Thursday, April 21, 2005

Wells: Better than RJ?, etc.

Funny how a lot can change in just a few weeks. Remember Opening Day? It was Wells v. Johnson on the hill, and Wells had nothing, while Johnson, though not 100%, had a lot, enough to hold Boston to 2 runs. Another poor outing later by Wells, I was saying he was washed up. Now, he's starting to prove me and all the skeptics out there that we're wrong. If there's ever been a time where I don't mind being in the wrong, it's right here and now.

In terms of career numbers, there's no comparison. Johnson is a future HOFer, and the Boomer has no chance of getting to the Hall; he'll get 2 votes his first year on the ballot, and that's it. But let's forget about the past, and focus on 2005, so far. RJ's ERA? Up there in the 5.00s. Wells? A solid 3.65. And last night was the biggest proof that he was back. Facing an Orioles offense that gave Yankee pitching lots of trouble this past weekend, Wells put their bats to sleep, throwing 8 scoreless innings. While his last start against the AAA-Rays didn't prove much, this start was big. Bob Ryan has a great piece on Wells' start last night. As for RJ, he had trouble with the lowly Rays, and is giving up homers like he's Eric Milton. And word is, his velocity ain't what it used to be. We've still got a season to find out how well both RJ and Wells hold up. But as of now, Wells is the better pitcher.

If Wells is back to old form, the Yanks can beat the Jays all year long, but they'll be in big trouble come October. The Sox already have Schilling and Wakefield, two guys who have proven they can beat the Yanks, and if Wells is in good form and Wade Miller can contribute, the Sox will once again have the pitching to send the Yanks home.

Lots of other good news for Yankee despisers yesterday:
-- The Yanks are paying $30 million in luxury taxes this year. Hey, if this is what stopped them from getting Beltran, that's great. I'd rather a salary cap, but the luxury tax is a start.

--Javier Vazquez pitched great for Arizona last night, getting his first win as a D-Back. And Buster Olney's blog talks about how Wily Mo Pena is looking very promising as a Red (38 HR in his last 370 AB in the bigs). In case you don't remember, Pena was traded by the Yankees for the immortal Drew Henson. Good job, Cashman.

-- While Despiser has compared this year's Yankee team to the '04 Mariners, Vic Ziegel of the Daily News goes back in time to compare them to the '65 Yankees, another team that got old in a hurry. Good stuff.

-- Speaking of which, the Yankees depth got tested yesterday, as Bernie and Sierra go down with minor injuries. With an aging team, you know guys will get hurt. It'll be interesting to see how this affects the Junkees.

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