42-year-old Randy Johnson might be the least of the Phillies' worries as the Yankees’ high-powered offense marches into Philadelphia for the first of three games.
Brett Myers won’t be the only source of hot air tonight at Citizens Bank Park. If the weather holds (40 percent chance it will) home runs could fall like rain. It’s one of these soupy, still nights when balls fly out of Citizens Bank Park.
Adding to that, once mighty Randy Johnson (8-5, 5.32 ERA) has surrendered a team-high 15 homers this season. Johnson will look to build on his best outing of 2006 Wednesday when he gave up one run and four hits in 6 1-3 innings before he was ejected – and suspended five games! – for throwing inside to Eduardo Perez.
He isn’t the only one bringing rain. The Yankees are averaging 5.79 runs per game, best in baseball. It's a tall order for Philadelphia’s dismal starting rotation, which luckily sends its one-two punch to the mound tonight and tomorrow. Woo-hoo.
Myers (4-3, 3.86) will be making his first career start against the Yanks. The default Phillies’ ace has not pitched well lately, going 0-1 with a 10.22 ERA in three June starts. Tonight’s atmosphere could mirror his last start, and we all know what happened then.
The Yanks are playing their fourth game on a six-game road trip after dropping two-of-three to the Nationals over the weekend. Only the Yankees could squirm with a 38-29 record, dropping a game back of the Red Sox for the AL East lead. The Yankees have undergone some acid-enducing roster developments this season, losing two corner outfielders to injury and also designating Aaron Small for assignment Saturday. A little less than half their starting lineup isn't all-star worthy. Imagine that.
Tonight also marks the return of Larry Bowa, who talked to the New York Post about it this morning:
"If you're going to make a change, say you're going in a different direction," the first-year Yankees third base coach said. "I don't want to use the word 'sour,' but I am disappointed that the front office said the team was batter than it was, that we didn't play up to our potential. When I took over (2001) they hadn't had a winning season (since 1993) and we had winning seasons three of the four years and were fighting for the pennant or a wild card spot."
Update: Bobby Abreu and Ryan Howard will sit this one out against the big left-hander. Chase Utley starts at first. Abraham Nunez gets into the game at second, his third start in a row.