"I don't come to the ballpark every day to compete. I come to win." Lee Mazzilli
Both the Yankees and the Orioles received good efforts from their starting pitchers yesterday. Gary Sheffield came up with the big hit--a two-out, 2 RBI double off B.J. Ryan in the seventh--as the Yanks swept the Birds for the second time in two weeks. Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams were given the day off (though Bernie appeared in the ninth as a fielder--don't laugh), and Ruben Sierra started in right in place of Sheffield, who DH'd.
Although Flash Gordon and Mariano Rivera pitched once again, Javier Vazquez threw seven strong innings to give the rest of the bullpen a blow (trouble is, it's Gordon and Rivera that are in need of a day or two off). Vazquez found himself in one tight spot all afternoon. Melvin Mora, Miggy Tejada, and Senior Palmeiro singled to start the fourth, loading the bases. After getting ahead of Javey Lopez, Vazquez plunked the Orioles' DH forcing home a run. Vazquez cursed himself on the mound, and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre came out to settle him down. According to the Daily News:
"That's all I was out there for," Stottlemyre said. "I knew he'd be upset at himself. The ball got away from him and he was as upset as I've seen him all year. It was my job to stay out there until he cooled off. I told him I'd stay out there until he was ready to face the next hitter. It seemed to do the job. He was really upset, visibly, as I'm sure you saw.
"He's generally relaxed and cool, but we all lose it momentarily sometimes. I just wanted to make sure there was no carryover."
Vazquez got B.J. Surhoff to pop out, he struck out Luis Matos on a nasty change up, and Larry Bigbie grounded out sharply to Jeter to end the inning:
"Vazquez turned loose his fastball a little more to get out of the inning. He goosed it up there a little more," Stottlemyre said. "It looked like it suddenly had more life on it. For me, that was the key to the ballgame, to have them just get one run there."
The Orioles didn't get another hit all afternoon. Alex Rodriguez had two hits, including a double and has now reached base in 41 straight games. Sheff had two hits too; Hideki Matsui followed Sheff's game-breaking hit with an RBI single of his own.
While the Yankees continue to solve Jose Contreras' fragile noggin, the Times reports that the Mariners could be interested in the soporific Cuban:
The Mariners are in last place in the American League West and are open to making trades, said one baseball official with knowledge of their plans. The official said the Mariners remained interested in Contreras, depending on how much of his contract the Yankees would pay. Contreras is in the second year of a four-year, $32 million deal.
Unloading Contreras would be a coup for the Yankees, especially if they could get starter Freddy Garcia and the left-handed reliever Mike Myers in return. The
...Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said the Mariners had not told him of their interest. But Cashman said he expected teams to covet Contreras.
"There are people who feel the way we do, which is that this guy has a gigantic ceiling," Cashman said. "Too many people have been at enough games and seen how exciting he is when he's on."
Work it, Cash, work it.
Pedro Martinez leads the AL in strike outs and has had some sterling outings this season, but he's also been pounded at times too. Pedro's main man at the Globe, Dan Shaughnessy weighs in on what the trouble could be. (Could it be the hair?)