Ryan's Place

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Seahawks Cut Kacyvenski, Make Room For Weeks



From Seahawks.com:

The Seattle Seahawks have released seven-year veteran linebacker Isaiah Kacyvenski and signed running back Marquis Weeks from the team’s practice squad to its active roster, the team announced Saturday afternoon.

Kacyvenski, drafted by Seattle with the second of two fourth-round picks (119th overall) in the 2000 NFL Draft, has played in 90 career games with 22 starts, amassing 184 tackles (136 solo), one sack, three interceptions and one forced fumble with the Seahawks.

This season he has played on special teams only and has three tackles, giving him 84 career special teams stops along with a fumble forced and fumble recovery.

Weeks signed as a rookie free agent from Virginia in 2005 and spent last season on the team’s practice squad, where he has also spent the first three games this season.

This preseason he played in all four games, carrying 23 times for 81 yards (3.5 avg.) with a long of 24 and one touchdown. He carried once for six yards vs. Dallas with his remaining numbers against the Oakland Raiders in the preseason finale.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Alexander Out With Injured Foot



From Seahawks.NET:

Alexander has played in 99 consecutive games. It has been apparent through the 2006 season that Alexander hadn't been playing at MVP-level - gaining only 187 yards on 65 carries for a 2.9 yards-per-carry average and two touchdowns. He had been suffering from minor foot injuries, decreasing his ability to cut back and limiting his speed, since the season opener in Detroit. The severity of the injury had been disclosed as a bone bruise before today, when the renewed injury was made public. Holmgren said that the bone bruise led to the crack in the bone, which is non-weight-bearing.

"I don't think it will be real lengthy," Holmgren said, when asked how long Alexander would be out of action. "Now, he just has to stay off of it and let it heal.

"We're looking at a few weeks, let's put it that way," the coach continued. "The good thing is, it's just a small, little crack -- if you want to talk about a good thing."

According to Holmgren, Alexander was walking around team headquarters on crutches Monday. The players were given the day off after their third straight win, a 42-30 victory over the New York Giants.

Maurice Morris will replace Alexander as the starting running in the meantime. Morris is in his 5th season with the Seahawks, drafted out of Oregon in the 2nd round of the 2002 draft (86th overall).

In his career, Morris has carried 193 times for 872 yards with a 4.5 yards-per-carry average. He's a nice change-up and complement to Alexander with a bit more outside elusiveness – think of a slightly less impactful Brian Westbrook to Alexander’s Terrell Davis. He's good out of the backfield as well. Look for Morris and FB Mack Strong to keep defenses somewhat honest during the weeks in which Alexander heals.

The Seahawks play the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field next Sunday. Their bye week is the week after that, and they will face the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on October 15th.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Seahawks Spank Giants 42-30



From NFL.com:


Flat doesn't begin to describe the New York Giants' start to their supposed showdown with Seattle.

Flattened is more like it.

Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck threw five touchdown passes -- four in a first half in which Eli Manning had three interceptions. New York trailed 42-3 before rallying in the fourth quarter to a 42-30 loss Sunday.

"I don't know what it is. But it's not flat," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said after his team followed a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit at Philadelphia last week with a 35-0 flop in the first half against the soaring Seahawks.

"A team that does nothing but preach and talk about turnovers, we turn it over like nothing matters, nothing counts," Coughlin said. "It cost us the game."

It all left New York's Jeremy Shockey irate -- at his coach.

"We got outplayed, and outcoached. Write that down," the volatile tight end said after he was told of Coughlin's frustrated outburst.

Shockey had four catches for 58, inconsequential yards.

When asked what he meant by "outcoached" Shockey said, "You saw the game."

The Seahawks (3-0) won their 12th consecutive regular-season home game and finally felt good about their previously sputtering offense, thanks to Deion Branch's debut.

The former Patriot and Super Bowl MVP caught two passes for 23 yards and ran a reverse 8 yards. He was part of the Seahawks' new, four-wide receiver scheme, an offensive makeover during the game's relatively few important parts.

"There was no way for them to prepare for that ... we were running routes we'd never shown," Hasselbeck said.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Seahawks Beat Cardinals 21-10



From NFL.com:

Standards have risen so high in Seattle that some members of the Seahawks aren't happy -- despite being 2-0.

