On an overcast afternoon in Los Angeles, Brad Halsey made his major-league debut and led the Yankees to a 6-2 victory over the Dodgers. Tim McCarver said that Joe Torre had told him that Halsey looks like his paper boy. Halsey does seem amazingly young. It doesn't look like he even shaves yet. The kid has a broad face, blong hair and a big set of teeth (his front tooth is chipped). He doesn't look exactly like Matt Damon, but he's a similar boyish vibe. However, he pitched with poise and confidence and was the picture of calm. Jose Contreras could learn something from watching Halsey. (The kid probably earned himself another start, pending on how Kevin Brown feels.) Staked to a four-run lead in the first, Halsey put runners on second and third with one out. The Dodgers scored a run on Shawn Green's RBI ground out but that was it.
Later, Hideo Nomo popped a solo shot over the left field wall for the Dodgers second and final run of the afternoon. Gary Sheffield and Alex Rodriguez contributed RBI singles for New York but the big blow was a bizarre three-run homer off the bat of Godziller Matsui. After Derek Jeter singled and was then thrown out trying to steal in the first, Nomo walked Rodriguez and Jason Giambi (14 pitch at-bat). Sheffield singled sharply up the middle to score Rodriguez and then Matsui stuck his bat out on an 0-2 breaking ball, and somehow managed to hook a dinger into the front row of the low right-field seats. Directly into some dude's glove. It was as if they guy had a magnet in his mitt. But as the Fox announcers noted, it was a weak, defensive swing. The dinger was probably front-page news back in Japan (Nomo struck Matsui out twice in a row after the homer).
The most amusing moment of the game for the New Yorkers was when Halsey dumped a single into left field for a single but proceeded to run straight through first base as if he had grounded out. This brought the Yankee bench to their feet. To a man, they were all cracking up.
The crowd was lively and the chants of "Yank-ees suck" were loud and steady throughout the afternoon (for a first-hand account of the game, head on over to Jon Weisman's Dodger Thoughts). Fewer beach balls made it onto the field Saturday than we saw Friday night, so perhaps the crowd was actually into the game.
The Yanks gained a game on Boston who rallied against San Francisco but in the end were buried by a pinch-hit homer by Edgardo Alfonzo. Tonight gives a match-up of two very different kinds of clowns: the volatile and always animated Jose Lima vs. the sleepy and lumbering Jose Contreras. I can see this game going either way. The Dodgers offense doesn't look to be particularly patient so that could work in Contreras' favor. However, they have speed to burn, and if the can get guys on base, they will surely bother the Yankees' big Cuban. Contreras rattles easily, especially with speed on the bases. As for Lima, I reckon his plan is to hold the Yankees down for six innings and then turn things over to L.A.'s Big Three. Could be an ugly game tonight. Tune in tomorrow for the skinny.
And happy Father's Day to all you daddies out there. Enjoy.