The dust has settled, and we can finally take a toll of the wounded Yankees. It’s not quite as bad as we might have imagined yesterday, but the Yankees aren’t carrying a full crew tonight. A-Rod is unavailable after taking a fastball off the elbow. Sounds like he might miss some more time as well, but we’ll know more tomorrow. Posada has some sore fingers, but says he could play. He’s not in the starting lineup. Mariano Rivera says his shoulder is fine and can pitch. Finally, Derek Jeter sits atop the order and at shortstop, despite yesterday’s hit by pitch.
That’s relatively good news for the Yanks. They have a slightly depleted lineup tonight, but even when they’re at 80 percent the Yanks lineup is better than most of the league. Plus, the pitching matchup is decidedly in their favor.
Taking the bump for Seattle is Ian Snell. Many Yankees fans, your truly included, wanted to see the team make a run at Snell, who fell out of favor in Pittsburgh. He ended up going to Seattle along with Jack Wilson, and will make his third start for the M’s tonight. His first outing wasn’t bad, as he lasted six innings on just 84 pitches, allowing two runs while playing the Texas Rangers on the road. The three walks and two homers were certainly a concern, but the results were there.
Snell hit a bit of a snag in his last start at home against the Rays. The M’s are known for having a spacious park and some excellent defense, but as the cliche goes you can’t defend against the walk. Snell issued six of them while facing just 13 batters. The affair ended after an inning and a third, in which Snell threw 60 pitches, just 27 for strikes.
In 2007 Snell had a seemingly breakout year when he scrapped his curveball to go fastball-slider-change. He pitched to a 3.76 ERA that year while reducing his walks. This led the pirates to sign him to a three-year, $8.6 million deal in Spring Training 2008, with two club options. Snell thanked the club for their confidence by completely bombing in 2008, walking two more batters per nine than he did in 07 and allowing way, way too many hits (201 in 164.1 IP).
Things haven’t been much better for Snell in 2009. He was terrible, and was so displeased with the club which gave him so much money that he requested an assignment to AAA, infamously striking out 17 in his first appearance there. This led to the pre-deadline trade.
Snell has picked up the curveball again this year, and emphatically so. He’s now throwing it nearly as much as his slider, and he’s also started throwing the change like he did in 2007. Problem is, it hasn’t changed much. You can have great stuff, but if you walk the farm you can’t expect to win ballgames.
Thankfully, the Yankees have CC Sabathia on the mound. I need not say more about the big lefty.
And on the mound, number fifty-two, CC Sabathia.