The Yankees Have the Strangest Achilles Heel of All

Yankees bats silenced by debuting Indians starter

By Josh Alper
|  Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010  |  Updated 9:15 AM EDT
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The Yankees Have the Strangest Achilles Heel of All

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Anyone who thought it was a good thing that the Yankees were facing a pitcher making his big league debut on Tuesday night clearly hasn't been paying attention.

For several years now, the powerful Yankees offense has been brought to its knees time and time again by neophytes who would never have a better moment on a big league mound. Hardball Talk crunched the numbers and found that 11 pitchers since 2000 have made their big league debuts against the Yankees. Tomlin's seven innings of one-run ball were par for the course. He's the seventh of the 11 pitchers to pick up a win and he's also the seventh to allow zero or one earned runs in their debut performance.  

That doesn't bode all that well for Tomlin's future. The 10 pitchers who came before him have a combined 185 wins in their big league career with 102 of them belonging to Jake Peavy. Two of them -- Eduardo Villacis and Daryl Thompson -- have never won a game and Villacis hasn't even pitched in another game since his debut. Like many of the others on the list, Tomlin isn't a spectacular prospect and seemed to benefit a great deal from the mystery factor on Tuesday night.

Explaining this problem, which extends to pitchers facing the Yankees for the first time, is a bit difficult. It could be that their patience works against them as they find themselves in poor hitting counts while trying to get a feel for the pitcher or, thinking back to Jamie Moyer's start earlier this season, it could just be that soft tossers give the team more trouble than guys who come right at them. Or a combination of both but it remains a vexing problem for a team with so much offensive thunder. 

Thankfully they've seen Fausto Carmona, Wednesday's starter, on several occasions. This little conundrum can be put to be for a while and we can focus on Jorge Posada's latest injury (a sore knee) and A.J. Burnett's willingness to risk life and limb to pie a teammate. Marlins outfielder Chris Coghlan busted up his knee over the weekend while delivering a pie but Burnett promises that he'll keep on throwing them while putting safety first. A dubious guarantee from a man who couldn't resist punching a wall with his pitching hand but we're fond of the tradition so we're giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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