Randy Johnson had another bad outing for the Yankees on Friday night. Staked to a 4-0 first inning lead, Johnson would go on to blow leads of 4-3, 5-3 and 6-5, in the Mets' 7-6 win at Shea Stadium. Carlos Beltran and Xavier Nady took the Big Unit deep, Kaz Matsui had a big RBI single and the Mets' hitters consistently worked the count, fouling off pitches, all night. In the end, t was a fine night for the Shea Faithful. According to Tyler Kepner in the New York Times:
"It's a very humbling game," said Johnson, whose earned run average rose to 5.62. "I'm humbled; I always have been. But I'm not going to quit. I'm not a quitter. I've come back from a lot of things. I know my teammates need me, and I need them. I'll continue to battle."
Johnson said he believed his pitches were still good enough to win. He blamed his problems on poor location and selection.
"Obviously I'm not throwing 97 or 98 miles an hour, but I'm throwing 94 or 95, and my slider's at 85 to 87," Johnson said. "So I've got the pitches. Location and pitch selection are the things that are inconsistent. The stuff is there. People will say what they want, but I'm convinced the stuff is there. It's just not getting the job done right now."
Mariano Rivera took the loss in the ninth when David Wright crushed a two-out single to the base of the center field wall. With Paul LoDuca on second, the Yankees chose to walk Carlos Delgado to get to Wright. I had had a nagging feeling for innings, wondering how the Bombers would find a way to lose the game and this move cinched it. I know Delgado is a beast, but Wright is no slouch and wouldn't you always rather see Rivera pitch to a lefty?
It was a tough loss but a relatively entertaining game. After a flurry of runs early on, the Mets bullpen out-pitched the Yanks' pen for the win. Aaron Heilman had his change-up working as he threw three scoreless, while Billy Wagner fanned the side--including Jason Giambi and Alex Rodriguez--in the ninth.
The Mets also flashed some nice leather, while the Yankees' fielding continues to falter--another error by Rodriguez, a botched run-down by Robinson Cano. Offensively, Derek Jeter had a good night and Cano hit the ball hard three times, though he only had one hit to show for it.
Nertz to the final score, the bad news for the Yanks came when Jorge Posada left the game with tightness in his back after the first inning. Initially, the announcers speculated that it was his relationship with Johnson that drove him from the game--talk about a headline!--but the injury appears to be legit. Bernie Williams strained his ass legging out a double and Kyle Farnsworth would leave the game with a back problem after pitching a 1-2-3 eighth.
The Mets overall record is one game better than their counterparts in the Bronx. But right now, the Yankees are wondering when the pain will stop. They'll need length and luck today as aces are high with Mussina and Pedro on the mound.