I used Baseball-Reference's Play Index tool and came up with eight such instances during the past 10 seasons in which the Yankees have faced a starter making his Major League debut. Admittedly I'm not quite an expert with the PI, and so it's possible I'm leaving someone out here, but hopefully this is close to a complete list (the highlighted starters are pitchers who got the win):
The Yankees are 2-6 in games started by pitchers making their Major League debuts since 2001. While that's obviously a small sample, it still lends credence to the idea that the Yankees have an inordinate amount of difficulty beating rookie pitchers. In fact, they haven't beaten a rookie making their MLB debut since 2004, when they pounded Eduardo Villacis. Since then they're on a six-game losing streak, and have been held to eight runs by the opposing starter over those six games.
Here are some random factoids from these eight games:
- The May 1, 2004 game was won by Jon Lieber.And if we go by WPA, Josh Tomlin's superb performance last night was the most dominating start by a pitcher making his Major League debut against the Yankees of the last 10 years. Wow.
- The June 22, 2002 1-0 Yankee victory over rookie Jake Peavy was an absolute gem by Ted Lilly, who tossed a complete game, three-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts!
- Gustavo Chacin's opponent in the September 20, 2004 game was Javier Vazquez.
- Anibal Sanchez's manager in the June 25, 2006 game? Joe Girardi, natch.
- Dan Giese of all people started the June 21, 2008 loss to the Reds.
Photo courtesy of the AP