Sergio Mitre gets his second consecutive spot start for the Bombers, the first necessitated by Adam Pettitte's inflamed throwing elbow, this one necessitated by last Tuesday's rainout in Detroit. The sinkerballer didn't do too well in pitching the series opener in Detroit, surrendering four runs, three of them earned, and allowing seven baserunners over four and a third innings, while striking out an uncharacteristically high four batters.
Despite the mediocre performance, Mitre might have been allowed to go a bit deeper into that game if not for stamina issues. After spending the first month plus of the season pitching in relief, and pitching sporadically at that, Mitre wasn't stretched out enough to go more than 65-75 pitches. He was pulled after Johnny Damon deposited his 69th offering of the night into the right field stands.
Mitre will probably be able to go a bit deeper into today's game. If he can't, either due to stamina or ineffectiveness, the Yankee bullpen is well positioned to pick up the slack. Even with longman extraordinaire Alfredo Aceves on the DL, the bullpen still features former starter Ivan Nova, who was impressive in his Major League debut Thursday, as well as the just-activated Chan Ho Park, fresh off of two rehab appearances and capable off going multiple innings if needed. With Javier Vazquez being pushed back to Friday, he could potentially see some relief action in a pinch.
No corresponding move has been announced for yet, but to make room for Park, Boone Logan will most likely be optioned back to Scranton. Logan soaked up the final two innings of yesterday's game, leaving the bullpen even better positioned to handle whatever work comes its way today.
[UPDATE 12:40 PM: According to Joel Sherman, Park will not be activated today, as the Yankees want to keep Ivan Nova on the roster as the longman to back up Mitre. That's all well and good. But what value does an ineffective and unavailable (today at least) Boone Logan offer over Park? I don't get it. Either way, it looks like Nova will be the man to go when Park is activated. If that's so, with Nova gone, Alf on the DL, and Mitre starting today, the Yankees will be without a longman until Mitre gets his rest in. In the meantime, Javier Vazquez will likely be the defacto longman in advance of his start Friday. Lastly, don't forget, today's game is on MY9, not YES.]
For the Twins, righty Nick Blackburn takes to the hill. Blackburn posted uncannily identical seasons in both 2008 and 2009, and is off to a 3-1 start this year despite a 4.76 ERA. FIP and xFIP rate him even more harshly, at 5.92 and 5.21 respectively. Like most Twins starters, Blackburn is awfully stingy with the free passes, giving up just 2.5 per nine this year and 1.9 per nine over his 450 career innings. In four career starts against New York he's posted a 5.89 ERA and 1.80 WHIP over 18.1 IP. He did not appear in last year's ALDS.
During Spring Training, Star-Ledger beat writer Marc Carig took to referring to Mitre as "The Sergio Mitre Experience". The nickname has caught on with the other beat writers and through the blogosphere. So in honor of the Sergio Mitre Experience, today we turn to the Jimi Hendrix Experience. If Mitre can pitch half as well as Jimi played, the Yanks will be sitting pretty today.
If you can just get your mind together
Then come on across to me
We'll hold hands and then we'll watch the sunrise
From the bottom of the sea
But first, are you experienced?
Have you ever been experienced?
Well, I have
[Song Notes: "Are You Experienced?" was the final track on the Jimi Hendrix Experience's debut album, also titled Are You Experienced. The performance above isn't the best in terms of video and sound quality, but it's a fairly rare live performance, includes a few other tunes, and took place in New York. If something a more traditional is a little more your speed, try this one on for size.]
Derek Jeter gets a half day off as the DH today. Nick Swisher's sore left bicep bothers him most when swinging left handed, to the point that he batted right handed against a right handed pitcher yesterday. With a righty on the mound today, Swish gets a day off. Marcus Thames takes his place in right field; Randy Winn gets the nod in left. Jorge Posada gets behind the plate for the first time since Thursday.
Derek Jeter DH
Brett Gardner CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Jorge Posada C
Marcus Thames RF
Randy Winn LF
Ramiro Pena SS
Denard Span CF
Orlando Hudson 2B
Joe Mauer C
Justin Morneau 1B
Michael Cuddyer RF
Jim Thome DH
Justin Kubel LF
Alexi Casilla SS
Matt Tolbert 3B