Rasner Gets Start

Most of the New York Yankees' pitching rotation is set, but the final slot remains up for grabs.

Looking to earn a few more turns in the rotation, Darrell Rasner gets the start Friday night when the Yankees open a three-game series at Safeco Field against the Seattle Mariners.

Oddsmakers have made New York -120 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 9.5 total runs (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 70% of bets for this game have been placed on New York -120 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Rasner has been one of several fill-in starters for the Yankees while Chien-Ming Wang, Mike Mussina and Carl Pavano dealt with injuries. Wang and Mussina have since returned, but Pavano could be out for the season. New York also strengthened its rotation by signing seven-time AL Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens on Sunday.

The fifth spot in the rotation figured to go to Japanese import Kei Igawa, but he was demoted after posting a 9.49 ERA in five starts. Rasner, Matt DeSalvo and top prospect Philip Hughes are the most likely candidates for that open spot, though Hughes is out at least another three weeks with a hamstring injury.

After struggling in his season debut on April 8, Rasner (1-1, 2.75 ERA) has pitched very well in his last three starts, allowing only one earned run over 15 1-3 innings. He had his best outing of the season Sunday in a 5-0 win over the Mariners, combining with four relievers on a four-hitter.

Rasner, who threw first-pitch strikes to 15 batters and 17 of 22 overall, gave up three hits in 5 2-3 innings with four strikeouts and two walks.

Rasner will try to prevent the Yankees (16-17) from losing back-to-back contests for the first time since a season-high seven-game slide from April 20-27.

Wang was tagged for seven runs in 6 1-3 innings Thursday and New York's bid for a series sweep of Texas ended with a 14-2 loss, preventing the Yankees from moving over .500 for the first time since before play on April 21.

"For the most part, I think we've been playing pretty good,'' New York's Derek Jeter said. "We'd like to go 7-0 every homestand we play seven games, but it's not going to happen.''

The Yankees play their next nine games on the road, three each against Seattle and the Chicago White Sox before returning to the New York area for three games versus the crosstown Mets.

Struggling Jeff Weaver was hit hard again Thursday, allowing six runs in five innings in the Mariners' 7-3 loss at Detroit.

"We swung the bats good but couldn't get the big hit,'' Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said. "(Justin) Verlander was good when he had to be.''

The loss gave Seattle (15-15) a 3-5 record on its trip to Boston, New York and Detroit. The Mariners will be happy to get back to Safeco Field, where they have won three straight.

Thursday continued a disturbing trend for the Mariners, who found themselves trailing 3-0 after one inning. They have been outscored 35-13 in the first inning this season.

Jarrod Washburn (2-3, 3.18) matches up against Rasner for the second straight start. The veteran left-hander allowed three runs and seven hits over 5 1-3 innings at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. That marked the first time in six starts this season that he failed to pitch at least six innings.

Washburn is 4-4 with a 2.80 ERA in nine career starts against the Yankees, but has lost three of his last four appearances against them.

by: Dave Michaels - thespread.com – Email Us

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