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.

August 10, 2006

Something Old, Something New
by SG

Like him or not, there's no denying Randy Johnson's place in major league baseball history. The Yankees got him too late to enjoy his monster peak, but every once in a while he gives us a glimpse of what he used to be. Last night's 7-6 victory was a case in point.

Johnson absolutely dominated the White Sox over his first six innings as the only baserunner to reach against him came as the result of a second inning walk. The White Sox are the highest scoring team in baseball, on pace to score 921 runs. The Yankee offense slowed the game down in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings, which I think may have contributed to Johnson hitting the wall in the top of the seventh. He gave up his first hit of the game, then allowed the next 3 batters he faced to also reach. Ron Villone came in with runners on second and third and no outs, walked the first guy to make it exciting, then pitched out of it. Villone's been great all year. I keep waiting for the inevitable regression in his HR rate and his BABIP, but he continues to do well.

While the 43 year old Randy Johnson was doing his job on the pitching side, the Yankee offense was doing what we hope to see for the rest of the season. In 21 year old Melky Cabrera and 23 year old Robinson Cano, the Yankees have a rare infusion of youth. Melky homered in the fifth, pushing SLG above .400 on the season. If you look at Melky's line since June 27, you see that he's hitting .309/.365/.478, while playing plus defense. Using selective end points can make any player look as good or bad as you want, but in the case of a young player it can at times show genuine development. Robinson Cano has been playing like a man possessed since coming off the disabled list, on offense and on defense. He also homered, and has five hits in his first two games back. He's hitting .332/.359/.461 on the season.

In addition, Bobby Abreu hit his first Yankee HR, and has been absolutely great as a Yankee so far, hitting .412/.474/.588 in his first 8 games.

Despite all this goodness, the game ended very stressfully. After storming to a 7-0 lead, Johnson's seventh inning struggles gave two runs back. Then came some questionable managing. Johnny Damon apparently suffered an injury and was pulled from the game (described as a tight groin). Joe Torre shuffled the defense a bit moving Craig Wilson to RF and Abreu to CF, which seemed to hold ok. However, at some point Torre decided that he should lose his DH and weaken the defense by putting starting DH Bernie Williams in CF. More on this later.

Why can't Sidney Ponson pitch with a 7-2 lead in the 8th? If he can't, he shouldn't be on the roster. Instead, Kyle Farnsworth was brought in after pitching yesterday and with 20 games in the next 21 days. Farnsworth gave up four runs, and suddently it was 7-6 and Mariano Rivera was needed to get four outs.

Rivera got AJ Pierzynski on weird liner right to him that AJ fell down on to end the eighth. The Yankees didn't score in the ninth, and Rivera tried to close it out. With yesterday's blown save I was very worried that it was the annual WWWMW™, but he looked pretty good. Mo got Alex Cintron to ground out, then went to 0-2 and hit the .211 hitting Brian Anderson. He recovered to fan Scott Podsednik, and then Tad Iguchi flied out to CF. Except it wasn't an out, because defensive replacement Bernie played it into a single. Maybe my eyes deceive me but I think Bernie got a horrible read on the ball and Damon would have caught it easily.

So now, instead of the game being over, it was Mo vs. Jim Thome with the tying run on third and the go-ahead run on first. Rivera fell behind 2-0, threw a strike, then got a hard grounder up the middle that Robinson Cano managed to get to and underhandedly toss to the fist-pumping Derek Jeter for the final out of the game.

After almost blowing a 7-0 lead, I felt more relieved than happy. However, Kansas City reinstituted my happy feeling when they rallied in the ninth to tie and then win the game against Boston.

So the Yankees are now three games up in the AL East, four games up in the loss column. Yanks go for the series victory tonight at 8:05 ET, Moose (13-4, 3.46) vs. old friend Javy Vazquez (10-6, 5.18).