None of those would be on defense.

"Everybody expects us to be the team that was in the Super Bowl," running back Shaun Alexander said after a 21-10 win over Arizona. "This is only the second week. So I think we have a good, second-week offense instead of the team that walked into the Super Bowl."

Last year's year MVP ran for a relatively modest 89 yards on 26 carries -- most of those late -- and scored an early touchdown.

Then Seattle's swarming, blitzing defense continually harassed quarterback Kurt Warner and the Cardinals into missed opportunities in the Seahawks' second consecutive underwhelming win.

"Our defense really stepped up today. I think they have a chance to be a special group, I really do," said Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, who calls Seattle's plays.

"Offensively," he added, "it is a work in progress."

Seattle is 2-0 for the third time in four seasons despite Pro Bowler Matt Hasselbeck throwing two interceptions and going just 12-for-27 for 221 yards -- his first game under 50 percent passing in two seasons.

And Alexander, last season's league rushing champion, was held below 100 yards for the second consecutive game for the first time since November, 2004. He had 51 yards in a field-goal filled win at Detroit in the opener.

"Well, I'm happy we are 2-0," Hasselbeck said. "There are definitely things can correct. We're a little sloppy ... we all need to play better. I need to play better.

"There's obviously things on the film we are not going to enjoy watching."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Sheets Is Stellar In 2-1 Win



From Sportsline.com:

Ben Sheets kept getting better and better, and pretty soon he was approaching perfection.

Sheets retired the first 18 batters before Chris Duffy led off the seventh inning with a single, and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1 Wednesday to split a doubleheader.

"Things were going good. I ain't going to lie. It definitely crossed my mind," Sheets said.

"If it's your day, it's going to be your day, no matter what you do. I had a good day," he said.

In the opener, Freddy Sanchez recorded three hits and Ian Snell struck out 10 as Pittsburgh won 6-3.

Sheets (5-6) gave up two hits and struck out 10 in eight innings. He did not walk a batter. One pitch after Duffy singled, Sheets picked him off first base.

"We got into the seventh inning and I started thinking, 'He's got a real shot at a no-hitter here with his stuff,'" Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "The first inning, the first couple of hitters he was just OK. And then all of a sudden, it just clicked for him and he started getting stronger and stronger and stronger. He just had really good stuff today: Good breaking ball, real good fastball, really good changeup, spotting well."

There has not been a perfect game in the majors since Randy Johnson pitched one for Arizona at Atlanta on May 18, 2004.

While Sheets was trying to do it at PNC Park, Freddy Garcia of the Chicago White Sox was taking a perfect game try into the seventh inning at Anaheim against the Angels. Moments after Duffy's hit, Adam Kennedy singled with two outs in the eighth for the Angels.

Geoff Jenkins and Prince Fielder homered as the Brewers won for only the second time in their last seven games and fourth time in their last 19.

"(Sheets) was outstanding today," Fielder said. "He pitched great. Both the hits he gave up weren't really bad pitches, there was just better hitting that time."

Francisco Cordero pitched the ninth for his 12th save in as many chances since being acquired by the Brewers July 28.

Dating to his last start against Pittsburgh July 25, Sheets retired 32 Pirates in a row. He sent down the final 14 batters he faced in a 6-1 Pirates' win in Sheets' first game after missing almost two months because of tendinitis in his right shoulder.

"Seeing him perform like that and pitch like he did today, that was fun to be part of," said catcher Mike Rivera, credited by Sheets with calling a good game.

"It's a sign that the old Ben is here again and that's what we need. Today he was great with all of his pitches. His fastball was up to 96 (mph) and he was kind of down with his fastball and he showed that he is getting better and stronger every day," he said.

Sheets' gem was in front of an announced crowd of 11,627 -- but far fewer than that witnessed it. The matchup between two of the National League's four worst teams on a chilly and drizzly afternoon had what appeared to be less than 1,000 fans on hand by the time his perfect game bid reached the sixth inning.

Milwaukee has never had a perfect game in its 38-season history. The Brewers' only no-hitter was by Juan Nieves April 15, 1987.

