The Yankees' entire pitching staff is in shambles at the moment. The bullpen has plenty of weak spots, given the injuries to David Robertson, Shawn Kelley, and Boone Logan. The starting rotation has plenty of holes as well. CC Sabathia has been a mess for virtually the entire year, while Hiroki Kuroda looks to be running on fumes. Phil Hughes, who has been awful for the vast majority of the year, was pulled from the rotation, and his replacement, David Huff, managed to pitch worse than he did in his start against the Red Sox. What a disaster.
After David Huff predictably got shellacked for nine runs and two home runs in 3.1 innings against a super-elite Red Sox offense, the Yankees turned to journeyman Jim Miller to help clean up the mess. Unfortunately, he only made the mess worse, allowing three runs while collecting only four outs. Finally, the Yankees turned to Brett Marshall. Unlike the two pitchers that proceeded him, Marshall wasn't horrible. The 23-year-old right-hander pitched the final 4.1 innings while allowing three hits and just one run, a Mike Napoli homer, while punching out three and walking just one. He threw 68 pitches, so they could look to squeeze 90 or so out of him if they so choose to start him on Thursday.
Pitching well isn't anything new to Marshall. Although his overall Triple-A numbers say he was bad (5.13 ERA, 4.62 FIP in 25 starts), he was effective down the stretch for the RailRiders, pitching to a 3.53 ERA while holding opposing batters to a .623 OPS against. He accumulated 51 innings in those eight starts while limiting homers and walks (0.35 HR/9 and 2.5 BB/9, respectably), while picking up strikeouts at a decent rate (7.6 K/9). The guy is on a bit of a roll, and due to the lack of other options, you might as well go with the hot hand.
A lot of times when we say "(Pitcher X) can't be worse than (Pitcher Y)," the opposite is true. See David Huff. There was no way he'd be worse than Phil Hughes... except on Saturday he was. The same applies with Brett Marshall. After all, he was pretty terrible in his first 17 starts with Scranton, and it wouldn't be too much of a surprise if he reverted back to that form Thursday in Baltimore. At the same time, though, Joe Girardi did say that they'll continue to use Marshall as a long man, but this is something the skipper should consider re-thinking. The options they have right now pretty much suck and they should just play the hot hand and hope for the best. It's the only chance they've got.
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