Sergio Mitre‘s 23 innings with the New York Yankees haven’t exactly been pretty. He’s allowed 21 runs in that span (18 earned). Opponents have hit .400 on balls in play off Mitre, and have reached base successfully a little over 40 percent of the time. Yet the Yankees have won three of the five games he’s started. And in his last start, a loss, it came down to a poor fielding play, rather than the loss totally coming from a hit barrage.
Mitre has done two things well thus far. First is keeping the ball low, hence the high number of singles allowed. Of the 38 hits he’s surrendered, just eight have been for extra bases. That’s because hitters are punching his low pitches through holes. If some of those grounders find defenders, he’ll have an easier go of it. He’s going to hang pitches here and there, and that will lead to extra bases and homers. But for a fifth starter to allow just eight extra base hits in five games is pretty decent.
The second thing he’s done is keep his walks low. If he can maintain that while some of the balls in play find defenders, the pitches he does hang won’t be as painful. Solo homers happen. What a pitcher really needs to avoid is hanging one with men on base. Fewer men on base means fewer opportunities for the multi-run homer. It’s about the only hope Mitre’s got.
The Mariners will send 23-year-old rookie Lucas French to the mound. Acquired from Detroit in the Jarrod Washburn trade, French has started two games for the Mariners and they haven’t been nearly as good as his first six starts with the Tigers. Perhaps they should have seen this coming. He did, after all, give up six runs, five earned, against the Rangers right before the trade. Since then he’s given up four runs over five innings against the Royals (the Royals) and another four runs over 5.1 to the White Sox.
French faced the Yanks while with the Tigers, allowing two runs, one earned, over five innings of work. The Yanks took care of the Tigers bullpen that game to win the first game after the break, the beginning of a seven-game win streak. Joel Zumaya was the goat in that one, as he allowed three runs, all on a bomb by Mark Teixeira. That was also the night that Phil Hughes struck out six in two innings.
A-Rod‘s back in the lineup, which is great news given his back spasms yesterday. He’s even playing the field. Posada is in the lineup as the DH, and Hairston plays for Damon in left.
And on the mound, number forty-five, Sergio Mitre.