Tuesday, August 22, 2006

What Does It Feel Like To Lose?

Click on the smaller image to pull up the full statistics table from the Yanks/Sox series. Those offensive numbers...they're just insane. I'm just wondering how we're all going to react when they drastically drop off over the next few days.

I'll admit that I'm kind of scared about the next six games. The Yankees put it all on the line this weekend against Boston, and they were able to thwart their most looming threat. But now they're headed out west to face a couple of teams that will have little bearing on their postseason fate. And considering one of those teams is the Angles, I'd be ecstatic to go 3-3 through Sunday.

Tonight's bout is one that, while yielding some potential, could end unfavorably for the Yankees. But I implore everyone to not judge the team or Mr. Jeffrey Karstens on the ultimate outcome of the game. He's a 23-year-old righty who has seemingly found his stuff over the course of the season. He's being given a tryout start here because, well, Sidney Ponson can't hack it as a Major League pitcher. As such, it's important to remember that he's going to walk a few guys, and he's going to toss some hittable pitches. If he makes it through five innings (that's all I envision him going) and gives up four or less runs, consider it a success.

For some more info on Karstens, check out this assessment by Mike A., formerly of In George We Trust, currently of Baby Bombers:

Karstens seems destined to start 2006 at Triple-A Columbus after winning 12 games and posting a remarkable K/BB ratio of 3.5 (147/42) at Double-A. He's got the look and stuff of a solid back-of-rotation starter, where his impeccable command would be a welcome addition. With the Yankees crowded rotation, he could fit in as a Tanyon Sturtze type swingman, where his bullpen experience would be a plus. If he continues to improve and has a good year at Triple-A, it's possible he could earn a big league call-up come September. If not, he should see some major league action during the 2007 campaign.

With rest being doled out by Torre, you can expect the Yankees will score only about three runs tonight, so a loss may be in the cards. But after gaining five games in the AL East in the last four days, the Yankees can afford to gamble with the kid here. This allows Jaret Wright to slide back into Mike Mussina's spot, giving both men extra rest between starts. If Karstens can hold his own, he can be used to spell Wang in September. That's also where our boy Carl Pavano comes into the picture. He threw nearly 80 pitches in his last rehab outing, and plans to top that mark Friday for Columbus. Even if everything goes exactly to plan (which it never does), Pavano likely won't be back until the rosters expand. Even then, he can be a huge help, adding a sixth (or seventh, if Karstens inspires optimism) arm to the rotation, which will help the Yanks prepare for the playoffs.

Another important factor in this series will be Octavio Dotel. He's been used in limited spurts since his return from the DL, and has been yanked at the first sign of trouble. That makes sense, considering the gravity of the series the Yanks just completed. However, one would expect Dotel to pitch a full inning in two out of the three games in Seattle. This is not to disrespect the Mariners, but more that they aren't a contending team and the Yankees can afford to take a few risks.

It's a 10:00 start tonight for you east coast folk, meaning it's best to curl up on the couch with the alarm clock set for whatever time it is you get up for work. Then again, these games shouldn't go too much longer than those in the Boston series.

Numbers from Baseball Musings