El Duque and former Yankee Ted Lilly engaged in a pitching duel yesterday afternoon at the Stadium. Both were spectators when Ruben Sierra hit a two-out solo home run in the bottom of the ninth to give the Yanks a 1-0 win. (Mariano Rivera notched his first victory of the year.) Hernandez allowed four hits, a walk, and struck out ten in seven innings. (Yo, that's my man.) Dave Caldwell captured his performance well in the Times:
Squatting for seven innings on a stifling July afternoon does not have to be sheer torture. John Flaherty was asked to catch Yankees starter Orlando Hernández yesterday, and Flaherty hardly needed to move his mitt. Hernández was that precise, that beguiling.
...Using his usual combination of pitches - curveballs, changeups and sliders - Hernández allowed only four hits in seven innings.
But there was more. He was throwing hard.
"When you have to respect the fastball because he can throw it by you, it makes the other pitches all that much better," Flaherty said.
The Yankees go up to Bostoneight-and-a-half games ahead of the Red Sox, who split a double-header against the Orioles yesterday. The pitching match-ups for the weekend decidedly favor the Sox. As far as I'm concerned, so long as the Bombers don't get swept, it'll be a decent weekend and I'll be able to digest. However, from Boston's pernt of view, they need to sweep New York, especially with Schlling going against Lieber tonight, and then the mighty Tanyon Sturtze pitching tomorrow, and Boston's own personal whipping boy Jose Contreras throwing Sunday night.
It is supposed to be rainy all weekend. Let's see if they can get all of the games in...
Although he's ready to go yesterday, it looks as if Joe Torre will sit Derek Jeter tonight. Figure he'll get some burn over the next few days though. Jason Giambi's cancer tests came back negative and he should play too.