The highest-paid pitching staff in baseball continues to rely heavily on a rookie who began the season in the minors.
Chien-Ming Wang, filling in for the injured Carl Pavano, will try to help the New York Yankees win their first series since mid-June when takes the mound for the finale of a three-game set with the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.
Wang, who was called up at the end of April to help fill the rotation spot of injured right-hander Jaret Wright, has yielded three earned runs or fewer in all but three of his first 11 major league starts. A native of Taiwan, Wang has proved more consistent than high-priced starters like Randy Johnson, Mike Mussina and Pavano since putting on the pinstripes.
He pitched seven solid innings Tuesday, allowing three runs and seven hits while striking out three without a walk, but did not receive a decision in the Yankees’ 5-4 loss to Baltimore.
Pavano will miss at least one start with a sore shoulder, and the Yankees are hoping he doesn’t need more time off as Wright (shoulder) and Brown (back) are still working their way back into shape.
Wang, who won his big league debut on April 30 against Toronto to end a three-game losing streak for New York, boasts a team-leading .249 opponents’ batting average. By comparison, teams are hitting .263 against Johnson, .278 against Mussina and .315 against Pavano—the three top p;itchers on a staff that earns approximately $67 million this year.
Mussina gave up four runs in the fourth inning Saturday, but New York rallied for an 8-4 win behind four hits and five RBIs from Bernie Williams. Tony Womack delivered the big hit, a two-out RBI single off Detroit closer Troy Percival in the top of the ninth.
Williams followed with a three-run shot off Percival as the Yankees rebounded from Friday’s series-opening 10-2 loss.
New York has not won a series since completing its second straight three-game sweep against the Chicago Cubs at Yankee Stadium from June 17-19. The Yankees haven’t won a road series since taking two of three from the Mets at Shea Stadium from May 20-22.
Dmitri Young hit a three-run homer for Detroit, which has lost five of its last six games.