Randy Johnson struck out a season-high nine batters and did not allow a run over seven innings. Not so long ago, Yankee fans wondered if the real Big Unit would ever return. Well, he may never be the 38-year old version again, but clearly, he isn’t completely cooked either. The Atlanta Braves’ hitters didn’t help themselves much–jeez, what a bunch of hackers–but there is no denying that Johnson is pitching effectively once more. Jason Giambi hit a two-run homer in the first and a three-run dinger in the second and that was all the Yankees would need as they cruised to a 5-2 victory in the Bronx.
Tim Hudson was wild early and Giambi hit what looked like split finger fastballs for his home runs. Some friend. The Bombers’ offense didn’t do much else on Derek Jeter’s 32nd birthday (also Mike Myers’ 37th), but they’ll take the win. Scott Proctor allowed a two-run bomb to Chipper Jones in the ninth after pitching a scoreless eighth. That was the lowest part of the night for the Yankees, aside from Alex Rodriguez’s 12th error of the season which matches his 2005 season total. I was never sold on Rodriguez being a Gold Glover last year–though he was a fine defensive player–and he has regressed this season. He’s got a strong, true arm, but his lateral movement appears sluggish. I wonder what’s up with that? Anyhow, Mariano Rivera came in for the final two outs. He walked a batter and struck two men out looking, and that, as they say, was that.
It is not certain that Robinson Cano will be placed on the DL but my guess is that he likely won’t get much burn until after the All-Star break. Meanwhile, Octavio Dotel pitched yesterday. According to reports, he’s likely a month away from joining the big league club. Lastly, Aaron Small cleared waivers and has returned to Columbus.