Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
High and Low
2004-07-17 10:27
by Alex Belth

What a Difference a Day Makes

"In my mind I would characterize this as the best start he's ever had," Joe Torre on Jose Contreras' performance Thursday night.

"I had no clue what I was doing up there," Javier Vazquez on his performance Friday night.

The Yankees started the second half of the season by winning one in impressive fashion and then getting dominated in the following game. Jose Contreras hurled his finest game as a Yankee on Thursday night against the Tigers, pitching into the ninth inning for the first time in his Yankee career. He walked the lead-off man in the first, allowed a run in the second, and was his usual plodding self. Contreras allowed a triple to start the fourth but pitched out of trouble without the run scoring, and was on his way to retiring fifteen consecutive Tigers. For their part, the Yankees mustered just five hits all night. However, they were all solo home runs--Matsui, Jeter, Lofton, and two by Rodriguez--which gave the Yankees all the runs they would need in a 5-1 victory.

I caught the last half of the game and thoroughly enjoyed it. What a pipe dream of a game. There was no tension, just the Yankees in cruise control. Some may find this kind of game dull, but not me. It's just the kind of victory that I love. Mariano Rivera came on in the ninth and K'd Pudge and Young and then got a ground out to end the game.

I watched entire game on Friday night and the shoe was squarely on Fate's other foot. Mike Mussina was placed on the DL yesterday due to soreness in his pitching elbow, a day after Kevin Brown was knocked around in his first rehab assingment since being disabled himself. This news became more distressing later in the evening when Javier Vazquez suffered his worst outing of the season. (Just how badly do you think George Steinbrenner wants Randy Johnson now? These must be long days for one B. Cashman.) The Yankees were one-hit by southpaw Mike Maroth as the Tigers bombed New York 8-1.

The Tigers have mauled the Yanks in three of the five meetings between the two teams this season. With El Duque and Jon Lieber lined up today and tomorrow, let's hope one of these two soft-tossing veterans can help stop the bleeding. The Yanks remain seven games ahead of Boston, who have dropped one (Lowe) and won one (Pedro) against Anahiem. (F'schizzle Ortizzle.)

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