"You certainly want to try to win both ends of it, but there is nothing to be ashamed of with the effort we gave today all day long," Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. "Every once in a while, you take your cap off and tip it. I don't know if I've seen Ben Sheets any better than we saw today for eight innings.

Brewers Lose 1st Doubleheader Game 3-6



From Sportsline.com:

Ian Snell is learning how to pitch inside to major league hitters and seeing the results.

Snell struck out 10 to tie his career high and Freddy Sanchez got three hits to raise his NL-leading batting average to .342, sending the Pittsburgh Pirates past the Milwaukee Brewers 6-3 Wednesday in the first game of a doubleheader.

"A great performance by Ian Snell," Pittsburgh manager Jim Tracy said. "He did something today that was very impressive. His effectiveness of pitching inside helped him immensely with his curveball and his slider down and away that he had very good command of, which was evidenced by the fact that he walked one and had 10 strikeouts."

Snell (13-10) became the first Pirates pitcher to win as many as 13 games in a season since 1999, when Todd Ritchie won 15.

"I was actually throwing inside and changing eye levels to all the hitters," Snell said. "I wasn't throwing a lot of the same pitches to the same hitters."

Snell said he has always had a fear of throwing inside since he hit and seriously injured a batter when he was young.

But Snell said pitching coach Jim Colborn has helped him get over that fear, and Snell rebounded Wednesday after two consecutive losses.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Brewers Lose To Pirates 3-4



From Sportsline.com:

Zach Duke is showing the form he had in 2005.

Duke tied a season-high with seven strikeouts in eight innings, leading the Pittsburgh Pirates over the Milwaukee Brewers 4-3 Monday night.

"I felt like I was on top of the ball the whole time," Duke said. "It's definitely a good feeling to go out there and get the win."

Duke (9-13) was 8-2 with a 1.81 ERA in 14 starts last season, but this season his ERA was at 5.51 July 24.

He has allowed only 21 earned runs in 67 2/3 innings since, a 2.79 ERA. Against the Brewers, he allowed two runs, five hits and two walks, pitching at least six innings for his ninth straight start.

"It was a very efficient game for him tonight," Pittsburgh manager Jim Tracy said. "He's very capable of getting groundballs. The sinker his last two outings is probably the sinker they saw around here last year. It's been very deep, and guys either swing over the top of it or rolling over it and hitting it into the ground."

Duke had won only one of his previous eight starts -- despite allowing three runs or fewer five times in than span.

Seahawks Trade For Branch



From Mike Kahn at Seahawks.com:

Sometimes rumors really do come true.

With perceptions that the New England Patriots would not part with Deion Branch, despite their inability to come up with a new contract, the Seattle Seahawks pried away the gifted wide receiver Monday in exchange for a 2007 No. 1 draft choice.

The move for the 27-year-old former Super Bowl MVP greatly expands the Seahawks talent base at wide receiver and is another example of how the team is willing to make any move necessary to enhance their chances of returning to the Super Bowl this winter.

Branch’s business managers were due in town late Monday to work out the details of a long-term deal extension, Seahawks president Tim Ruskell said, adding that this has been going on for a couple of weeks.

“We’ve looked at him and studied him - a good fit for our system in terms of what we do,” Ruskell said. “And doing further research, a good guy for the team, another good character guy for this football team, which I think I’m more excited about that part than the player, even. Those were the main reasons to continue to pursue it and then ultimately get the deal done. It’s a chance to get another football player that fits our team and adds to our chemistry.”

The 5-9, 193-pound Branch had one more year on his contract but was unhappy with the prospects the Patriots had laid out on the table. The 65th pick overall in the 2002 draft from Louisville, Branch set a record with 11 receptions and earned MVP honors as the Patriots won Super Bowl XXXIX. He also caught 10 passes in Super Bowl XXXVIII, and holds two of the top seven receiving records in Super Bowl history.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Seahawks Beat Lions 9-6 With Josh Brown's Game Winning FG



From NFL.com:

The Seattle Seahawks got to celebrate at Ford Field -- seven months too late.

On the turf where Seattle lost the Super Bowl to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Josh Brown kicked a 42-yard field goal on the last play of the game to lift the Seahawks to a 9-6 victory over the Detroit Lions.

