Yankees foundering

Updated: June 11, 2005, 9:15 AM ET
By Buster Olney | ESPN The Magazine

• 3:15 p.m. ET: Dark clouds loom over the Yankees. The pressure is building on all of them. And Randy Johnson, who seems to be affected by the pressure more than many of them right now, takes the mound against Mark Mulder of the Cardinals. All logic points to a St. Louis victory because of how inconsistent the Big Unit has been with his command, so this is the Reverse Lock of the Day.

• 3:15: Boston's Wade Miller knows all about Wrigley Field and day games and how the ball flies there from his days in Houston. He'll be working against Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs.

• 7:05: RFK is Jamie Moyer's kind of ballpark: big and spacious, a place where fly balls die. But it is also the home to baseball's hottest team, the Nationals, who are 22-9 in RFK. John Patterson, who is usually good for five or six very strong innings, starts for Washington.

• 7:05: Nobody knows much about Toronto's Gustavo Chacin, the funky left-hander who has a way of hiding the ball from right-handed hitters. On the other hand, they know all about the guy who will work against him. Clemens. Roger. Three hundred and thirty-two career victories. This is The Pitching Matchup of the Day.

• 7:05: The ballpark in Philly is a bandbox that gets smaller as the weather heats up, so we'll say The Guy Most Likely To Go Deep is Carlos Lee of the Brewers, hitting against Randy Wolf. Doug Davis, who has been throwing very well lately, starts for Milwaukee.

• 10:05: The Padres are banged up and affected by some kind of infection, and they'll do well to pull a game out in this three-game set against the White Sox. Rookie Tim Stauffer throws against Mark Buehrle, Cy Young candidate, in Game 2 of this series.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from Friday
The Good: We will tend to take St. Louis for granted the rest of the summer, as they roll toward the playoffs. But when the Yankees made mistakes on Friday night, the Cardinals did exactly what good teams should do: They buried New York, making the Yankees look very bad in the first game of the series.

The Bad: The Arizona bullpen is a serious problem. The Diamondbacks blew an 11-2 lead before coming back and winning 12-11. The D-Backs need an upgrade there, at some point, if they are to remain in contention.

The Ugly: The images coming out of the Yankees' game Friday were stark: Joe Torre, his hat pushed back in anger, as he prepared to blast the team for their pathetic effort; Jason Giambi, his eyes seemingly vacant as he continues to see his career evaporate; and Derek Jeter, enraged by the collapse of the team. It's either got to get better, or it's going to get much worse.

Buster Olney is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. His book, "The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty," is available in paperback and can be ordered through HarperCollins.com.

Buster Olney | email

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine