Carl Pavano hasn’t been quite as bad as Chien-Ming Wang this season, but he hasn’t exactly helped the Indians in his two starts. After allowing nine runs in one inning on April 9, he came back on Tuesday with a six-inning, four-run performance, lowering his ERA from 81.00 to 16.71. The Yanks hope to do to Pavano what the Indians did to Wang yesterday and send his ERA over the 30.00 mark. They’ll have A.J. Burnett, by far their best pitcher to this point (though it’s just two starts), hopefully keeping them in the game.
The last time Carl Pavano faced the Yankees was with the Expos in 2000. He allowed five runs on seven hits over 4.1 innings. That means next to nothing right now — not only was it nine years ago, but there are only two current Yankees who were in that lineup. Jeter went 1 for 5 and Posada went 1 for 2 with two walks and two RBI — though the two RBI came on a home run hit off reliever Mike Johnson; the runner on base was Pavano’s. Pavano also pitched for the Expos against the Yankees in 1998, allowing four runs (three earned) in five innings. Luis Sojo played short that game and Joe Girardi caught, so zero current Yankees were in that lineup.
A.J. Burnett has started five games against the Indians in his career, pitching 30 innings to a 7.20 ERA. That’s about the last thing the Yanks need. Worst of all, Burnett struck out only 22 in 30 innings, far off his career mark. He also walked 18, never a good number with 30 innings pitched. His last outing against them came in the first game of a double header last May 12, wherein he pitched 7.2 innings, allowing three runs and striking out seven to three walks. That’s not a stellar start, but the Yanks would certainly take it today, especially the 7.2 innings part.
To ensure there are enough arms in the pen, the Yanks have called up Steven Jackson to replace Anthony Claggett. It looks like Edwar Ramirez (58 pitches) and Jose Veras (just 43 in 3 IP) won’t be available today, and Damaso Marte (23 pitches) will only be used in a dire circumstance. That means Jackson, Coke, Albaladejo, Bruney, and of course Mo should be available for an inning or more. Again, all we can do is hope that it doesn’t come to that.
Girardi has shuffled the order again today, though I still don’t get the Gardner leading off thing. He has speed, but he’s having a hard time getting on base this year. Matsui returns to DH, giving Jorge a full day off.
And on the mound, number thirty-four, A.J. Burnett