Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Cy Young vs. Cy Old?

According to the YES Network's radar gun, Felix Hernandez started tonight's game at 97 MPH. The fastball got harder from there. The breaking ball--and looking at it, 80% of the time I couldn't decide if it was a slider or a curve--looked like an optical illusion. No matter what the kid threw, the ball jumped out of his hand.

He started off a little wild, and he got touched up by both the youngster (Robbie Cano) and the old man (Gary Sheffield, fresh off his one-game suspension) in the lineup. Both players got to him on pitches he left up--Cano's was a changeup gone astray, Sheff got his hand on a fastball that was supposed to be down and away and wound up up and over the plate. But overall, the kid's got serious stuff. Final line? 8 IP 4 H 4 BB 7 K 2 ER. Not bad.

As good as King Felix was, he got upstaged by the old man. In the sixth, I thought I was going to have to wake up Brother J with a cryptic warning. A solid double to left shut that down. But still, the Unit perservered, and got some nice relief work from Gordon and Mariano to end the game--a combined shutout.

It didn't look like Randy really had "no hit" stuff. He was bailed out by good defense, mainly by Alex Rodriguez, but also including a nifty play or two by Cano. But Johnson looked better than he had in his other starts, pumping the fastball at 94-95 MPH, going inside on the batter, and having some of the snarl that he has when he's at his best. It'd been a while since we'd seen that snarl, and I'd missed it.

The Yanks go ahead 2-1 in their series with the Mariners, and they have the chance to ice it with a win tomorrow afternoon. Disappointing starter Joel Pineiro, against once-disappointing- then-injured-then-good-then-Lord-knows-what starter Jaret Wright. Your guess is as good as mine.

***

Since last time...

  • The Yanks took on their second Red Sox DFA of the season, grabbing Mark Bellhorn just before today's deadline. It's a more interesting pickup than the first (lefty reliever Alan Embree is the other) because Bellhorn is playing behind a guy who is not as gooda hitter as he is. Steve Goldman has a great writeup on this in the Pinstriped Bible.

  • Tuesday, Alex Rodriguez became the first righthanded-hitting Yankee to hit 40 homer in a season, since Joe Dimaggio. Now, sometimes records of this sort are self-propagating--you say that righty power hitters suffer in Yankee Stadium, so you concentrate on developing lefties. I think that's the way it is with the "the Yankees have never won a World Series without a 'dominant' lefty starter." Maybe we'll look into that later, but for now, let's just congratulate A-Rod for his accomplishment.

  • On Monday, Joe Torre figured out the way to beat the Mussina Inning(tm)--pull Mussina before the bleeding gets too bad. Unfortunately, Mike was bad leading up to the Mussina Inning, so the Yanks were down 4-0 at the end of the fourth. Luckily, a couple of things happened: first, Aaron Small came out of the pen to pitch well in relief of Moose, and second, the Yankees got fat on the Mariner pitching staff, to bring home a 7-4 victory. The big blows were a couple of homers by Jason Giambi, bringing his August performance to a respectable .250/.437/.500.

That's all there is for right now. G'night, folks, and go donate some cash to the American Red Cross to help all the people who've been left sick and homeless after Hurricane Katrina.

Go ahead. Do it. Now.

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