The Yankees need to win tonight's finale to win the current series and salvage a split of their season set with the Mets. In their way stands 26-year-old Cuban defector Alay Soler. The plump righthander started the year in A-ball where he dominated in six starts, earning an early May promotion to double-A Binghamton. There he was similarly convincing in three more turns, posting an aggregate minor league line of 49 2/3 IP, 29 H, 8 R, 0 HR, 12 BB, 55 K in nine starts.
By that point, the Mets had seen more than enough of Jose Lima and punted him, calling up Soler straight from double-A. Soler has since been infinitely less impressive in his seven major league starts. Much like his fellow countryman, Friday night's starter Orlando Hernandez, Solar's best start came in Arizona when he pitched a two-hit shutout. Still, Soler walked three and struck out just two in that game. In that sense, the start before that in which he struck out seven Dodgers in seven innings, walking just one and allowing just one run on a solo homer was more convincing. Most recently, Soler got roughed up by the Red Sox in Fenway for eight runs on ten hits and a pair of walks in just 4 1/3 innings.
The Yankees counter with Jaret Wright, whose last two starts have produced this line: 11 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 0 HR, 6 BB, 10 K. Most encouraging there is the increased strikeout rate as Jaret had struck out just 24 in his previous 53 2/3 innings of work. Wright lasted six full in his last outing and the Yankee pen is both rested and coming off a collection of solid outings as detailed at the end of my last post. Let's just hope the Yankees don't come down with the URPs (Unfamiliar Rookie Pitcheritis).