Through the first three innings, Round 5 of the Sergio Mitre Experiment seemed to be going OK. He had allowed just a run, forgivably to Aaron Hill, on three hits and no walks. True, the Blue Jays offense is a bit weak, especially with Alex Rios out of the picture, but we’re also talking about the Yankees fifth starter. In any case, Mitre didn’t get the job done after that. His botched double play, despite the official scorer handing Cano the error, led to a three-run inning for the Jays. He didn’t help matters the next inning by leaving a pitch right over the plate for Lyle Overbay, giving the Blue Jays a 5-4 lead that would last the rest of the way.
After Sergio Mitre’s last start, I wondered whether the Yankees might flip Aceves and Mitre, allowing Ace to throw every five days while relegating Mitre to bullpen duty. It would make sense. In Mitre’s past two starts Ace has had to come in and hold down the fort. Last time it was two innings and one run allowed. This time it was four innings and no runs on just two hits. It might be nothing — just Girardi giving the rest of the bullpen a night off. That seems a bit odd, though, considering Aceves was unavailable just yesterday with back issues. The Yanks won’t say anything now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Aceves gets the start Saturday night in Seattle.
The game started off all Yanks. Derek Jeter homered into the Yanks bullpen to open the game, and then Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira each singled, putting runners on first and second with none out and the Yankees already up 1-0. With rookie Mark Rzepczynski on the ropes, the Yankees couldn’t strike again. Alex Rodriguez grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, and Jorge Posada hit one to Jose Bautista in right to strand Swisher on third. They’d certainly need more than one with Mitre on the mound, but it was a good start.
Robinson Cano and Jerry Hairston went back-to-back to open up the fourth inning, which Melky Cabrera followed with a single. A batter later and Rzepczynski was out of the game, replaced by Shawn Camp, who disposed of Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher to end the inning. Camp allowed just two hits, erasing one with a double play, and kept the Yanks off the board. Then came Brandon League, who allowd a leadoff single and then struck out the side. Jesse Carlson and Jason Frasor closed it out, allowing no Yankees to reach base.
It’s strange that both starters were out of the game relatively early, but both bullpens held the opposition scoreless. Normally the Yankees game is to take pitches and wear down the stater, getting to the vulnerable bullpen early. They did exactly that, forcing Rzepczynski to throw 76 pitches through 3.1 innings. The second part of the plan just didn’t fall into place. Over the course of 162 games, that’s going to happen. There’s no shame in having a seven-game win streak snapped with your fifth starter on the mound.
Once again the Yankees will send out their four real starters for the final two in Toronto and the first two in Seattle. If they rattle off wins in those, I think everyone will forget about Sergio Mitre’s rotten start. Well, that is, until he starts again.