the Yankees want to show that they are still in the hunt, you have to go with Philip Hughes. Darrell Rasner has put many of his games in jeopardy, especially with his last start. Philip Hughes seems like he is going through a dead arm stretch since he had not pitched since May. I think with the extra days rest he will be capable to give us a start that cannot be worse than Rasner’s. Phil is the best option that we have and now is not the time to lose games by giving starts to pitchers that have shown they are struggling the way Rasner has.

  • A.D.

    Combined with Texas and the Yankees, Ponson numbers after bad starts:

    .82 ERA in starts following a start in which he gave up 7+ runs
    1.67 ERA in starts following a start where he has given up 6+ runs

    basically its when he does his best work

    • MD

      he’s basically crap every 3-4 outings…the perfect example of a reliable 5th starter…….

    • Steve

      Or maybe its just a really small sample and he just happened to face a few garbage hitting teams in his next outing or teams that were good match ups for him.

  • A.D.

    Basically Rasner was dominating to begin the season because his control was unreal, now its not unreal, and I think there has been hitters making an adjustment since he doesn’t have a put away pitch. I’d rather see Aceves, Wright, Hughes, or Zambrano. Not because I think they are necessarily some type of answer, but because I know D-Ras isn’t.

    Going with a hot hand like Wright or Aceves, may not be the worst plan, it worked with Rasner early

  • pat

    i think alfredo needs another AAA start to prove he can really deal rather than got lucky his past few games, although his last win against hafner, victor martinez and others is very encouraging. No idea whats wrong with phranchise but id like to see him put 2 good starts together before coming to the show. And victor zambrano needs to do some damage against better competition than AA. Id say another turn though the rotation for everybody in question should give us more concrete answers.

  • bebop

    Hughes has pitched poorly his last two and though I have high hopes for him I doubt if he’s ready this week. Aceves has been mediocre in AAA and as I remember had a 4 era in the Mexican League. What about Zambrano?

    • A.D.

      Aceves had a 3.64 ERA in the Mex league last year, but 4.00s before that

      • Brandon

        Chase Wright has been better than all 3 of them just chaeck his BAA of .185 in AAA and check his full year of minor league ball. IDK how long he’s going to get shafted by this FO.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos

          The FO probably decided to wait until those four home run balls arrive at their destination on the second moon of Jupiter before they give him another chance.

          • Dan

            It’s easy to brng up the four home runs last year, but don’t forget he was brought up as an emergency starter, not because he was ready to fill the big league shoes… take a look at his minor league numbers last year and compare them to how he is doing this year, and you might sing a different tune, especailly compared with who we are throwing out on the mound these days

  • TurnTwo

    i dont think id let Rasner pitch on Saturday, but more because its a team he’ll be facing the third time, and the first two didnt go well. seems like they know how to get at him.

    i think a 40-man roster move has to be made for Aceves, right? and for Zambrano, too, id imagine.

    i guess Hughes is ready, rehab-wise. he has the strength to go 6+ innings, but you wonder if he’s really ready to be back up.

    where does Chase Wright line up, rotation-wise? when did he last pitch? i think he’s on the 40-man, which gives him an advantage over Aceves.

    • TurnTwo

      well, strike that… i thought he wasnt great against Toronto previously, but my perception was worse that his actual results.

      i still dont know, though. i dont trust him, but dont love the other options.

    • Sam L.

      Well we can start with DFAing Traber. I can’t see him contributing very much in September, so get him the hell off of the 40-man.

      • TurnTwo

        didnt they do that already to get Pavano on the roster?

        • Ed

          They only optioned Traber, not released. No idea what the 40 man move was, unless they happened to have a spot from all the shuffling of the past few weeks.

          Posada to 60-day is the easy move, assuming that’s not what they did to get Pavano on.

          • Joseph P.

            They didn’t need a move for Pavano on the 40-man. They got the spot from DFAing Moeller.

  • Sam L.

    Rasner has indeed done alright in his two starts against Toronto this year. However, their lineup seems to be firing on all cylinders lately. Plus I’d imagine that Rasner’s stuff isn’t the kind of stuff that fools you three times around if you’re a good hitter. While it would be risky to go with one of the younger guys, I just don’t feel at all comfortable with throwing Rasner out there anymore.

    It may or may not be worth nothing that Hughes’s only good outing this year came against the Blue Jays way back on April 3rd. Such young and innocent times they were…

  • Jon W.

    As painful as it may sounds, Rasner seems to be the best option. He was terrible yesterday, but we can’t forget what he did the start before that against Toronto. I think Hughes has to pitch well at least once before he’s promoted.

