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September 27, 2005

So far, so good
by SG

Last night's game with Baltimore was just what the Yankees needed as they try to push to the postseason. Randy Johnson was solid, the Yankee offense exploded, and no Yankees reliever of note had to even warm up, although Alan Embree continued his lousy pitching in blowing the shutout.

All indicators are that Embree cannot help the team. He's pitched in 22 games as a Yankee, and allowed runs in 9 of them. He's put up a season ERA of 7.82 and has allowed 10 HRs in only 50.2 innings. If the Yankees get into the playoffs, he should NOT be on the postseason roster, but I have a fear that Joe Torre's thought process will be:

1) He's lefthanded
2) He's a veteran
3) He's throws with his left hand
4) He's been to the postseason
5) He's a southpaw
6) He has a World Series ring
7) He wears his glove on his right hand

Randy Johnson has finally stepped up his game to pitch dominating baseball at a time when the Yankees needed it most. I was very critical about the Johnson trade, as I felt the cost in talent and money was too high. However, at this point the trade has to be considered a success, particulary with Javy Vazquez's struggles and the resurgence of Johnson.

Here are the numbers in Johnson's last 7 starts (including the ejection in Toronto)

44 innings
24 hits
8 runs
1 HR
10 BB
36 K

1.63 ERA

Take out the ejection start, and the ERA drops to 1.06.

That's ace quality stuff, when the Yankees have needed it most.

Most importantly, by winning last night, the Yankees guaranteed that they would head to Boston with a shot at the division still alive. Ideally they'll keep their foot on Baltimore's throat here, but will head to Boston no worse than 3 games back in the worst case scenario.

Boston got rained out last night and will play two today. In theory it should be good news, but I doubt it will have much meaning.

For those who follow such things, Baseball Prospectus's playoff odds report currently give the Yankees a 42% chance at the division and a 7% chance 50.5% chance at the division and a 10.9% chance at the wild card.