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June 23, 2004

Earl Weaver Day
by Larry Mahnken

I swear to you, Camden Yards is a pitchers' park.

Still, the Yanks beat the crap out of the Orioles once again last night, taking a 3-0 lead before a single out was recorded with Alex Rodriguez's 3-run HR, and after Moose gave up a 3-run shot to Miguel Tejada, they took it right back on Derek Jeter's 3-run dinger of his own.

The O's and Yanks each scored another run in their next at-bats, and the score stayed there until the Yanks put another run up in the sixth, and A-Rod hit another homer, his 18th, in the seventh.

The game was a blowout, but the Yankees should have won by more. They stranded 11 runners, left the bases loaded multiple times, and Mussina really was terrible at the start. He settled down, pitched okay the rest of the way, but the quality of his pitching wasn't the important part last night--the mere fact that he pitched was. With Kevin Brown unable to go this weekend the Yankees needed Mussina to come back so they didn't have to pray for Tanyon Sturtze to be effective again.

Hopefully Brown can be back for the Boston series next week, but the Yankees can't overlook these games this week. Baltimore's a last place team that's still capable of running with the Bombers offensively, and the Mets are a solid team that you know will be up for the challenge this weekend. Yeah, those Boston games are more important, but these ones are important, too. If the Yanks can win four or five of these games, they should at least hold, perhaps stretch their lead going into the showdown.

More good news came for the Yankees, as Jose Contreras' wife and children were able to defect from Cuba and will be reunited with The Big Enigma today. What the impact will be on Contreras' pitching is unknown, and largely unimportant--forget the political issues, no child should be forcefully seperated from their father.