  • Count Zero

    Depends what happens between now and then too. If we win at least two against the Sox and are theoretically still alive — then I think it’s probably a little too much to ask of Aceves.

    I don’t believe Hughes is ready to return to the big club yet. I would like to see at least one more start in AAA from him.

  • RobertGKramer

    Created for another blog:

    I do not think Aceves and Wright will challenge for a rotation berth until some time in 2009, most likely May or later. A spot start could be a whole different matter. And both Hughes and Kennedy may be in the same category.


    Helllll no to D-ras. Even when he pitches well we dont win…. lets just roll the dice on Aceves or even Zambrano

    • steve (different one)

      Even when he pitches well we dont win

      that makes sense. great logic.


        Some people, even when they throw great games the offense just doesn’t hit. it very well could be the pace of the game that makes it hard for the offense to wake up from its slumber.
        I just say this bec whenever I play Baseball and my starting pitcher that day is laboring and is taking forever. the team is in a ma laze and just cant get the offense going. or you could simply attribute this to the opposing pitcher or even luck.
        but the bottom line is, if this dude pitches and the team doesn’t get the win then its hard to trot him out there every 5 days.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos

          Okay, so then you may have an argument there, but only if Pavano was an anomaly on the mound, like a Steve Trachsel or something.

          Nothing about Pavano’s game suggests that he has any non-negligible impact on how his teammates produce offensively.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos

          And I believe the word you’re looking for is “malaise”.

          • SAMIAMSPORTS

            tsjc, was talking about Rasner , not pavano. and yes Your right about the malaise thing…

            • tommiesmithjohncarlos

              Sorry for the mixup, but my statement stands. Nothing about Pavano’s Rasner’s game suggests that he has any non-negligible impact on how his teammates produce offensively.

  • http://deleted Randy

    i don’t want to see rasner anymore. he was given two leads yesterday and blew them. he didn’t finish four innings also which doesn’t look good especially when they have a huge series with boston coming up. id say throw hughes and see what happens. i just think rasner pitching again can be disastrous against a team that is really starting to hit.

    • steve (different one)

      Rasner isn’t good, but you don’t think he was betrayed a bit by his defense in that inning?

      • A.D.

        sure he was betrayed by the D a little, but he wasn’t exactly lights out before that

        • steve (different one)

          no, certainly not.

          but Randy pointed out that he was “given 2 leads” and blew them.

          but the only reason he “blew” that lead was because the defense decided to kick the ball around in the 4th inning.

          asking a pitcher like Rasner to pitch around 2 errors is a little tough.

          he’s a 5/6ish starter. he can keep you in games, but there is little room for error.

          Jeter can’t blow a routine play like that in a must win game with Rasner on the mound. he just can’t.

          • http://deleted Randy

            yes that’s true but he struggled the entire game. it wasn’t just that inning. his pitch count was high before the fourth. he wasn’t throwing strikes and was getting roughed up. and also, sometimes your d is gonna make an error. you have to pick your guys up at times and he failed miserably at that.

            • steve (different one)

              yeah, i don’t think we are really disagreeing much.

              Rasner wasn’t looking great. but the defense has to be a little tighter when he is pitching.

            • Old Ranger

              Raz didn’t have it yesterday, but he was going ok until the wheels fell off with errors. Moose had a ruff outing also, so he isn’t worth another start? Plus, look what happened to Moose the last time against the Rsox, will they light him up again? I don’t think so…but, one never knows. The past is the past, what counts is this game. 27/08??

  • Jamal G.

    Are you sure about that rotation for the Boston series, Joe? Mike Mussina would be pitching on short rest (three days). I thought it was going to be Pettitte, Ponson, and Mussina.

    • steve (different one)

      yeah, he flipped Moose and Pettitte.

  • http://RiverAve.Blues Joseph M

    Rasner is a disaster waiting to happen but really what can you do at this point. Hughes is still trying to get it going in the minors and the rest of the options provide little comfort. The Yanks have to evaluate where they are as the week progresses as their position in the big scheme of things changes day by day. For example, if the team is 2 and 2 after the first four contests, Saturday and Sunday are absolute must haves, Rasner starts but he’s on a very short leash. If the team is 3 and 1 they have Sunday as a safety net and rasner game becomes a little less of a factor. 1 and 3 or 0 and 4 forget it.

    • http://deleted Randy

      i don’t think there is such a thing as a safety net at this point. they have to go in with the best chance possible to win that game on that day. i just have no confidence in rasner at all.

