With yesterday's 12-5 victory over the Royals, the Yankees clinched their first series win of the season, pulled their record up to .500, and put themselves on pace to score 1134 runs this season. It almost doesn't seem fair to send Randy Johnson to the mound this afternoon to go for the sweep. Sure, the Royals have scored 12 runs against the Yankees over the past two days, but the Yanks have countered with 21 of their own.
One reason for the Bombers onslaught has been the 17 free passes they've received from the Royals' pitchers over the last two days. The walks are likely to keep coming today with former Orioles prospect Denny Bautista on the mound. Bautista historically walks about four men per nine innings, a number that's sure to increase against the power and patience of the Yankee lineup. Randy Johnson, on the other hand, has yet to walk a batter this year in fifteen innings. Save for a Frank Thomas homer in his first start and an Adam Kennedy "triple" in his second, Johnson has dominated, holding his opponents to a smattering of singles.
On paper, today's game is a complete mismatch. Knowing how baseball works, that likely means that Reggie Sanders will hit a pair of two-run homers off Johnson and the Yankee bats will sputter against the hard-throwing Bautista, but honestly, I just can't see that happening.
Meanwhile, the big news is that Kelly Stinnett will again be behind the plate for Johnson, and without a day-game-after-night-game-related excuse. To make matters worse, unlike in Stinnett's last start, Joe Torre is not keeping Posada's bat in the line-up, sticking with his singles-hitting DH Bernie Williams. Williams will hit seventh, ahead of Cano and Stinnett.
Buddy Bell, meanwhile, has completely mixed things up against Johnson. Here's today's Royals lineup:
R- Tony Graffanino (DH)
R - Mark Grudzielanek (2B)
R - Emil Brown (LF)
R - Reggie Sanders (RF)
R - Angel Berroa (SS)
R - John Buck (C)
L - Doug Mientkiewicz (1B)
R - Esteban German (3B)
L - Shane Costa (CF)
Angel Berroa hitting fifth against Randy Johnson? I suppose Torre can afford to give Jorge the day off after all.