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August 15, 2006

A Tale of Two Johnsons
by SG

With yesterday's 7-2 victory over the California Angels, the Yankees salvaged a tie in a four game series against the team that's had the most success against them in the Joe Torre era.

The game was actually closer than the final score would indicate. In the bottom of the seventh, Johnny Damon his a floater the opposite way for a single. Derek Jeter, who had homered earlier in the game then bunted, which I really hate seeing. He did reach safely, but that doesn't vindicate the willingness go give away one of the nine outs you have remaining in the game. I hated the decision-making that then followed in this inning. Bobby Abreu is one of the best hitters in baseball in terms of not making outs. Jason Giambi is as well. Instead of letting both of them hit with two runners on, Abreu was asked to bunt, something he hadn't done successfully since 1998. Abreu did get a sac bunt down, which moved the runners to second and third. This led to Giambi getting intentionally walked to set up the double play and bring up the much-maligned Alex Rodriguez. So bunting Abreu cost them a free out and a Giambi AB. Thankfully, Rodriguez worked back from a two strike count to hit a sac fly to RF that almost found it's way into the short porch. Vlad Guerrero made one of the sickest throws home I've ever seen, flat-footed on the fly but Damon got in before the tag, and the Yankees had the lead, 3-2.

The Yankees tacked on four insurance runs when the most unmanly rally ever took place in the bottom of the eight. Then, because a five run ninth-inning lead is always tenuous, Mariano Rivera was used to close out the non-save situation. Hopefully it won't matter, but I hate seeing Mo's arm wasted in these kind of outings.

Oh yeah, a tale of two Johnsons. So far this season, Randy Johnson has been either very good or very bad. He's made 26 starts now, and in 9 of them he's allowed more than 4 runs. Here are the two versions of Johnson.

So which Johnson is the real one? Unfortunately, they both are. There's nothing I've seen in his last few starts that makes me think Bad Randy went anywhere. Hopefully he just doesn't show up all that much, although I've said that before.

With the Detroit Tigers actually holding on to a victory in Fenway, the Yankees got one of the games they lost over the weekend back on their AL East lead. They get a tough draw tonight in Erik Bedard, who's been one of the better pitchers in the AL over the last 2 months (7-3, 2.27 ERA, 79.1 IP, 81 K, 22 BB, 4HR). Mike Mussina's chances at winning 20 games are fading, so he needs this one tonight.