(Mr. October aka Bengie Molina)
Harold Reynolds was in full yelp late tonight, implying that the Angels were waiting for Randy Johnson’s high fastball. That said pitch seemed to be travelling at around 85 mph might have as much to do with anything as the location. The Big Eunuch spotted the opposition to an early 5-0 lead, and Newsday’s Jon Heyman has seen enough.
Friday night, in the biggest game of Johnson’s Yankees life, he looked like any other overpriced pitching disappointment they’ve imported, just costlier.
Johnson’s fastball has no life, his slider had no bite.
His scowl had no scare.
Johnson was imported for this very game, to be the key playoff swing man. Turns out, it’s hard to imagine him doing more to swing the series Anaheim’s way. He surrendered five runs, all on home runs by Garret Anderson and Bengie Molina (the 33rd and 34th homers he’s allowed this year) and he never got out of the fourth, exhausting an ultra-thin bullpen that suddenly features Al Leiter as a key man.
No excuses. Johnson had his light-hitting personal catcher John Flaherty and his hand-on-the-hips whine working. Just not his pitches, which were tattooed to every nook and some crannies of historic Yankee Stadium.
A day earlier, Johnson kiddingly invited Yankees fans to boo him to juice him up, and they wound up obliging with torrents of disapproval.
Some fans started to root for the rain, which like Johnson never showed up in full force.
The fans greeted Johnson’s fourth-inning replacement, the underpaid, underheralded Aaron Small as if he was a long-lost son returning from the war. They embraced him, they cheered him. They loved him.
Conversely, venom filled the air during Johnson’s brief appearance, not to mention line drives and gopherballs. It was a performance unworthy of the $46-million investment they made in the Big Unit (now we know what the Unit stands for, moolah). Not to mention the year they spent trying to pry him from the Arizona Diamondbacks, the rattlesnakes who must be laughing at their good fortune today after those pesky, scrappy Angels took Johnson deep twice.