  • Mike C

    go with the hot hand – Chase Wright

    • RustyJohn

      Agreed- at this point, if any of the candidates were going to be starting for an extended period of time in the bigs you’d probably be looking at the same animal- a starter that can maybe go 6 innings and give up four or five runs over that time. Better to go with whoever is throwing well at the moment.

  • daneptizl

    I’d go with Wright over Rasner.

  • Batty

    Rasner’s kept them in the game in almost every start. Hughes has had many more blowouts this year than that though everyone wants to let him pitch. His god status is revoked, the kid has to work his way back and two back to back ‘not quality’ starts (to put it mildly) in AAA should not be rewarded with a call up.

    • Old Ranger

      Agree. 27/08??

  • Bruno


  • Bo

    Hughes has been terrible. It wasn’t like he was pitching good before he got hurt.

    • steve (different one)

      how do you figure? he was probably hurt the entire season from spring training.

      he pitched pretty damn well last year for a 21 year old in the big leagues.

      • Bo

        Hurt or not. Was he pitching well before he hit the DL?

        This isn’t a time and place for rehabbing young pitchers who cant get AAA hitters out.

  • Bo

    Good thing Cashman didn’t get Paul Byrd in here for a C level prospect.

    Would hate having playoff tested veteran pitchers in here to give 6 strong everytime out.

    • steve (different one)

      Byrd has made 24 starts this year.

      he has 10 quality starts.

      only in your mind is that “6 strong everytime out”.

      • radnom

        Don’t feed the trolls/

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos

        He was referring to HGH strength, not strength of pitching performance.

        • Bo

          The same Byrd who beat us in a playoff game last yr??

          The same Byrd who would be a ten times better option than Ponson, Raz, or Pavano?


          How can you even argue this? You got people asking for Chase Wright and a lame Hughes.

          And Byrd isn’t a better option to make 6 starts in a pennant push???


          • tommiesmithjohncarlos

            Look, Byrd is an upgrade over Ponson, Rasner, and Giese (but not necessarily Pavano, he’s a total wildcard). That’s why I advocated acquiring him (or Wolf, or Washburn, etc.) if the price was right, and it probably was.

            But we’re not talking about a moving from a Dodge Dart to a Ferrari Superamerica kind of upgrade here. He’s still Paul Byrd. You’ve got a point that yes, it would have been nice to have him, but he’s not Paul Waner. He’s Paul Byrd. He’s not exactly a lock to make it two months without imploding.

            No need to sit in a warm bath and open a few veins.

            • Steve

              You mean to tell me there was a REASON why CLE released him?

              But, he’s a “playoff tested veteran”!!

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    You stick with Rasner. Yesterday was atrocious but, like you said, he’s pitched decently against Toronto. Havign Rasner in our rotation half the year has not resulted in the earth crumbling to pieces. Let Phil get his footing back in AAA.

    This is also not the time for experiments unless you have to.

  • Axl

    I think we throw out any of them…they’re all bad…and we cross our fingers that it’s the right choice. They’re all no good right now.

    Close our eyes and just hope for the best. They all stink.

  • Macphisto

    I really hope Hughes can put it together and get some quality starts. We have yet to see this guy perform like he can this year. We saw glimpses of it last year. But, he is definitely going to need one more AAA start. Aceves probably does to. By that time Joba might be back in the rotation, if they don’t put him in the bullpen. So we might never get to that point. But, I am rooting for Hughes to come back strong. It would be the best thing for the team this year and building on to next year.

  • Joey H

    wait mussina goes tuesday? i thought it was pettite-ponson-mussina? what happened with that?

    • Joey H

      .. do i get an answer?

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos

    Of the three, not Hughes. He’s not shown that he’s ready to dominate AAA, which should be his prerequisite before challenging himself with ML hitters.

    Between Rasner and Aceves, meh, flip a coin. Neither one has much of an edge. I’d probably go with Rasner, simply because he won’t necessitate any roster moves. Chase Wright is actually moving up my mental depth chart, but I can’t see returning him to the scene of his crime…

    I’d say give Saturday to Rasner and give the other three another turn in Scranton. Unless Rasner is lights out, if any of the three look good, they get Rasner’s game in Seattle. That’s the perfect place to throw a fresh fish into the fryer.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos

      Damn, i forgot about the Detroit make up game on Monday… that throws my Seattle plan off.

