Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What should be done about Mitre?

The line on Mitre as a Yankee is pretty ugly: in five starts with the Yankees, he has an ERA over seven and, perhaps more importantly, a WHIP near two. Sure, he's not walking anyone, but when you have 38 hits in 23 innings, all you can say is "thank G-d he wasn't walking anyone".

The Yankees don't need someone to be a Hall of Fame Ace Stopper in their fifth spot.

They do need someone better than Mitre.

Now, to be fair, at this point of the season if your fifth starter is your only (significant) problem, your team is probably be in a good place. So don't get me wrong--the Yankees need someone better than Mitre in the fifth spot, but the team is still riding pretty high.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand.

At this point, Mitre is more or less giving the Yankees what Sidney Ponson gave them. While playoff fortunes rarely rest on the fifth starter, that's still no decent reason that the fifth starter shouldn't be a little more adequate than that.

There was speculation last night that Alfredo Aceves, who pitched four innings in relief, was being stretched out to start again.

I'm not so sure this is the case. The last time it happened, Aceves came out with a sore shoulder and the bullpen seemed to collapse in Anaheim (though the crap starting pitching the Yankees got could not have helped, either).

What seems more likely is that Girardi wanted to avoid using other relievers--especially since Joba Chamberlain is starting tonight and has had efficiency problems throughout the season.

Would Aceves be a better option than Mitre?

At this point, if Aceves was healthy (and it's a very, very big if), the answer is probably yes.

Unlike last time, the Yankees now have Chad Gaudin in the bullpen--and although Gaudin is (probably) not as good of a pitcher as Aceves, he, a starter with the Padres, could certainly fill the long relief role and thus no one has to worry about the bullpen collapsing because the short relievers are being overused.

That said, I don't see the Yankees going that route.

Aceves has been so valuable out of the bullpen, and the Yankees have struggled enough (relative speaking here) without him there that I don't think the Yankees touch him.

On the other hand, they could give a start to Chad Gaudin. Gaudin had not-very-inspiring numbers at San Diego--the most notable pitcher's park in the league--so that doesn't imply a ton of confidence, but at this point the devil the Yankees don't know might be better than the one they do.

Whatever the Yankees do, there's one thing they shouldn't--and that's to let Mitre keep starting every fifth day. Against the Athletics and Orioles is one thing; against the White Sox or the Rangers is something probably guaranteed to fail.