The biggest fear for any Yankee fan this season was the health and age of the pitching staff. Those fears have quickly been realized. Kevin Brown pulled himself out of his last start on June 9th after lasting only two innings. After the game he was heard saying that his back feels like there is a "steel rod" in there. He is now on the 15-Day DL.
Two games later, Mike Mussina injured his groin and was pulled after three innings. It looks like Mussina is only going to miss one start and should be back on the mound on Tuesday to face the Baltimore Orioles, his former team. So with two of the five starters out of the rotation where does that leave the Bombers?
Jose Contreras, who has already been demoted once this year to get his head on straight, has pitched better in his last two starts, Jon Lieber (who hadn't pitched in the two previous seasons) is pitching well and Javier Vasquez is quickly becoming the Yankees best pitcher. That still leaves two major holes.
The Yankees decided to insert Tanyon Sturtze into Mike Mussina's slot and he has pitched masterfully. Last night Sturtze moved his record to 2-0 after pitching 6 innings and letting in three earned runs. Baseball has a statistic called quality starts, which is 6 innings pitched while giving up 3 or fewer earned runs. Naturally, the Yankees would be happy with a few more quality starts from Sturtze.
On Saturday, Brad Halsey will make his major league debut in Los Angeles, filling in for Kevin Brown. Halsey comes to the Yankees from Columbus (AAA), where he has a 6-2 record and a 2.52 E.R.A in 13 starts.
It doesn't seem to matter to the Yankee hitters who is pitching, they continue to put up enough runs to win any game and have won seven of the last eight games. The Yankees have quietly moved to five and a half games ahead of the Red Sox in the standings.