Joba Chamberlain has been going to the curveball with much more regularity. Maybe the Yankees have told him to refine his curve and changeup in preparation for joining the starting rotation. Maybe I'm putting the cart before the horse. Either way, Carlos Delgado won a hard fought battle, resulting in a much needed insurance run as the Mets earned an important 7-4 win.
Mark Melancon and JB Cox continue to move up the ranks. Soon the words Farnsworth and pressure situation will be aliens to a Yankee fan's vocabulary.
- Meanwhile, in the lower ranks:
Charleston young guns Zach McAllister  and Dellin Betances  are making real progress. McAllister has been especially dominant: 49 innings, 44 hits, 43 strikeouts, 7 walks, 2.20 ERA. The 6:1 ratio of strikeouts to walks and 2.66 GO/AO are video game numbers and his last outing was extremely impressive.
After the only terrible outing of his 2008 campaign [8 runs on 11 hits over 3 innings], McAllister dominated in his next start by tossing 7 shutout innings, striking out 11 and walking zero. Though he is still a youngan, McAllister has already outclassed the Sally League competition and is deserving of a Tampa promotion.
Betances, in the meantime, has been striking out batters left and right. Unfortunately, he's also been handing out walks like they're going out of style. Over 47 innings Betances has only allowed 27 hits and struck out a ridiculous 57 batters [while walking an equally noticeable 32], with a 3.26 ERA and .167 batting average against. A source in Charleston let me know Betances has been sitting 92-94 mph with his fastball and hitting 96 on occasion.
Like McAllister, Betances had suffered the worst start of his 2008 season a week ago before recovering extremely well yesterday by throwing 6 no-hit innings and striking out 8 batters before being pulled for pitchcount. (Betances is regularly held to 90 pitches and was taken out of the game after throwing 94 last night) According to multiple forums, Betances was sitting at 94 mph all night, hit 95 on the gun 15 times and topped out at 97.
Though Betances has the higher ceiling, McAllister is obviously showing the greater command and maturity. Before the season started, Brian Cashman decreed both elite arms would spend the entire season at Charleston. However, McAllister has already proven to need a higher level of competition and Betances may soon follow suit - if he can ever reduce his current walk rate of 6.80 b/9.
Finally, the much anticipated return of Christian Garcia took place tonight as the oft-injured pitching prospect threw 4.2 innings for Tampa, allowed 6 hits, 1 earned run, struck out 6 and walked 1. Garcia has been making his way back from Tommy John and serious knee surgeries and, when healthy, possesses some of the best stuff in the entire Yankees farm system. Keep an eye on Garcia this year as he is an very intriguing project.