Tonight’s the night in New York. The future of Yankee pitching takes the hill for his first 2008 start. Forget Ian Kennedy. Forget Phil Hughes. Those guys weren’t really the reason the Yankees passed on Johan Santana. Joba is the guy. He’ll be on a limited pitch count – no more than 65 – but it will be enough to send the New York fans and media over the edge. One way or the other.

If he goes out and pitches five solid innings, gives up a run or two, and strikes out five, he will be coronated on the back pages of the Post and the Daily News. If he gets rocked, using up his pitch count to barely make the third inning, giving up a home run, hitting a batter, walking a couple, the angry mob will be storming the Steinbrenner castle calling for the head of Cashman and everyone else not named George.

Either way, it won’t really mean anything. He’s young, he’ll get more starts, and the Yankees don’t have a whole lot going on this season. The old saying “robbing Peter to pay Paul” comes to mind. The man who replaced Joba in the set-up role – Professor Farnsworth – blew the game last night. So in making the move, they have weakened what was a strength. And a big question mark remains on Joba’s success as a starter. We’ll take it.

The real news out of New York for me is the return of Pedro Martinez. I’ve always been a fan, never turned on him when he left Boston, and continue to root for him. Although that whole midget thing was a little weird.