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September 1, 2005

Not yet Kid
by SG

Most of the time when a compelling pitching matchup is drawn up, it fails to deliver. Tonight, the Randy Johnson vs. Felix Hernandez matchup lived up to the hype.

Hernandez and Johnson matched high 90s fastballs and filthy breaking pitches for seven great innings. In the third, Robinson Cano pulled a breaking pitch over the wall in right CF for a quick 1-0 lead. In the fourth, Gary Sheffield hit a bomb off a 96 mph fastball to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead. That was all the scoring they would do, but it was more than enough.

Featuring perhaps his best fastball of the season, Johnson worked from 93-96 for most of the game, getting as high as 97 a few times. He took a no-hitter into the sixth despite a high pitch count, helped by some tremendous defensive plays by Alex Rodriguez at third base, including a backhanded pick and jump throw on a ball hit down the line by Ichiro that was incredible.

Johnson's final line of 7 innings, 3 hits, 0 runs, 2 walks and 7 K was what this team needed, because his opponent tonight was nasty. Featuring a 96-98 mph fastball and one of the nastiest breaking pitches I've seen this year, Hernandez was very impressive. He seemed to struggle a bit with his command against the most disciplined team he's faced yet, but I was very impressed with his stuff and poise. He's only 19, and I would worry about his long term health as long as Mike Hargrove keeps making him throw 115 pitches a game, but he was fun to watch.

Flash Gordon has looked much better since his return from an E. Coli illness. The rest he got from that may be a huge factor in his performance down the stretch, but it's pretty clear that he suffers when used too frequently. Mo looks to be back to being Mo, and the Yankees will go for the series win tomorrow, with Jaret Wright facing Joel PiƱeiro.

Today being September 1, the Yankees are about to get some reinforcements for the stretch drive. According to Joe Torre, the Yankees will call up RHP Ramiro Mendoza, LHP Wayne Franklin, C Wil Nieves and activate DH Ruben Sierra from the DL on Thursday. No Colter Bean or Andy Phillips yet, although they could come up when Columbus's season is over.