Tony Gwynn: Should Yankees trade for pitching now?
An early wakeup call may be what gets the New York Yankees out of an early-season funk.
The Yankees look to continue their dominance during day games on Wednesday when they try to gain a split of a two-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
New York (6-7) is unbeaten in day games, but fell to 1-7 in night contests after a 10-5 loss in the series opener Tuesday. Starter Randy Johnson failed to hold a 4-0 lead and was tagged for seven runs and nine hits over 3 1-3 innings.
“I just didn’t execute my pitches and I paid the price,” said Johnson, who refused to say if he was hurt. “It’s just one of those games where you take it on the chin.”
Reigning AL MVP Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run homer in New York’s four-run first inning, but was hitless in his final three at-bats. Rodriguez is batting .148 (4-for-27) with three RBIs in the Yankees’ seven losses, but .458 (11-for-24) with eight RBIs in their six wins.
It’s the third straight season New York is below .500 through 13 games. The Yankees started 5-8 last season and began 6-7 in 2004.
Mike Mussina makes his fourth start of the season for the Yankees—all on the road. He’s been solid in every outing this season, although he suffered his first loss after giving up three runs and six hits over 6 2-3 innings in a 5-1 loss at Minnesota on Friday.
“I did what I wanted to do with the ball most of the time. I felt strong. I used all my pitches in almost any count,” Mussina said. “I had almost seven innings and gave up six singles. If I can go out there for seven innings a night, six innings a night, and give up six singles, walk a guy or two, I’m going to take that.”
The veteran right-hander is 18-11 with a 3.48 ERA in 35 career starts against the Blue Jays. Mussina is just 7-8 with a 4.02 ERA in 19 career starts at Toronto.
Toronto outfielder Frank Catalanotto is a career .426 (20-for-47) hitter against Mussina.
The Blue Jays (7-6) opened an eight-game homestand against AL East foes with a 12-hit outburst that included two homers from Troy Glaus. Alex Rios also connected for the Blue Jays, who have alternated wins and losses through their first seven home games.
“We have a pretty good team that can compete this year,” Rios said.
Center fielder Vernon Wells went 0-for-4, ending a 12-game hitting streak in which he batted .420 (21-for-50).
Former Yankee Ted Lilly gets the start for the Blue Jays. Lilly went 1-2 with a 10.34 ERA in four starts against New York last season.
The 30-year-old left-hander enters after a stellar outing Thursday at Boston in which he gave up one run and six hits while striking out 10 and walking none in an 8-6 victory.
It was his fifth straight win over the Red Sox.
“I have a hard time believing it’s the Red Sox,” said Lilly, who walked six over just 2 1-3 innings in his first outing of the year on April 8 against Tampa Bay. “I can’t explain it. It goes to show what happens when you throw strikes.”
Lilly has gotten the better of Derek Jeter on most occasions. The Yankees shortstop is 2-for-17 in his career against the southpaw.