Larry Mahnken and SG's

Replacement Level Yankees Weblog

"Hey, it's free!"

The Replacement Level Yankees Weblog has moved!  Our new home is:

Larry Mahnken
Sean McNally
Fabian McNally
John Brattain

This is an awesome FREE site, where you can win money and gift certificates with no skill involved! If you're bored, I HIGHLY recommend checking it out!


Disclaimer: If you think this is the official website of the New York Yankees, you're an idiot. Go away.

May 5, 2006

Bailed Out
by SG

After starting the season strong, Randy Johnson has been really bad. Fortunately, the Yankees have supported Johnson with an average of 9.3 runs per game, which they managed to exceed tonight, beating Tampa Bay 10-5.

Johnson appeared to have issues with his velocity tonight, topping out around 92 mph and also with his command, throwing just 30 balls and 62 strikes, but missing Jorge Posada's target quite frequently. It's been a tale of two Johnsons so far this season, and I can't help but think we haven't gotten the whole story from that game against Kansas City where he left after just five innings and 87 pitches.

In Johnsons' first 3 starts (including the KC game), he accumulated the following line.

IP: 20
H: 16
R: 5
ER: 5
BB: 0
K: 16
BB/9: 0
K/9: 7.2
HR/9: .45
ERA: 2.25
FIP: 2.25
Opp Avg: .213
Opp OBP: .213
Opp SLG: .280

Since then, it's been pretty ugly.

IP: 22.1
H: 25
R: 19
ER: 19
BB: 9
K: 13
BB/9: 3.6
K/9: 5.2
HR/9: 1.6
ERA: 7.67
FIP: 5.98
Opp Avg: .278
Opp OBP: .362
Opp SLG: .500

Despite that line, the Yankees have won three of those four games. In the post-game show, Joe Torre said that Johnson feels fine, so if there is any injury concern, Johnson's not using it as an excuse. It's a small enough sample that it could just be a string of bad starts, but any Yankee fan who's not concerned about Johnson should probably start to be.

Thankfully, the offense did its job and scored 10 runs tonight. Hideki Matsui appears to be busting out of his slump, with three hits including a HR. Matsui entered the game with a line of .255/.330/.408 and exited with a line of .272/.342/.456.

The best sight to see for me was Gary Sheffield making a Willis Reed-like return off the bench in the top of the 7th, with two outs and the Yankees trailing 5-4. Sheffield took three pitches, then lined a hard single to RF. Johnny Damon followed with another single, Derek Jeter worked a walk, and Jason Giambi worked a walk, forcing in the tying run. Alex Rodriguez came back from a 1-2 count to also draw a walk, giving the Yankees the lead. Sheffield drew a walk and also hit another ball hard in his other two trips to the plate.

Johnson finished strong by retiring the two lefties he was called on to face leading off the bottom of the seventh, and then Joe Torre brought in Tanyon Sturtze in a one run game to face the dangerous Jonny Gomes. Gomes hit the ball hard, but right at Jeter, and the Yankees were out of danger.

Johnny Damon hit a grand slam in the top of the eighth to give the Yankees some breathing room and to revive the slumping March to 1000 Runs™, and then Torre chose to take out Sturtze, which was curious. The reasoning behind it as espoused by Ken Singleton almost made my head explode. Singleton said that Torre was probably saving Sturtze for more important spots. I would think that a five run lead with Sturtze already warmed and in the game is pretty much the only time it makes sense to pitch him, but instead, Torre brought in Scott Proctor, ostensibly to save Sturtze for when it counts. He's never even done anything like that for Mariano Rivera. Proctor gave up a walk and then a cheap single after getting a groundout and K, and Torre went to Mike Myers, the Yankees' lefty specialist. With a five run lead. To pitch to what would end up being five hitters, three of them righties. It didn't burn them tonight, but I am concerned about the positive reinforcement that may have been planted in this game.

1) Myers can pitch to righties (he can't)
2) Sturtze can get outs in big spots (not with any consistency)

Torre's bullpen management continues to be bizarre at best, and downright troublesome at worst. Honestly, besides injuries, it could very well be the biggest issue facing this team going forward. Even if Octavio Dotel comes back, I'm not sure he will be used in the optimal manner, particularly if he is not sharp right away.

Enough negativity for now. The Yankees took care of business, beating Tampa twice, and keeping pace with the Red Sox. Playing Texas in Texas is always a pain in the ass. Here are the matchups for the weekend.

M. Mussina (4-1, 2.31) vs. V. Padilla (3-1, 4.04)

S. Chacón (3-1, 4.56) vs. K. Loe (1-2, 4.15)

C. Wang (1-1, 4.89) vs. R. Tejeda (1-0, 3.60)

Two out of three would be nice, but I have a feeling we're due to see Bad Moose at some point soon. The other two games look like tossups. I think one out of three is more likely.