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May 21, 2006

Were you watching?
by TVerik

New York - Top of 9th Score
Billy Wagner pitching for New York NYY NYM
B Wagner relieved D Sanchez. 0 4
J Giambi singled to center. 0 4
A Rodriguez walked, J Giambi to second. 0 4
R Cano singled to center, J Giambi scored, A Rodriguez to second. 1 4
M Cairo flied out to center. 1 4
M Cabrera walked, A Rodriguez to third, R Cano to second. 1 4
K Stinnett walked, A Rodriguez scored, R Cano to third, M Cabrera to second. 2 4
B Williams hit for R Villone. 2 4
B Williams hit by pitch, R Cano scored, M Cabrera to third, K Stinnett to second. 3 4
P Feliciano relieved B Wagner. 3 4
J Damon grounded into fielder's choice to shortstop, M Cabrera scored, B Williams out at second, K Stinnett to third. 4 4
C Bradford relieved P Feliciano. 4 4
D Jeter grounded out to second. 4 4

I'd like to highlight an AB in that fateful inning. Wagner, an elite closer, started Melky Cabrera, a 21-year-old callup, 0-2. Melky then worked the most clutch walk of his career. This can't really be overstated. Yes, Wagner was wild, but that alone didn't get Cabrera to 1B, eventually scoring the tying run.

Also, when Torre took Proctor out of the game in favor of Rivera after this fateful half-inning, I ws actually pissed. This is the first time that I can think of in ten years that I thought the Yankees had a better chance to win with another pitcher on the mound. That was probably wrong of me to think, but I couldn't help it.

I agreed with the FOX guys once. McCarver said that Willie Randolph had to take Wagner out of the game before he pitched to, and hit, Bernie Williams.

This was the worst Yankee lineup in at least ten years - since the Danny Tartabull era, if not earlier. The only reason I didn't reach back further is that Damon-Jeter-Giambi-Rodriguez by itself is better than any four the Yankees could have put out in the Stump Merrill era.

Wagner, at home, faced Giambi and then the sucktastic bottom of this horrible order. Up by four. I agree with the FOX guys again - the ramifications of this game could be much more than what we see in the standings. I believe Billy Wagner is going to have trouble from the fans when he struggles at Shea this year - he hasn't built up the goodwill among the fanbase necessary to overcome an outing like this against a hated opponent.

Forgotten in all of this is the pitching of Mussina. He only gave up two solo home runs (I'm not counting the Yankee first inning "defense" against him), and looked, in the words of our friend SJ, "as good as he has all year". If he has outings like that and the Yankees recover at least a few of their injured legions, they're going to compete for the AL East title again, at least.