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September 22, 2005

Hip Hip Jorge
by SG

The disappointing season of Jorge Posada has been lost amidst a season of disappointments. Posada's still one of the better catchers in the league, but has been surpassed by several players. Tonight was his night, and it was huge for a Yankee lineup that was missing Jason Giambi. Posada hit two HRs and drove in 4 runs, as the Yankees opened up a 7-1 lead in what looked like it was going to be a laugher.

Mike Mussina was brilliant. His defense cost him at least four outs and one run, but he looked sharp with a fastball in the 89-91 range and excellent command, throwing 58 of his 76 pitches for strikes. The Baltimore offense has struggled in the second half of the year, but what we saw out of Mussina is very encouraging, and having him backing up a suddenly resurgent Randy Johnson makes the Yankees a tough draw in any short series.

Al Leiter was the opposite of brilliant. He pitched a solid 7th, but then imploded in the eight, as he walked the first two hitters he face. I have zero tolerance for walks with a big lead, much less two of them. I can understand giving Leiter a chance to see if he can serve in the role of lefty out of the pen, particularly with the ineffectiveness of Alan Embree, but I felt he should have been pulled after the second walk. Instead, he was kept in to give up two more hits and two runs, and make a 7-1 game a 7-3 game. Tanyon Sturtze was brought in and looked pretty good aside from a groundout and a Javy Lopez double that plated two more runs.

With Mariano Rivera unavailable, the closer's job was Tom Gordon's. I felt that Sturtze looked good enough to start the ninth, but Gordon did his job, with Melvin Mora's short porch HR the lone exception, and the Yankees had another win over Baltimore, completing the four game sweep.

The Yankees have now opened up a full game lead on Boston, which gives them a little cushion. I still think it is imperative that the Yankees go to Boston up by at least one game, because it is a tough place to go and try to win 2 out of 3. It's too far ahead to worry about that yet, they just have to keep on doing what they're doing, and win, whether it's pretty or ugly.

It sure would be nice for the Yankees' mopup relievers to do their jobs at least once in a while and rest Gordon and Rivera though.