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August 4, 2005

Slipsliding away
by SG

Two lackluster games against Cleveland have already undone a lot of the good of the month of July, as the Yankees have lost 2 games in the standings in 2 days. At this point in the season, teams can't afford to add to their deficit.

Yesterday's game was truly a surprise. Mike Mussina looked very sharp in the first four innings, and when the team staked him to a 4-0 lead, it felt like the Yankees would cruise to a victory. Then came a painful fifth inning that saw Mussina throw over 40 pitches and allow 6 runs. The Yankees seemed stunned after this, as they only managed to get 2 singles over the last 4 innings.

A lot of the talk about the Yankees' injury depleted-rotation has been that the Yankees need to win all of Moose's starts and all of Randy Johnson's starts. They've lost 3 of the last 4 games started by Mussina. Until yesterday that hadn't really been his fault though.

Some notes from Rotoworld

In his second rehab start, Carl Pavano (shoulder) allowed three runs and six hits over six innings for Single-A Tampa tonight. Pavano struck out three and walked none in the 77-pitch outing. He might rejoin the rotation early next week.

Hurry back Carl. You've been a disappointment but this team needs you badly. A poster on a website I frequent raised an interesting point about Pavano's struggles this year, and how it may be a lingering effect of getting hit in the head by a line drive. It's conceivable, but nothing more than anecdotal, so I can't really know what kind of impact it's had.

Dennys Reyes, signed to a minor league contract by the Yankees yesterday, has decided to stay home in Mexico rather than join Triple-A Columbus.
It seems we may not see him back in the U.S. until next spring.

''That's unfortunate. He's got a great arm and our people thought highly of him,'' manager Joe Torre said.

Yeah, it's unfortunate. You can never have enough crappy lefties, can you? Reyes may have lucked into a few good innings for the team, but this is not really much of a loss.

Jaret Wright (shoulder) will pitch in the minors tomorrow and the Yankees would like for him to make a few more appearances in the minors before being activated. He should be back in New York around mid-August.

I've read that Wright was getting his fastball up to 95 mph, but with pretty bad control. I am hoping that Wright can come in and be an asset in the bullpen, but that will require the return to health of enough starters that he won't be needed in the rotation.

One more thing, there are insinuations by some that AL July Player of the Month Jason Giambi is back on steroids. Reading comments like this really infuriated me at first, but you know what? Giambi did it to himself. He's cheated before, I can understand the idea that that makes his performance suspicious. This is a highly emotional debate, and it's not worth getting that upset over. If you look at the FACTS, Giambi has been tested at least once this season, and has passed. Of course, this leads to the comment that he is back on some "new, undetectable steroid."

Here's the thing, we just don't know. So let people have their suspicions, but without proof it's just that. The suspension of Rafael Pameiro shows that baseball is not protecting its stars, which in my mind means it's more likely that Giambi has been clean. And if Giambi, after having a pituitary tumor, is taking some other performance enhancing drugs to hit, he's not just a cheater, he's one of the dumbest people on the planet.