Hidden behing the excitement of Alex Rodriguez's 10-RBI night and the Yankees 12-4 victory over the Angels last night was another strong seven innings from Carl "Meat" Pavano. Tossing out his two starts against the Orioles--the first in which he was beaned with a comebacker and the second in which he imploded in the sixth after five strong innings--Pavano has posted a 2.53 ERA in three starts, averaging seven innings in each and allowing a total of just three walks and one home run. His K/BB ratio in those three starts is 4:1 and his K/BB ratio over the season, his two Oriole starts included, is better than 3:1.
Meanwhile, Randy Johnson, in five starts as a Yankee, has a 0.96 WHIP, a .211 opponent's batting average, 8.91 K/9, 1.57 BB/9 and 5 2/3 times as may strikeouts as walks. Amazingly, all of those season stats are worse than his final numbers from 2004. In his last three starts he has a staggering 8:1 K/BB ratio. He's just getting up to speed.
With Meat and the Big Unit forming an impressive top two in the Yankee rotation, it sure would be nice to get something Mussina-like out of Moose tonight against the Angels. That may be wishful thinking--a vintage Mussina performance is increasingly looking about as likely as a vintage Bernie Williams performance--but if he can at the very least replicate what Pavano's dishing out (one hit per inning, excellent control, going deep into games), the Yankee rotation could really begin to take shape. Replacing Jaret Wright with Tiger Wang could also be a big part of that as a strong performance from Wang could force Wright and Brown to battle for the fifth spot.
Speaking of Wang and the Yankee pitchers, I wrote the following in the comments below, but realized that I probably did so after the traffic had moved on to the posts above, so I'll repeat it here:
Word is that Colter Bean has already been sent down in favor of Wang (though I see no mention of it on-line anywhere). I suppose this is to let Wang get comfortable in the Yankee clubhouse so he's slighly less on edge on Saturday (if that's at all possible) and because with Colter having pitched two innings yesterday, Torre's even less likely to go to him in the remaning three games he would have stayed up anyway. I'm really guessing here, though.
By the way, did you all notice how much Bean's pitches move?! Amazing. As I emailed Alex this morning, Bean is an odd bird. 6'6" 255 (!) with a flabby belly, thick legs and a huge rump, but thin in the arms and face. He doesn't really use his weight to pitch, but slings it side arm like a scrawny LOOGY might (actually, like Brian Shouse who the Yanks just saw with Texas), but what's remarkable about him is the movement on his pitches. The fact that he can keep his walks down with that movement (2.50 BB/9 in Columbus last year) is just remarkable. No wonder he's had so much success. Here's hoping Torre noticed that.
Speaking of which, anyone else notice that Neil Allen has been the bullpen coach for less than a month and both Bean and Chien-Ming Wang have earned call-ups? It's a bit coincidental (I doubt Allen was vigourously shaking the hands of Sturtze and Wright in an attempt to clear roster space for his men), but it's exactly what I had hoped to see when he was promoted from being the Clipper's pitching coach.