(Long Island, NY) Being one of the weakest part of practically every team in baseball, the number four and five starters of both the Mets and Yankees have been a mystery at times, and a disaster at others. But as the season has gone on for both first place clubs, these spots have started to look better and more consistent. This is especially helpful to take some pressure of the staff aces, who have carried the teams throughout.
It’s amazing that the Mets have had the success they have enjoyed with the way their rotation has been. At the start, rookie Brian Bannister and disappointment Victor Zambrano were in before injuries interrupted their seasons. The replacements have resembled a who’s-who of the scrap-heap. Jose Lima was dreadful in both his stints, Jeremi Gonzalez and Alay Soler not much better.
John Maine struggled in his first few starts, but has been a blessing since being recalled from Triple-A. Orlando ‘El Duque’ Hernandez has been up and down since he was acquired from Arizona in a mid-season trade, but he has the experience to give the team an October boost. Youngster Mike Pelfrey was up for a while and looked about as good as you would expect someone only a year removed from college.
The way it appears currently, Maine and Hernandez should stay in the rotation. In the post season, managers may decide to go with a three or four man rotation. Hernandez was very effective coming out of the bullpen in the Chicago White Sox’ championship run last season.
On the other side of town, injuries have hampered the Yankees staff, as well. Annual DL partners Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright have spent time on the sidelines together, with Wright being fair since his return. Pavano may turn out to be one of the biggest free agent busts of all time.
The Bombers have brought in arms such as Sidney Ponson and Kris Wilson with no results. Shawn Chacon and Aaron Smalls’ magic from last year ran out and they both are no longer around. GM Brian Cashman acquired Corey Lidle at the trading deadline in the Bobby Abreau deal, and he has been decent.
How much of a difference these pitchers make for both teams remains to be scene. But at least these four have brought some sense of stability to the bottom of their respective starting rotation on two teams that had a rough time finding it.