With a series against their archrivals approaching, the Yankees hope Mitre can give them a chance to win their third straight Wednesday night as they conclude a two-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays.
New York (64-42) has had a tough time finding a consistent pitcher for the back end of its rotation. Mitre (1-0, 7.90 ERA) was called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre when Chien-Ming Wang(notes) (shoulder surgery) was lost for the season two weeks ago, and the Yankees have won two of his three starts even though he has surrendered 13 runs in 13 2-3 innings.
Mitre went three innings in his last outing, giving up seven hits and five runs in a 10-5 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.
The right-hander won his only start against Toronto, allowing two hits while striking out six in seven innings for the Chicago Cubs in a 2-0 victory June 8, 2005.
With Mitre taking his turn now, New York will be able to send its top four starters against Boston when that series between the AL East foes begins Thursday. The Yankees hold a 1 1/2-game division lead over the Red Sox but have lost all eight meetings this season.
The Yankees have had little trouble against the rest of their division opponents, including the Blue Jays (51-55).
New York has won six of eight versus Toronto, including a 5-3 victory Tuesday night after hitting three solo homers off Roy Halladay(notes). Johnny Damon(notes) and Mark Teixeira(notes) went deep in the eighth - the 10th time this season the Yankees have hit back-to-back homers - and Hideki Matsui(notes) connected in the ninth.
Teixeira’s home run was his 27th. He has two homers, two doubles and six RBIs in his last six road games.
Damon has 18 homers - six shy of his career high, set with the Yankees in 2006. The veteran outfielder is 7 for 17 (.412) in his last four contests away from Yankee Stadium.
Damon and the Yankees have never faced Toronto’s Marc Rzepczynski(notes) (1-2, 3.25), who will take the mound Wednesday. Rzepczynski hasn’t pitched since last Tuesday and did not get a decision, yielding three runs and striking out a career-high eight in 5 1-3 innings of a 4-3 loss to Seattle.
The rookie left-hander, making his sixth career start, has 30 strikeouts in 27 2-3 innings.
Toronto has lost 21 of 31, batting .247 to offset some decent pitching (4.01 ERA).
“Win,” Halladay said of the team’s goals for the remainder of the season. “That’s the reason you’re here. I don’t think at any point you can pack it in and work on things. You have to come out every day to try and win.”