It started out well enough for Adam Warren last night. He struck out the first MLB batter he faced in DeAza, and then got Kevin Youlikis to pop out in foul territory. But it all went downhill from there. He walked the next two batters he faced, then escaped further trouble with a Alex Rios fly ball to CF. His 2nd inning of work went like this. HR, single, single, double. Visit to the mound by pitching coach Larry Rothschild. Two grounders allowed Gordon Beckham to advance to 3rd and score, then a fly ball ended the frame. The 3rd inning proceeded in a similar fashion for the Yankee rookie. Home Run, single, stolen base, single, single and another 2 runs scored. At that point the Yanks found themselves in a 6-4 hole, Girardi signaled for Phelps and Mr Warren’s night was mercifully over.
It would be grossly unfair to judge anyone based on one start, much less the first start of their MLB career, but there’s no sugarcoating that Adam Warren was awful last night. He didn’t give his team a chance to win, which is the minimum requirement for any big league starter. Whether it was opening night jitters, inability to locate or just a lack of MLB quality stuff, he had no answers for the White Sox lineup. He was staked to a 4 run lead in the first inning then proceeded to give it all back in the 2nd and then some by the 3rd. When asked in the post game about whether or not Warren would make his next start Girardi was non-committal, but he did note that the team would need some bullpen help and that a move in that area would be pending.
For Exhibit A in why Wins and Losses are a lousy way to judge pitchers, we have David Phelps. He was the one Yankee pitcher who did a reasonably good job last night, escaping a 1st and 2nd, 1 out situation in the 3rd without giving up a run and giving up 2 ER in 3 1/3 innings of work overall. But he wound up taking the loss because 2nd run he allowed was the 8th of the game, while the Yanks scored 7. One silver lining is that he managed to get his pitch count up to 64 and pitched on the same day that Warren did, so he could be counted on for 80+ pitches should Girardi opt to start him over Warren next Wednesday facing the Rays. Joe did praise what Phelps did last night and the work he has done all season, saying that Phelps is someone “in our long term plans”. An easy inference to draw would be the Yankee manager was drawing a distinction between Phelps and Warren, especially in the context of having just discussed Warren on the previous question.
Lost in the carnage of last night’s game was Cory Wade, who continued his awful pitching of late. He came in to what was still a winnable game (8-6) and proceeded to allow 2 runs in his first inning of work, and another 4 in the 9th putting the game completely out of reach. I’ll give him a mulligan for the 9th inning, when he was being stretched beyond his normal 1-2 inning workload and threw 58 pitches in total. He took one for the team last night, and while he deserves some props for that its also inescapable that he’s pitching himself off the MLB roster. His ERA for the month of June is an ungodly 13.97. David Aardsma is close to being ready, and when he is the Yanks will have a decision to make on Wade.
You might have missed it, and if you actually caught it you deserve some sort of medal for Yankee fandom, but Dewayne Wise actually got the final two outs of last night’s game. Girardi joked on the postgame that he used Wise because there are rules against him using Mike Harkey or Larry Rothschild. But watching position players pitch is always fun, and it added some levity to what was an otherwise ugly night at the ballpark.