Note: Apparently the tarp is down, and we’re in a delay. The weather forecast includes showers, but they should clear up by 8. Something tells me that if the delay lasts longer than an hour or so, they might call this one. But we’ll keep you updated.
After the Yankees clinched the division yesterday, I figured we’d see a lineup full of the secondary players today. That is not the case. A few regulars made their ways into the lineup, including Jorge Posada and Johnny Damon, both of whom didn’t play yesterday. Still, we’ll see a number of players today who wouldn’t have sniffed a pennant chase.
The D lineup gets a chance against former first overall pick Luke Hochevar. That draft featured Brandon Morrow, Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum, Kyle Drabek, and Max Scherzer on the pitching side, and Evan Longoria on the offensive side. Hochevar wasn’t a bad pick, but even discounting hindsight there were plenty better first overall picks that year. Then again, from what I remember Andrew Miller was atop the rankings in that class, but the Royals passed because of bonus demands.
After eight dominant starts to start the season in AAA, in which Hochevar allowed just eight runs in 48 innings, the Royals called him up to start on May 12. Disaster ensued. He pitched 11.2 innings over three starts that month, allowing 14 runs. June was an easier month, as Hochevar allowed 11 runs in 33.2 innings, holding opponents to a .565 OPS. It wouldn’t last. From July 4 through September 6, Hochevar allowed 53 runs over 69.2 innings, his OPS against spiking to .909.
At some point before his September 12 start against Cleveland, someone suggested he was tipping his pitches — unfortunately, the Kansas City Star article has since been removed. This, I’ve come to believe, is merely a confidence booster. Whether mental or physical, it didn’t matter for Hochevar, as he allowed five runs in five innings on September 12. He came back strong, though, pitching a complete game shutout against the White Sox on September 18. But then he slipped back into a hole, allowing six runs over five innings against Boston last week.
For the Yanks it’s Chad Gaudin, who continues his audition for a postseason roster spot. Since moving to the rotation at the beginning of September he’s been serviceable, allowing eight runs over 20 innings. The problem with Gaudin is that he doesn’t go deep into games. Just once since coming to New York has he finished six innings, that start coming against Tampa Bay. That’s hurt his win-loss record: the Yankees are 4-0 in his starts this month (and 5-0 in all of his starts), but his lone Yankee win came in his first appearance, which was in relief.
I’d expect to see lineups like this for the whole KC series. Perhaps we’ll see the regulars all play on Saturday and Sunday in Tampa Bay. But until then, enjoy the scrubs.
Lineup, in which there is only one pure right-handed hitter. Robinson Cano‘s presence could suggest that Jerry Hairston isn’t quite ready to play. Johnny Damon was a late scratch. Girardi says it was a precautionary measure because of the rain.
And on the mound, number forty-one, Chad Gaudin.