NEW YORK -- When do you start to believe Chase Whitley is for real?
It could be when he puts together back-to-back starts against the toughest hitting and AL East leading Toronto Blue Jays. Last Tuesday, he held the Blue Jays to just two runs in five innings. On Monday night, Whitley goes up again against the Jays, this time in Toronto.
New York Yankees
Expectations change storylines. For example, if Manny Banuelos arrived and went 3-0 with a 2.57 ERA in his first seven starts, the hype would be large. With Whitley, out of nowhere, there is some trepidation if what he is doing is legit.
Whitley is passing the eye test. He does not beat himself, as evidenced by his franchise record of going three straight starts with five or fewer hits and no walks in at least five innings. The Jays barely broke that string in the Bronx by managed five hits and one walk.
Whitley, 25, is just now learning how to start. In five seasons as a Yankee minor leaguer, he only started 14 times in his 151 games. Before his debut for the Yankees, he sat in the Citi Field clubhouse in May, looking like a rookie not knowing what to do with himself.
On that mound that first night, he threw 4 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball, beginning to gain Joe Girardi's confidence. Considering his other starts were at the Cubs and Cardinals, he basically began his career as an NL pitcher. He then pitched well against the Twins, Royals and Mariners before his start last week against the Blue Jays.
Teams now are gaining more knowledge on Whitley. This will be a test for him.
Monday night is not a referendum on Whitley, but we will learn a bit more if Whitley is an Aaron Small-type story or on his way to be being a big-time starter.
Pitching Matchups: Whitley (3-0, 2.56) vs. Marcus Stroman (3-2, 5.14); Tuesday, David Phelps (3-4, 3.86) vs. Mark Buehrle (10-4, 2.32); Wednesday, Hiroki Kuroda (4-5, 4.23) vs. Drew Hutchison (5-5, 3.86)
On Deck: The legendary Wallace Matthews will be on the ground in Toronto for the series.