      Our next day off is Thursday the 11th after the 9-game roadie; Let’s assume Joba’s not available until then:

      Tue 8/26 Bos – Pettitte
      Wed 8/27 Bos – Ponson
      Thu 8/28 Bos – Moose
      Fri 8/29 Tor – Pavano
      Sat 8/30 Tor – Rasner
      Sun 8/31 Tor – Pettitte
      Mon 9/1 @ Det – Ponson
      Tue 9/2 @ TB- Moose
      Wed 9/3 @ TB – Pavano
      Thu 9/4 @ TB – _______
      Fri 9/5 @ Sea – Pettitte
      Sat 9/6 @ Sea – Ponson
      Sun 9/7 @ Sea- Moose
      Mon 9/8 @ LAA – Pavano
      Tue 9/9 @ LAA – _______
      Wed 9/10 @ LAA – Pettitte

      Not a huge fan of running one of the kids out there against the 1st place Rays in the Trop, where they never lose, or in Anaheim. I think Aceves/Phil/Wright need to look real, real good over the next ten days to earn that September 4th start.

      • Macphisto

        Let’s not forget that Joba could be ready for the 9/9 start.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos

          I know, I was trying to take a pessimistic view and be pleasantly surprised.

      • Steve

        How about we get 3-4 innings out of Joba on 9/4 and 4-5 innings on 9/9?

        Stretch him out on the MLB level like we did last time. Have Rasner or Hughes back him up.

    • ChrisS

      which should be his prerequisite before challenging himself with ML hitters.

      This isn’t really directed specifically to your post, but to a common thought that’s popping up on the boards. IPK dominates AAA hitters and people think he’s the worst thing in the baseball who won’t amount to anything other than roster filler. IPK gets sent down to AAA to “not bother with just dominating hitters but to work on his ML pitches”. Hughes has a couple of shaky outings after admitting in an interview that he’s been practicing his change and curve and throwing them a lot more and in counts where he wouldn’t normally throw them, and he’s gotta “prove himself” by dominating AAA hitters?

      I think he’s proved it enough. Hughes is down there working on his pitches like he should be. I get that he’s struggling and we’d all rather he was 5-0 with 0.65 ERA and 200 Ks:3 BBs, but he’s practicing.

      For what it’s worth, I’d rather they keep him in AAA, but that’s just so he can keep working on his stuff. Moose/Pettitte/Pavano/Ponson/Rasner is just fine for a team playing out its string and hoping to catch lightning in a bottle.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos

        You have a very good point that Hughes may simply be experimenting with new pitches rather than “practicing” his existing repertoire, but the biggest thing I personally saw from both IPK and Hughes this year (NOTE: I have no statistics to back this up, just anecdotal observation) is that both of them seemed to have confidence issues, stopped attacking the hitters and nibbled way too much.

        It’s something that affects young pitchers all the time – they’re badasses until they hit the ML for the first time and get rocked, and then they’re trying to be superfine and hit the black on everything and they end up getting into high pitchcounts and consistent trouble. I think both of them probably need to have a few strong outings in Scranton where they remind themselves that their stuff is damn good, good enough to be dominant, to break the mental mold that leads to nibbling.

        I’m glad he/they are working on new stuff, but they’ve got to trust their stuff, old or new, to be effective at the ML level.

        • Dan

          I agree with your assessment regarding Ian Kennedy….seems to be more of a mental block than anything else. he’s never had outstanding “stuff” but was a finesse pitcher who could control his fastaball and command the strike zone well. once it got into his head that hitters could hit him even when he was locating, he started trying to hard to locate and ended up missing his spots, taking movement off his breaking pitches, and all in all getting hit too hard at a level where you juts can’t afford to make mistakes…
          Hughes on the other hand, i am not so sure about. I think there is alot going on that isn’t being talked about. as per several articles i’ve read between this blog, baseball prospectus, and ESPN chats with scouts, it appears that while the rib injury clearly hindered hughes this year, there has been a greater underlying problem in his pitching….mechanics. his mechanics pre-2007 were not great, however they worked. rather than keeping his mechanics and making sure he was conidtioned well, Eiland decided to change his mechanics, giving him a higher arm slot. as a result, hughes has, measured by pitch fx on, the most consistent release point in MLB between the 2007 and 2008 seasons. as a consequence, he has lost a few Mph on his fastball, his Curveball has gone from an 11-5 to a 12-6 and there has been a question whether his consistent release point has allowed hitters to pick up the pitch better. seeing his velocity return to2006 levels, i’ll bet that hughes has started returning to the previous arm slot, only using the higher armslot with his 12-6 in certain counts (while still allowing him to throw a 11-5 in others). i’d give him the rest of this year to work out in AAA, i don’t feel he has any mental issues to unblock but mmore just adjustments and pitching to certain situations with the stuff he has

