Sunday, June 21, 2009

But ya doesn't have to call me Johnson

Josh Johnson Dominates, Johnny Damon "error-ates"

Marlins’ Johnson Not Joshing Around

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NY Yankees
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WP - Johnson (7-1) SV - Lindstrom(13) LP - Burnett (5-4)

The Yankees have taken heat of late for not being able to hit pitchers they haven’t faced before, but last night’s starter for the Florida Marlins, Josh Johnson, is no ordinary pitcher. Possibly the most unheralded pitcher in MLB (and the best Josh not named Beckett), Johnson dominated the Yankees over 7 innings in a 2-1 Marlins victory. He allowed just one hit, a bloop single by A.J. Burnett, over the first five innings and allowed just three hits in total.

Burnett delivered his second straight excellent start. He allowed 5 hits in 6.1 innings and struck out 8, but was hurt by his team’s fundamental mistakes. With the Marlins up 1-0 in the 7th and a man aboard, left fielder Johnny Damon whiffed on a fly ball off the bat of Jorge Cantu. The 2-base error allowed Hanley Ramirez to score from first base with the run that proved to be the difference in the ball game.

The Yankees got a run back in the 7th on Nick Swisher’s RBI single and were set up for a rally in the 8th inning. Pinch-hitter Hideki Matsui singled off Leo Nunez to start the frame, and pinch-runner Brett Gardner swiped second base. A walk to pinch-hitter Alex Rodriguez put two men aboard with the top of the order coming up. But Derek Jeter failed to get a bunt down and then bounced into a rally killing double play. Dan Meyer then struck out Damon to strand Gardner at third. (Perhaps they should have let him steal home.)

Mark Teixiera led off the 9th with a single, but closer Matt Lindstrom got Robinson Cano to bounce into a game-ending double play.

Dan Uggla put the Marlins on the board first with a deep blast to center field for his 13th home run of the season.

Game Notes

Johnson was still throwing in the mid-to-upper 90’s in the 7th inning. He’s 7-1, 2.66 with 88 strikeouts in 65 innings.

Alex Rodriguez received a huge ovation from the mostly Yankees’ partisan crowd at Land Shark Stadium. The local media, feeling deprived, have blasted the Yankees for not playing A-Rod in the first two games. Perhaps they should worry more about fans actually attending their games. Then again, A-Rod shouldn’t be out until 2:30 a.m. with Kate Hudson when he “needs his rest”.

The Yankees had won all of their previous 29 games when allowing 2 runs or less. It was the longest current streak in the majors.

The rubber game of the series this afternoon will see CC Sabathia (6-4, 3.67) square off with Chris Volstad (4-7, 4.75).

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