Both Bernie Williams and Gary Sheffield hit the ball on the screws in the first inning last night, and neither had anything to show for it. After three quick, scoreless innings in Baltimore, a thunderstorm post-poned the game for over an hour. However, Yankee starter Jon Lieber picked up right where he left off when they started up again, and tossed another efficient game for New York. The Yankee bats (Clark, Posada, Matsui, Wilson) came to life and bombed the O's for eleven runs. Alex Rodriguez delivered the crusher: a three-run blast to dead center.
Sooner or later, a group of Yankees will all get hot at the same time. Meanwhile, Bernie had some excellent swings with just one hit. Derek Jeter was robbed of a two-run double on a terrific play by Melvin Mora, but later hit an RBI double to right field. Jeter was 1-6 on the night and his batting average continued to drop. Gary Sheffield still hasn't found his groove either. According to the Tyler Kepner in the New York Times:
"When I face tough pitchers, I'm at my best," Sheffield said. "When you're talking about kids you don't know that aren't all that difficult to face, that's when I have my problems."
..."I always have problems with the 4 and 5 starters," Sheffield said. "The first three pitchers, I do my best against. My thing is, I like challenges. When I'm facing a guy I know shouldn't get me out, those are the hardest guys to be patient with. I know it, they know it, and I pretty much go chasing. It's my fault. It's more me than them."
There is merit to Sheffield's claim, at least for this season. In 27 at-bats this year against Bartolo Colón, Tim Hudson, Pedro Martínez, Jamie Moyer, Mark Mulder, Curt Schilling and Barry Zito, Sheffield has nine hits, for a .333 average. His homers have come off Moyer, Zito and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays' ace, Victor Zambrano.
Sooner or later, Sheff is going to burst. The Yankees remain a game-and-a-half behind the Red Sox who murdalized Tim Hudson and the A's last night in Beantown.