With 502 days of rest, Pavano delivers a win

Wright, Zambrano make their case
The Brian Bruney Appreciation thread

It’s amazing what 502 days of rest will do for a pitcher, eh?

A whopping 502 days after his last start, Carl Pavano made his 20th appearance as a member of the New York Yankees. It wasn’t pretty, and Pavano wasn’t particularly adept at keeping the Orioles off the base paths. But the oft-injured right-hander made the pitched he needed to make when it counted, and the Yanks emerged as 5-3 winners over Baltimore.

For the surging Yankees, last night’s win was their fifth in their last seven. With Boston’s losing 11-0 in Toronto, the Yanks moved to within five of the Wild Card lead, and it looks like this week’s series in New York with the Red Sox will be a key turning point in the race for a playoff spot.

In Baltimore, the Yanks spotted Carl Pavano to an early lead. Johnny Damon singled to lead off the game, and while Derek Jeter and Bobby Abreu both lined out, A-Rod hit a booming double to center field that plated Damon. Jason Giambi drove in his first of three runs with a single, and before Pavano had a chance to step to the mound for the first time since April 9, 2007, he had a 2-0 lead.

He needed every run of that lead and then some. Pavano allowed three hits in the first, and only a lucky double play prevented the Orioles from scoring any runs. An inning later, another three hits and a walk would lead to three Oriole runs, and after two innings, Baltimore had a 3-2 lead. Pavano, meanwhile, had thrown way too many pitches and wasn’t looking sharp. Everything turned after that.

Pavano retired the Orioles in order in the third but got into trouble in the fourth. In an effort to curry favor with the Bronx faithful, Pavano drilled Yankee nemesis Kevin Millar with a fastball. A Jay Payton single put runners on first and second with no outs, and while a Jason Giambi two-run home run had given the Yanks a 4-3 edge, that lead was in danger of evaporating. But Pavano bore down and struck out Juan Castro, Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis to end the Oriole threa.

On the night, Pavano threw five innings and allowed three earned runs on seven hits and a walk. He also struck out five and threw 54 of 91 pitches for strikes. At times, it wasn’t pretty, but it was more than we could have expected from a pitcher everyone doubted. Whether he can do it again in five days is up for debate. That will, of course, be the true test of Carl Pavano.

Right now, we just tip our caps to Pavano — and the Yankee bullpen — and appreciate how the Yankees are still in this thing. While Carl Pavano now has more wins than Kei Igawa, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy combined, the Yanks have to make up five games over their last 33. As Carl Pavano — the YES Network’s Chevy Player of the Game — proved last night, anything is possible.

Wright, Zambrano make their case
The Brian Bruney Appreciation thread
  • brockdc

    I sort of feel guilty for hating the guy so much, though it was a cool moment to see everyone congratulating him in the dugout. As you already noted, Ben, throughout the course of the game, he looked alternately horrendous and filthy. The real Pavano lies somewhere in between…I would imagine.

    • Steve

      I expected him to be shaky for the first few innings. I was happy with the way he settled down and kept us in the game. The team he was facing is 5th in Baseball (4th in AL) in Runs scored, so its not like he was facing weak opposition.

  • FL Yank

    All hail the Flying Spaghetti Monsters and his son, whom he has sent down to die for us, Carl Pavano.

    • jsbrendog

      hail hail flying spaghetti monster

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

        Praise his noodly appendage.

  • Raven

    Oh ya, impossible is nothing.

  • bob

    I don’t think one should forget about Minnesota in this battle for the wild card. In the last three games of the season, the Yanks play in Boston, while Minnesota plays in Kansas City. If the wild card comes down to that last weekend, both and Boston and NY could be out of luck.

    • BigBlueAL

      The White Sox technically are actually in 2nd place in the Central. IF the Yankees are still in the WC chase come mid-September, the 4 game series in NY vs the White Sox could be even bigger than the series’ vs Boston.

      • Steve

        And the White Sox have a huge run differential (+110), which tells you how good they are. They are 3rd in runs scored and 4th in team ERA, right there with Boston. White Sox are a good team this year, if you respect Boston you should feel the same way about the White Sox. They’re every bit as good.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

          And if I don’t respect Boston?

          • Steve

            Then you are a man with excellent taste in Baseball teams.

            • Ben C

              the red sox rotation is in as bad shape as ours right now, were gonna get wake, byrd, and whoever they put in to replace buchholz (unless they bump lester to thursday on 4 days rest)

              • Ben C

                check that were getting lester theyre only running a 4-man rotation right now

              • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=594331910 Jamal G.

                Just like the Yanks, the Red Sox are going to move up their ace, Jon Lester, to pitch on regular rest due to the off-day tomorrow.

                The series will be:

                Tuesday: Wakefield vs. Pettitte
                Wednesday: Byrd vs. Ponson
                Thursday (1PM start): Lester vs. Mussina

  • MD

    how many replies before someone suggests picking up his option? Interesting Bill Madden article today….yes, he has an agenda…yes, he’s often wrong….however, sometimes it is refreshing to see a view from the other side…..makes some inaccurate statements, but also makes some good, critical points…..overall, probably too negative for this website, but closer to reality than we’d like to accept here.

    • Steve

      I can’t imagine putting the words “interesting” and “Bill Madden” in the same sentence. But if you have an article from him you agreed with, then post a link to it and we can discuss it.

  • Steve

    I must admit, I was very impressed by his comments in the post game interview. Right away, he got into what he needed to be doing better after what was a pretty good outing. Falling behind in the count, working off the fastball, being more aggressive.

    These are the kinds of things Girardi has been trying to explain to a LOT of the young guys (Hughes/Kennedy) and Pavano understands these things and how they fit into his game. He mentioned the kinds of balls that were hits would have been outs had he made his pitch, so he knows he can get not only ground balls, but weak ground balls when he’s on.

    What could have been . . . . in any case, welcome back, Carl.

  • Travis

    Let’s not be too quick to embrace Carl Pavano after one mediocre start.

    • Steve

      If you’ve already given up on the season, thats fine. You have a lot of company among front running Yankee fans.

      But if you’re holding out any hope for this year, then Carl pitching well is going to be critical to our chances.

      • Slugger27

        amen steve, im not holding out hope. he allowed 10 baserunners in 5 innings, and i didnt see him throw a pitch over 90 mph… but damnit the guy was asked to give us some innings and keep us in the game and thats what he did. im not expecting him to go aaron small for us the rest of the way, but ill take 5 innings and 3 runs from him

        after all, its better than watching kei igawa

        KEEP THE FAITH!

  • Alan

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyjOy7fRzs0

    Sorry, first thing I thought of.

  • Joey H

    great job by pavano. next start when he has all his shit together i think it will be better. i just hope he doesnt pitch at home before picking up like 3 road wins becuase he will get BOOOED

  • Steve

    One thing jumped out at me the minute I saw Carl pitch. What a gangly, awkward delivery he has. Nothing smooth or fluid about it. Its been so long I forgot what he looks like out there.

    He has great movement on his pitches, and that robotic delivery might actually make him tougher to hit. But you could see a guy like that being injury prone as he ages. Carl certainly has been.

  • jsbrendog

    one thing to realize too is that toronto is only a game? or so behind us in the WC and they play boston 11 more times!!! and with halladay and burnett dealing and litcsh pitching filthy yesterday would you believe it if the jays made a run and overtook us and the sox and the twins/white sox??? now that’d be freaky! a post season with the jays and rays? lol

    anyway we are SOO still in this. go yanks, and here’s to carl “please let the duct tape hold up” pavano.