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July 7, 2006

July 7, 2006 - Assorted Crap
by SG

The Yankees whipped up on Cleveland last night 10-4 in an impressive showing by Randy Johnson. Looking at Johnson's final line of 4 runs allowed in 7.2 innings does not convey just how dominant he was until he began to tire in the 7th. Johnson held a very good offensive team to just one hit over the first six innings, reaching 96 mph on his fastball (on the Cleveland broadcast which I would trust more than the YES gun just on general principle). Unfortunately he appeared to hit the wall in the 8th inning as he got singled to death before being pulled with two outs.

Newest Yankee Aaron Guile went 1-3 with a BB in his first game, although given his career line of .200/.300/.347 vs. lefties I'm not sure how advisable it was to start him.

The Yankee offense was fairly quiet until the fourth, when Derek Jeter ripped a double(one of his three hits on the day) and Jason Giambi stepped up. Giambi ripped his 26th HR of the season and the Yankees had a lead they would not relinquish.

The resurgence of Giambi is one of my favorite stories of the past two season. I do not approve his past steroid use. I don't know that he's clean any more than the people who think he's back on hGH know that he's not. I'd like to think the health concerns that he went through would prevent him from cheating again, and so far he appears to have passed all MLB drug tests, but there are certainly ways to get around those.

His performance at the plate has been remarkable though, after many wrote him off completely.

Since June 20 of last season, Giambi has played in exactly 162 games. His numbers:

515 AB
108 R
141 H
21 2B
53 HR
135 RBI
126 K
.274/.443/.623 1.067

9.72 AB/HR

I knew Giambi had been good, but I had no idea he was homering so frequently per AB. It's been an amazing run, and one I hope can be attributed to a re-dedication to his craft and not through the use of any PEDs.

Speaking of HR/AB, Derek Jeter has not homered since May 16, but that does not take away from the fine season he is having. On the year he's hitting .348/.429/.470. We all know about the questions regarding his defense (which has been better lately), but I won't bring that up today. He's stolen 18 bases at a 90% clip too, which is great.

I'm not as upset about Matt Smith being demoted as some people BTW. I know he had a 0.00 ERA, but he had walked 8 in 12 innings, although I wouldn't doubt that was a function of his usage (or lack thereof). At this point he's probably better served pitching regularly in Columbus with an eye on replacing someone in the pen later in the season or in 2007.

So now the Yankees get the Devil Rays, who helped the Yankees pick up a game on Boston by taking three of four from the Red Sox while the Yankees split four with Cleveland. Your matchups...

Friday 7/7 - 7:15 PM ET
J. Wright (4-5, 4.61) vs. J. Seo (0-1, 3.86)

After a bad first start against them, Wright's been pretty good against Tampa over his other four starts. He's got a 3.46 ERA against them over 26 innings, with a wonderful BB/K ratio of 11:11. After his garbage performance last time out he owes the Yanks a good start.

Saturday 7/8 - 7:15 PM ET
C. Wang (8-4, 4.21) vs. S. Kazmir (10-5, 3.29)

Wang had been pounded by the Devil Rays almost every time he faced them although he had a very nice game against them back in April. Kazmir's the best young lefty in the AL right now. It could be a fun matchup.

Sunday 7/9 - 1:15 PM ET
K. Wilson (0-0, 0.00) vs. C. Fossum (3-3, 4.84)

I have no idea what to expect from Aaron Small v2006. I'm curious to see him though. I thought it was interesting to read that he had been pitching with bone chips in his elbow and had surgery last season. Maybe there's something to his improved performance this year.

Then comes the All Star break. The fact that the best hitter in the league right now is not on the AL All Star team is an embarrassment and proves what a farce the whole thing is. How the hell is Travis Hafner not on the All Star team?

It appears the Yankees will play it safe with Johnny Damon, as it looks like he may be out until after the All Star Break, although he wants to play tonight.

The Yankees are anticipating they will be without Johnny Damon until after the All-Star break because of his strained right abdominal muscle. "He may be out for the weekend, whether we're conservative or not," manager Joe Torre said.

Damon suffered the injury during batting practice Wednesday afternoon and said yesterday, "I definitely feel it more today." He did not take part in any baseball-related activities yesterday, though Torre said Damon could start swinging a bat today.

Given what happened with Gary Sheffield, the Yanks best err on the side of the caution on this one. I can't take a half season of Bernie in CF. Hell, I can't take a half game.

Alex Rodriguez has decided not to participate in the All Star Home Run derby. Seems to me like he's blowing an opportunity to pad his stats when it doesn't count. Isn't that all he does?

I can't find any news on Octavio Dotel. This is starting to remind me of Steve Karsay all over again.