Larry Mahnken and SG's

Replacement Level Yankees Weblog

"Hey, it's free!"

The Replacement Level Yankees Weblog has moved!  Our new home is:

Larry Mahnken
Sean McNally
Fabian McNally
John Brattain

This is an awesome FREE site, where you can win money and gift certificates with no skill involved! If you're bored, I HIGHLY recommend checking it out!


Disclaimer: If you think this is the official website of the New York Yankees, you're an idiot. Go away.

October 14, 2004

Jonny B. Good
by SG

After watching Mike Mussina dominate the Boston Red Sox lineup in Game one, you had to figure that would be the best pitching performance the Yankees would get in this series. You would've been wrong. Jon Lieber pitched one of the best games of his life, in the most important game of his career.

The pitching matchup was, on paper, a classic mismatch. Pedro Martinez, the best pitcher of the last six seasons, versus Jon Lieber, in his first full season coming off of ligament replacement surgery. However, Lieber attacked the Red Sox aggressively, pounding the strike zone with all his pitches. Meanwhile, Pedro struggled in the first, allowing a walk to Derek Jeter, hitting Alex Rodriguez, allowing a single to Gary Sheffield, before finally recovering to retire Hideki Matsui, Bernie Williams, and Jorge Posada.

Despite only allowing one run, the tone of the game was set. Lieber threw nine pitches in the first, Martinez threw 26 pitches. Although Pedro had very good velocity, the first and second innings took a lot out of him, and he was only able to go six innings, and showed visible signs of fatigue in the sixth, when he gave up a two run HR to John Olerud after walking Posada, giving the Yankees a 3-0 lead.

Meanwhile, Lieber absolutely picked apart the Boston Red Sox. A leadoff walk to Ortiz in the second and a single by Orlando Cabrera in the third were the only baserunners he allowed through six. There was a classic 16 pitch confrontation with Johnny Damon in the sixth which probably cost Lieber his shot at a complete game.

Although he got the out, at this point his was 1/4 of all the pitches he had thrown in the game. This AB took a lot out of Lieber in my opinion, and probably caused him to tire.

Lieber entered the eight at 79 pitches, but gave up a leadoff single to Trot Nixon. He was pulled at this point for Flash Gordon, who's been a bit shaky in the postseason. A ringing double from Jason 'Tough Guy' Varitek put runners at second and third with no outs, but Flash did manage to get two ground outs, with one of the runs scoring. With Johnny Damon up, Torre went to the amazing Mariano Rivera. Mo has to be both physically and mentally exhausted, but he came in and did a great job of getting the last four outs, and giving the Yankees a commanding 2-0 lead in the best of seven ALCS.

Obviously, this is the best-case scenario for the Yankees, but this series is far from over. Boston hits much better at home, and it's safe to say that Brown and either El Duque or Vazquez are big question marks. You'd think that Game 5, with Mussina vs. a gimpy Schilling or his replacement heavily favors the Yankees, so if they are able to steal Game 3 or 4, they have a chance to clinch at Fenway. I still expect the series to come back to the Stadium, probably with the Yankees up 3-2, with two chances to close it out.

That's all stuff to worry about for later. Kudos to Jon Lieber once again, for an absolute gem of a pitching performance.