Orlando Hernandez looks flat-out amazing these days. He may be the best pitcher on the Yankees pitching staff and right now is the only one that you can count on for a solid start. Last night Hernandez took his record to 5-0 with a 5-1 win over the hard-hitting Texas Rangers.
The first inning got off to a rocky start and Hernandez was visibly upset with his performance after allowing a double, a walk a sac fly and a wild pitch that led to a run. Unlike others that used to take the mound for the pinstripes (read: Jeff Weaver) he did not let that get him down. He actually came out in the second inning fired up and ready to shut down the Rangers. The Yankees did give him a three run cushion after Miguel Cairo hit a grand slam in the top of the second.
Hernandez allowed only three more hits over the next six innings. Hernandez struck out seven and walked three to go with the 7 innings pitched and one earned run. He was relieved in the 8th inning by Tom Gordon, who struck out the only three batters he faced. Scott Proctor came in for one-third of an inning work, before Mariano Rivera closed the door by getting the last two outs.
The Yankees play in Seattle tonight, the beginning of a three game series. Jon Lieber (8-7, 4.87) will pitch against Ron Villone (4-2, 3.53) at 10:05. Saturday the two teams square of at 4:05pm, sending Esteban Loaiza (9-6, 5.01) and Jamie Moyer (6-8, 4.46). The series ends on Sunday with another 4:05 start. The Yankees will send Kevin Brown (9-2, 3.78) against Gil Meche (2-5, 5.97).