Randy Johnson allowed six runs in four innings and did not return for the fifth as the Yankees lost 8-5 in Toronto. As a result, the Bombers lose another game in the wildcard standings as the A's won again, but kept pace with the Sox who fell to the Twins for the second straight day.
Tyler Kepner wonders how much of Johnson's ineffectiveness has to do with his back. While we don't know for sure what the status of Johnson's health is, his performance has been uneven all year:
"There've been some games where I've gotten roughed up where I felt like, 'O.K., I made a pitch here, I made a pitch there,' " Johnson said. "Today, I didn't make a pitch all day. I wasn't effective, for whatever reason. Obviously, if I knew, I would have corrected it. But I threw every pitch that I had."
If Johnson and Mussina are not able to lead the pitching staff--like our old friends, with the help of one Roy Oswalt, are doing down in Houston--then it is likely that the Yankees will miss the playoffs this year. It's not terribly complicated: the Yankees desperately need greatness from their top two starters.
We could be in for a long one this afternoon as Curtain Call Al Leiter performs in a matinee. Let's hope it's not "Long Day's Journey Into Night." Stay away from the O'Neill, Al, and you can skip the Arthur Miller while you are at it. Keep it snappy and light like "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum." Or some cornball Neil Simon affair.