Monday, May 15, 2006

Athletics 6, Yanks 1


In one of my dorkier moments, I’ll point out that not only did the Yankees take two of three from the A’s, but Randy Johnson pitched four effective innings out of six total, which can be reduced to 2/3. And, if that wasn’t enough, Dan Haren threw 67 strikes out of 100 pitches, which is also 2/3. Yes yes, Meatloaf would have been proud of this weekend.

Unfortunately, I was not. Out to brunch with my mother yesterday morning, I had to bottle in all of my Randy Johnson related comments as he struggled through the first. It would have been much less painful had the TV not been on. Then again, I can’t imagine how I would have been feeling had I come home to see the score at 3-0 in the top of the second.

[MORE]My first inclination was to blame the ho hum offense on a lack of patience, allowing Dan Haren to plow through the lineup on a minimal number of pitches. But the more I think about it (and the more I watch the archive on, the more I realize that Haren was truly on yesterday. It was all location, as he placed unhittable strikes early in the count and utilized his fastball/splitter combo to keep the Yanks lineup off-balance. The kid looks to be coming around, which is consistent with his fantasy profile at CBS Sportsline:

Haren has traditionally been a slow starter, so hopefully this is the start of good things to come for the young Oakland pitcher.

The problem with this analysis: they’re basing it off one freakin’ year. And while April and May weren’t stellar months for Haren (4.11 and 4.45 ERAs, respectively), they weren’t his worst either. After settling down and posting a 3.09 ERA in June, he faltered in July, surrendering 6.09 runs per nine innings. So when Haren struggles for a few games in July, Sportsline will be quick with a, “Haren is notoriously ineffective in the month of July.” You know, guys, we can check game logs from last year, too.

There’s no sense in fretting over a loss like yesterday, so we might as well focus on the task at hand: knocking Kevin Millwood senseless. If the Twins can do it, the Yanks should have a field day. Milwood’s success last year was based on consistency; he allowed four or more runs just four times over the course of 30 starts. This year, he’s already done it thrice. In two outings against the Yanks last year, Millwood pitched well once (8 IP, 2 ER) and horribly the other (6 IP, 6 ER).

The coming week and a half will be very telling for the Yanks. The Mets and the Red Sox loom at the end of what will be a trail of 16 games in 16 days; their roster is slightly depleted; they’re forced to start two guys that scare the bejeezus out of me a combined four more times. And at the end of that, MAYBE we get Sheff back. If he’s feeling up to it. Which is doubtful.

And at the end of the day, we’re still atop the AL East.