Category: Luis Ayala

>Yankees Look to Defeat a Local Pitcher

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The Yankees go into Wednesday’s night’s game hoping that A.J. Burnett can continue the solid pitching that Freddy Garcia displayed during game one against the Royals.  They will face Vin Mazarro who will make his first start of the season.
Garcia only allowed one run due to former Yankee Melky Cabrera’s home run in fourth inning.  He pitched six innings and only allowed six hits and two walks.  Garcia has been a blast from the past to this point and the Yankees only hope this effective pitching can continue.  Joe Girardi took Garcia out after only 85 pitches, so he could have been blamed for taking out a starting pitcher too early once again, but the bullpen effectively did their job for the last three innings to give Garcia his second win. 
David Robertson continues to be a reliable asset for Girardi.  He pitched the seventh inning and has now piled up 18 strike outs in only 13 and one-third innings.  His fastball reached 97 miles per hour and he struck out two batters in his inning on the mound.  He has a 1.35 ERA and he might have to be the primary seventh inning man for a period of time.  Joba Chamberlain picked up his eighth “hold”, Mariano Rivera converted his 13th save and they combined for only one hit in two innings. 
Earlier, set-up man Rafael Soriano, who got off to a rocky start but has pitched more like he did when he led the AL in saves since then, had an MRI which showed a little inflammation in his right elbow.  The Yankees hope to have his services back during the series against the Red Sox, which starts on Friday.  He had Tommy John surgery in 2004 and another more minor procedure in 2008, so hopefully this is not related. 
Lance Pendleton, who had been perfect so far this season in six and one-third innings out of the bullpen has been sent down to AAA Scranton to make room for Luis Ayala.  Before being put on the disabled list because of a strained lat Ayala had a 3.60 ERA in five innings.  He last pitched in Boston on April 9th.  If it had to happen, Pendleton, a Houston native, is probably content that it happened now because he just got back from pitching in front of his family against the Rangers in Arlington.  This is not a major move but it will give the Yankees another veteran presence out of the bullpen. 
Mazarro, who is from Hackensack, New Jersey, will face the same lineup that the Yankees used last night.  Bruce Chen was supposed to pitch tonight but he was put on the disables list on Tuesday with a strained lat muscle.  Chen was arguably the Royals best starter so far this season and in Mazarro’s three career starts against the Yankees while pitching for the Oakland Athletics, he had a miserable 9.69 ERA.  Hopefully a slumping Jorge Posada can begin his turn around tonight against the Royals, a team he has traditionally hit well against. 
Burnett leads the Yankees in wins with four, has a respectable 3.68 ERA, is coming off a start where he allowed two earned runs in seven innings and his career ERA against the Royals is a dominating 2.68.  The Yankees hold the edge in the pitching matchup so that should help them win their third game in a row.