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June 9, 2005

by SG

After dropping 9 of their last 10 games, the Yankees needed a game like last night in the worst way possible. Joe Torre shuffled the lineup in an attempt to wakeup his bats. It seemed to work, as a team that's been scuffling to score put up 12 runs and 16 hits, but let's hope it doesn't mean more playing time for Ruben Sierra in LF.

Mike Mussina was pretty good, with 8 Ks and 3 runs allowed in 6 innings, but watching him bat was painful. The sooner the farce that is interleague play is over, the happier I'll be. Watching pitchers "hit" is just excruciating.

Tanyon Sturtze 2.0™ continues to defy his past performance. Sturtze entered his season with the following numbers for his career.

HR/BF: 0.03
BB/BF: 0.10
K/BF: 0.14

This season, his rates are:

HR/BF: 0.00
BB/BF: 0.03
K/BF: 0.15

BF = Total Batters faced

Very impressive so far, but the prior numbers were against a sample size of 3134 batters faced, and this season's numbers come against a grand total of 117 batters faced. However, Sturtze 2.0™ is pretty clearly a different pitcher than the old one, with the new cutter and the far better control. He may not be quite this good, the HR rate and the BB rate are both freakishly low, but he looks to be a guy the Yankees can count on this year.

Tino Martinez got ejected in the bottom of the fifth inning arguing a checked-swing while playing defense, which was something I'd never seen before. Joe Torre followed Tino out of the game, and Joe Girardi. took over. I do like seeing how Girardi handles things because I get the sense that either he or Don Mattingly will end up being the next manager of the Yankees. I was kind of hoping that Girardi would end Matsui's consecutive game streak last night, just because I think some rest would benefit him from time to time, but if the streak is that important to him then the way it was handled yesterday was fine with me.

The biggest story out of last night's game were the two home runs that Alex Rodriguez hit. The second one made him the youngest player ever to hit 400 HRs. It's still way too soon to predict how many he may end his career with. He may not want to play past his current contract, he may get injured or decline, or he may just not continue to hit them like he has in the past. However, Yankee fans should take a chance to marvel at this accomplishment and recognize just how good a player they have playing third base right now. Has he had a few disappointing and embarrassing moments as a Yankee? Yes. Is he playing out of position? Yes, although that's not his fault. He's very likely the best player we'll ever see playing for our team, so let's try to appreciate that every once in a while, even when he fans with runners on sometimes.

I won't make the mistake of thinking that this win will put this team back on track, but as long as I'm watching them, I'll take wins over losses.