The early reviews are in on Gustavo Chacin, and they are glowing.
A late-season callup last season, Chacin is 4-1 with a 1.91 ERA in five career starts. Starting at home for the first time in his young career, Chacin will go up against the Yankees with a 1.42 ERA and a mental advantage.
Chacin became the first lefty starter to win his major league debut against the Yankees since 1996, leading the Blue Jays to a 6-3 win at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 20.
The 24-year-old Venezuelan has carried those positive vibes over to this season, allowing just three runs and 13 hits in 19 innings.
Chacin baffled Texas on Saturday, allowing two hits over eight innings in an 8-0 win. The shutout was the first for a Blue Jays starter since a 7-0 win over the Yankees on Oct. 1.
“The kid’s good,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “He knows how to pitch and he knows how to win.”
Catcher Gregg Zaun said Chacin carries himself like a veteran.
“He does the things that veteran pitchers do against good-hitting teams,” Zaun said. “I don’t think he’s a flash in the pan. He’s gonna get better. He’s not the kind of kid who’s gonna take a whole lot for granted.”
The Blue Jays will need another excellent effort from Chacin to help erase the memories of Wednesday’s 11-2 loss to the Yankees.
Jorge Posada went 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs for the Yankees, who had lost seven of their previous nine games.
Alex Rodriguez finished 1-for-4 with two RBIs, and is hitting .421 (8-for-19) with three homers and nine RBIs since being moved from second to fifth in the order four games ago.
Manager Joe Torre said Rodriguez will stay where he is for the time being.
“I just feel Alex gives you a little more of a threat punch-wise out of the five hole,” Torre said.
Yankees designated hitter Ruben Sierra left Wednesday’s game after doubling twice, with a right biceps strain. Center fielder Bernie Williams came out because of tenderness in his left knee after singling in the seventh. Sierra is expected to miss a few games, while Williams should be in the lineup Thursday.