          • Dan

            In Fact, Further of stats shows that hughes never even dominated AAA before he was called up to the show. Consder these stats:


            What does all of this show? Hughes was promoted too quickly in 2007 (due to injuries) and instead of putting him back in AAA to work his stuff into dominating, they kept him in the bigs. He should havebeen left down for the majority of this year, the injury held him back alot but he clearly has more development to do in the minors before he gets called up. he just didn’t dominate AAA the way he did AA if you consider te stats he had against BABIP….to clear things up, BABIP is a good way of measuring how luck and defense can factor into a pitchers performance. .290 is a normal level for babip. below it means a pitcher is likely to regress to the mean, above it means a pitcher is likely to improve back towards the mean. taking that into account his AA 2007 numbers should be even better than they already were, but his AAA 2007 numbers should be worse. if we want him dominating, he’s gotta take a year in AAA to work at it.

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos

            “he’s never had outstanding “stuff” but was a finesse pitcher who could control his fastaball and command the strike zone well.”

            That’s a misnomer that needs to be eliminated. Kennedy’s got stuff. His four seamer and change have good late life, they’re probably 60’s at worst on the 20-80 scale.

            We’re spoiled by Joba and Hughes, who have AMAZING stuff, and we forget that IPK’s still damn good. He just has to maintain his command of the zone, because since he can’t dial it up to 95, his fastballs will be more hittable be default. But people need to stop acting like IPK is some kind of smoke and mirrors junkballer. He’s not.

            He’s just like Glavine/Maddux – a pitcher who doesn’t throw hard but has good, deceptive pitches and who can be brilliant if he can learn to spot them effectively and keep hitters off balance.

            • Dan

              The point of the post was more Hughes Related, but don’t confuse what I said with saying he was a junkballer; in fact you reiterated my point exactly; he doesn’t have outstanding stuff (like hughes or joba) but he commands the zone very well, and he’s got great control of his pitches. Damon once said that from centerfield, he’d never seen a ball move as much as Kennedy’s curve (though probably an exageration and certainly not something he saw everytime). Regardless, his stuff dictates that he must control his pitches, hit the glove, and commadn the zone like maddux, as he isn’t going to get away with a blowing by the hitter, nor is he going to make batters look silly whenever he wants (like Joba does with his slider).

              But when he tries to locate too much, he misses the glove, the ball hangs over the plate or misses the plate entirely, and when you hang your breaking balls and leave 89-91 mph fastballs over the plate, they are going to get smacked, no matter who you are.

  • Dan

    Interesting Comparisons for consideration;

    Player Team Era w/ baserunners Era w/ RISP K/BB
    Hughes AAA 17.61 25.07 4.00
    Aceves AAA 9.00 15.83 3.23
    Wright AAA 4.97 6.35 2.00
    Zambrano AA 0.00 0.00 4.50
    Rasner MLB n/a 12.60 1.96
    Ponson MLB n/a 13.50 0.95

    I used ERA w/ baserunners and ERA w/ RISP because solid pitchers rarely deal with RISP or baserunners in Minors (one of Phils toughest troubles last year). Ponson actually would appear to be the first guy on his way out if you are considering a 5th starter who can limit damage.
    Rasner seems to be the best option outside of Wright and Zambrano, though you have to make adjustments due to improved quality of competition (in both wright and zambranos cases) and sample size (Zambranos case). all in all i would cast my vote for bringing up zambrano and giving him a one start audition. i also would think it would be interesting to give wright a one start audition against a lefty-heavy line up in place of rasner or ponson. see how it translates. i doubt either of them can do any worse than rasner or the aruban fatty.
    Either way, i didn’t need stats to tell me that aceves wasn’t ready, and its pretty clear hughes needs to do some work still. he’s always been terrible with RISP (terrible relative to what he’s capable of, i.e. Joba sports a 7.71 ERA w/ RISP…comparable even to Johan Santana’s 7.78 and Jake Peavy’s 7.31) if only there were a away to work on that?

    • Dan

      PS im at work trying to compile these stats, so they aren’t perfect but give me a break…not bad considering i am computing international tax returns on one computer screen and commpiling baseball stats on the other. all stats courtesy of

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos

        So you’re the reason I got audited! You little jerkoff, they did a cavity search on me!

        • Dan

          Haha hey now, i’m one of the good guys. I don’t work for the IRS, i do consulting work for corporations so they can avoid taxes and audits from the IRS.
          sorry about the double post, absent minded while at work

  • Dan

    Haha hey now, i’m one of the good guys. I don’t work for the IRS, i do consulting work for corporations so they can avoid taxes and audits from the IRS.