Mike Mussina and Tim Hudson lived up to advanced billing on Friday. They both pitched seven innings and gave up four hits apiece. Hudson walked three and struck out five; Moose walked one guy and whiffed nine. Hudson threw 119 pitches, Mussina 98. And Mike Mussina led going into the eighth, 2-1.
But the Yankee bullpen couldnít hold the lead and the game went into extra innings. Orosco started the eighth and promptly stuck out Terrance Long. In comes Harmando who struck out pinch-hitter Billy McMillon. Mark Ellis singled, and then Hatteberg drew a walk. What else? That was it for the big guy. Torre called for Rivera.
Up steps Miguel Tejada. Mo shatters his bat. Sharp grounder to second. Soriano boots it. Ellis scored from second, and the game was tied. Mo broke Erubiel Durzoís bat too; he popped out to Jeter to end the inning. Soriano was dropped in the batting order to eighth last night for the first time all year. He took the move in stride, but went hitless and made a crucial error.
Antonio Osuna gave up a solo bomb to Tejada in the 10th, and the Aís pulled out a 3-2 win. The loss for the Yankees is similar to the two games they dropped to the Red Sox last weekend. Gut-wrenching to watch; clearly games they were in control of winning. Games that cost them in the standings.
Before the game started, I knew that the Sox had already lost to Baltimore, 2-1. The Sox managed four hits, and wasted another good outing from old man Burkett. So the Yanks failed to gain another game in the standings.
Having no desire to subject myself to such craziness, I went to bed after watching the first couple of innings. So I didnít have to suffer and lose sleep over it. After all, I condition myself during the week to not watch or listen to the games, and can do it fairly easily, even on a Friday night. In the spirit of "Moneyball," Iíve become more efficient as a fan; I realize how much stress I can take, and I adjust accordingly. (There is only so much drama that Iím willing to take in early August.)
The most interesting part of the night was seeing Aaron Boone play third base for the Yankees. They showed a clip of Ventura in the Dodgers dugout, and he had a distracted, far-away look. Actually, the showed him so briefly it was hard to detect his expression at all. It was blank and calm as always. I projected the other stuff onto him. But suddenly, I missed him more than I ever thought I could. I missed the idea of having him around. In a jolt, I felt a surge of emotion that made me connect with all of the Ventura fans that I know out there. So thatís what theyíve been talking about. Okay.
Boone looks more like his father than his brother. Brett Boone is compact but powerful. Like Barney Rubble with springs. Aaronís face is narrow, and he had dark hair, and dark eyes. Itís a completely different energy. Itís also very different from Ventura. Hudson struck Boone out with ease in his first at bat. Boone hit sixth and had a single to go with another strike out. (I bet Boone wished he could have joined the Yanks back home against Texas.)
The first thing I thought about when I first saw Boone was Roy Smalley. Iím not saying there is anything to it; Iím just reporting the first thing that came to my mind. The analogy doesnít really work when you think it through, but there is something similar in the look.
Bernie went 0-5 and whiffed twice, Matsui was 0-4, Giambi 0-2 (with two walks).