The Yanks got smoked down in Baltimore to the tune of 9-4, but didn't lose any ground in the standings as the Red Soxcontinued to find new ways to lose last night in Boston. Gilbert Bogie was the one bright spot for the Bombers. Miguel Tejada made a marvelous catch in left field. Otherwise, it was a snoozer. Today gives a late afternoon game, 4:30 start. I kind of dig late afternoon games, particularly because of the way the light moves over the field. It presents a different beauty for fans--and different challenges for the players, subtle as they may be. Especially now that it's getting to be the autumn, the light is unlike it would have been in April or May. I love it. Maybe you can watch the game eating the last of the good local tomatoes or corn. Should be a relaxing day for a game. The sticks are going to break out. What can I say, but let's go Yanks, man.
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Cliff here with some notes about the most compelling pitching match-up of this series . . .
Twenty-two-year-old rookie Adam Loewen has faced the Yankees more than any other team in his young career. This afternoon he'll make his fourth start against the Bombers. He's had as many as two starts against just two other teams, Toronto and Oakland. The Blue Jays have smacked Loewen around for twelve runs in eleven innings, while the A's have scored five in ten innings against the lefty despite picking up just three hits (the reason: ten walks).
Against the Yankees, however, Loewen has a 2.65 ERA, struck out 17 and allowed just 11 hits in 17 innings. He has, however, walked 12 Yankees thus far. There are two things to consider here. First, that performance isn't that out of line with how Loewen has performed against the A's (10 IP, 3 H, 10 BB, 12 K). Second, here's what Loewen has done over his last four starts (which admitedly include one game each against the A's and Yanks): 23 2/3 IP, 19 H, 9 R, 0 HR, 9 BB, 21 K, 3.42 ERA, while his best start in that string actually came against the Twins (8 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 7 K).
As for Wang, he's totally off the charts at this point, having now thrown 35 2/3 more innings than his previous career high, a 23 percent increase that just keeps growing. With Mike Mussina pushed back to Tuesday due to some shoulder soreness after his comeback start (Jaret Wright will start in his place tomorrow), Wang tempting fate every time out, and Randy Johnson being, well, a 42-year-old with a bad back and a bum knee, I cannot figure out why Joe Torre refuses to take advantage of the Yankees lead in the division by keeping either Rasner or Karstens, both of whom pitched well, in the rotation. Myself, I'd like to see Rasner in next year's opening day rotation, and possibly even as the fourth starter in the playoffs, but there's little to no chance of either happening if he doesn't get a few more looks down the stretch.
Regardless, this dreary series won't get much more exciting than this afternoon's contest, so enjoy it while you can.