seven innings, one earned run - against Lena Durham, continuing his impending assault on the Scranton RailRider record books. That one earned run doubled his total on the year, ending his 11-inning zeros streak. And if the Disney Channel has a candidate for the miracle Yankees in 2013, make no mistake - it's not a Ronnier, a Claiborne or even a Slade - it's Bootcheck, got that? Bootcheck. Boots on the ground, baby: Boot's on the mound.
Bootcheck is 34, going on 60, considering his many lives. He came up as a reliever lugnut for the Angels, and once hurt himself while sprinting in from the bullpen en route to a bench-clearing brawl. (Think about that; some guys jog in for a fight; he came running.) He missed the rest of that season. He's pitched for the Yokohama Bay Stars of the Nippon Baseball League, and the Lotte Giants of the Korean League. He pitched for Pittsburgh and Tampa, and right now he's Old Man Moosic.
OK, I know what you're thinking: Why are we bothering with this guy? Why are we even allowing this guy to take up space on the Scranton rotation? Don't we have a young pitcher to develop? (Quick answer: No.) But consider this:
Bootcheck is only starting as a starter. Entering this season, since 2003, he had started just seven games. Suddenly, as a starter - (think of him as a rookie starter, or as seven years younger than Andy Pettitte,) - Chris Bootcheck has found his true calling. He was blind, but now he can see. He has one last chance to make it real, to trade in these wings on some wheels, so we must climb in the back, because heaven is waiting down the tracks! The Scranton Railrider tracks!
Listen: We know the Yankee rotation is about to collapse. Somebody will tweak something. (But probably not sprinting in for a brawl.) Always happens. We lose pitchers to couches. We figure Chien-Ming Wang will be the first call-up. (Unless he's hurt.) After that, we're stomping out brush fires only to find they are in fact flaming bags of poo. Dellin Betances threw five no-hit innings yesterday, - woopie - but he walked four batters. On a given day in June or July, the Yankees will need to buy a contract for a one-game emergency start. They won't waste an option on Betances or a DJ Mitchell. They'll want somebody they don't fear losing.
And how can they overlook a guy whose ERA is 0.50.
Nope: There is no bigger Disney candidate in the Yankee organization. From now on, we're watching Chris Bootcheck.
Boots on the ground, baby. Boot's on the mound!