The facts are the following: Jose Contreras didn't make it out of the first inning last night. He threw 44 pitches, walked three, allowed three hits and a wild pitch. Derek Jeter made an error on the first play of the game (and another with two outs in the top of the ninth) and Enrique Wilson added a throwing error later in the frame. The Yankee offense was held to three hits all night. So? The Yankees managed to win the game before 50,000 fans anyhow, which according to Joel Sherman says more about the state of the Orioles than it does about the Yankees.
Still, after falling behind 5-0 in the first, what a nice win for the Yanks (and a discouraging loss for the Birds). Watching the Yanks toy with teams like Tampa Bay and Baltimore may be like watching paint dry for some, but hey, these are the games they are expected to win. If they were blowing them, we'd be hearing plenty about how this team just can't get it done. For some reason, they always seem to play tedious, drawn-out affairs against Baltimore. The first four innings last night were no expection.
Gary Sheffield connected for a three-run homer in the bottom of the first and Derek Jeter added a solo shot in the fifth. Taynon Sturtze and Brett Prinz--?!!?!--saved the Yankees bacon, while Flash Gordon and Mariano Rivera closed the door in the eighth and ninth.
The Orioles have not defeated the Yanks yet this season, and Lee Maz must be wondering what he's got to do to get a "w" against the Bombers. It doesn't get easier today as the Yanks send Javey Vazquez to the hill in an afternoon game.
The Yanks picked up a game on the Red Sox who were ripped by the Angels last night. Senior Superfreak Vlad Guerrero had four hits (including two dingers) and nine RBI. Pedro Martinez (4.40 ERA) was rocked though he didn't get tagged with the loss. One piece of good news for the Sox is that Nomar Garciaparra is expected to return shortly. Panic in the Nation? It'll take more than this to rattle Ed Cossette, bro.
Kenny Lofton told the local media that one of the reasons he has experienced hamstring problems this year is due to a lack of regular playing time. According to the New York Times:
"Ever since the minor leagues, I've been playing pretty much every day," Lofton said. "So when your body gets adjusted to playing every day, your body gets used to that. When your body has to make a change, it reacts differently. My body is used to playing every day, or five days a week.
"Now, it's not the same way. With me, the way I fire out of the box and go, I'm used to doing that on an everyday basis, not once every four days or whenever I'm in the lineup."
..."They know I want to be out there every single day," Lofton said. "I don't want to be watching. I want to be a part of all this. I can't be the main focus, but I want it to be, 'When Kenny gets his thing going, we're going.' That's what I've been used to."
Sooner or later, you've got to think that Lofton will be traded with the Yanks eating a good portion of his contract. According to Newsday, the Yanks are a longshot to land Carlos Beltran. Meanwhile, Hideki Matsui's left shoulder was heavily iced last night. No word yet as to what the problem is.