The Yankees got another solid performance from Mike Mussina yesterday, who pitched seven innings and allowed just two runs. But Kevin Millwood was also very good and by the time Mussina left the game, and the rain started pouring down on Kyle Farnsworth, the Rangers rallied for two runs in the eighth and held on for a 4-2 win. Farnsworth made a few poor pitches and though Texas did not hit him hard, they capitalized on his mistakes. Gary Matthews, jr and Bubba Crosby made sensational catches while Derek Jeter committed another error.
The major concern for the Yanks, however are injuries. Jason Giambi, a slugger the team can ill-afford to lose, left the game in the eighth inning due to a sore neck (injured earlier in the game). His status is day-to-day. Losing Giambi's offense right now would be tough. As Steven Goldman recently noted:
With Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui out, the Yankees now have three players who can be described as power hitters Jason Giambi, Alex Rodríguez, and Jorge Posada and the last isn't in the class of the first two. While Johnny Damon, Derek Jeter, and Robinson Canó are all productive hitters in their own way, and Melky Cabrera may yet be a productive hitter, the lineup now lacks explosiveness.
Another bat is going to have to be added. Sadly, the focus is going to have to be on taking at-bats from Bernie Williams. However you slice it, whether by lines of .245/.282/.333, or a .220 EqA, Williams is not capable of doing the jobs he has been asked to do. Should the race with the Red Sox stay close, than the lack of production from this one player can make a fatal difference. This is doubly true now that injuries have depleted the offense.
In the "You-Won't-Have-Me-to-Kick-Around-Anymore" department, relief pitcher Tanyon Sturtze's season is now in jepoardy. According to Julian Garcia in the Daily News:
The righthander found out yesterday that he has a small tear in his rotator cuff, as well as bursitis in his right shoulder. The tear is the more serious of the two issues and could require surgery to repair.
Sturtze had an MRI yesterday and was examined by team physician Dr. Stuart Hershon. The Yankees are sending him to Birmingham, Ala., to get a second opinion from noted orthropedist Dr. James Andrews.
If Sturtze does get surgery - and it will be up to the 35-year-old to decide - his season will be over. Even if he doesn't go under the knife, he may not pitch again until next season.
Considering how poorly he's pitched this season, many Yankee fans won't be sorry to see him on the shelf, which isn't to say they are happy he's hurt. The objection has been to how the manager has used Sturtze. But this tells us everything we need to know. Again, from the News:
"He felt bad. He apologized to me," Joe Torre said. "I care for this guy dearly because he has a big heart."
Bob Klapisch believes that Sturtze conned Torre, as it appears the reliever has been pitching in pain for some time. Just goes to show that the greatest distance in the world is often the space between the heart and the mind.