When the game ended, the Seahawks jumped around, hugged and shouted.

"I'm ready to pass out. That's fun," Brown said on the field after a teammate jubilantly lifted him off the ground. "This is exactly the way I would like to start the season."

Perhaps only a kicker could enjoy a game with five field goals and no touchdowns.

The defending NFC champions, who led the NFL in scoring last season, put together a key drive when they needed it after a sluggish day behind a shaky offensive line.

Seattle started the game-winning drive at their 20 with 3:13 left after Lions' new coach Rod Marinelli decided against a long field-goal attempt.

Maurice Morris set up the game-winning kick with a 17-yard run, one of his three carries, spelling last year's league MVP Shaun Alexander.

Seattle defensive end Bryce Fisher said it was not an ugly win.

"I've never seen one," Fisher said. "It's like an ugly baby -- you never see one."

Brewers Avoid Sweep With 4-0 Win



From Sportsline.com:

With five wins since Aug. 1, including a five-hit shutout on Sunday, Dave Bush is probably pitching as well as he ever has.

Bush struck out a season-high 10 in his third career shutout, leading the Milwaukee Brewers to a 4-0 victory over the Houston Astros.

"It just seems like each start he is getting better and better," Brewers center fielder Brady Clark said, citing Bush's recent "swagger" on the mound. "The confidence has built up. He is confident in his stuff, and he is confident in his ability to locate his pitches."

It was the second shutout this season for Bush (11-10), who has three complete games this year and six in his career.

The right-hander walked none and allowed only one runner past second base. He struck out two batters each in the first, third and fifth, and fell one strikeout shy of his career high as he threw 85 of his 116 pitches for strikes.

"He was lights out from the first pitch on," Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. "He was very, very sharp."

And the Astros' hitters noticed.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Brewers Smoked In 4-10 Loss



From Sportsline.com:


Houston manager Phil Garner isn't worrying about the standings until his Astros reach the .500 mark.

Lance Berkman had two home runs and four RBI, and Jason Hirsh pitched six-plus strong innings to lead the Houston Astros to a 10-4 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday night.

Houston won its third straight game to move into second place in the NL Central, one-half game ahead of Cincinnati. The last time the Astros (70-71) were in second was May 6.

"We're one game closer to .500 and that's our goal," Garner said. "We want to get to .500. We got there (before) and had trouble pushing over. We've got to get over the hump."

Berkman agreed: "It's what we've said all along. We've got to get to .500 before we can even think about making a run at the postseason. We've been close a couple times but haven't been able to get over the hump. Maybe this is the time we can get over .500 and make up some ground on these guys we've been chasin'."

Adam Everett and Luke Scott also homered for Houston, sending Milwaukee to its third straight loss and 13th in 15 games.

"We didn't hit the ball against (Hirsh)," Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. "We didn't do much against him. It was just one of those nights where we got beat."

Friday, September 08, 2006

Brewers Lose To Astros 3-4



From Sportsline.com:

Roy Oswalt was not in the mood to celebrate his win.

Oswalt allowed five hits in seven strong innings for his sixth victory in his last seven decisions and Aubrey Huff and Morgan Ensberg homered to help the Houston Astros stay close in the NL wild card race with a 4-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night.

The Astros (69-71) came in five games behind the San Diego Padres for the wild card with 22 games to play in their bid for a third consecutive playoff appearance.

Oswalt (12-8) tied his season-high with nine strikeouts. His only real trouble came when he hit Damian Miller with the bases loaded to force in the tying run in the seventh. Miller dropped to the ground and laid motionless for a few moments. Astros catcher Brad Ausmus immediately knelt over him as the Brewers' trainer raced out to home plate. Miller walked off the field.

"Why would I want to hit somebody with the bases loaded?" Oswalt asked, and then explained how the pitch sailed on him. "I got half way through the pitch, and I don't know, I just let it go, and it rode up and in. When I first threw it, I thought I threw it behind him."

Oswalt said that errant pitch may be a result of getting hit in the right wrist by a line drive off the bat of the Chicago Cubs' Ronny Cedeno four starts ago.

"I just got right through my delivery and my wrist just popped," Oswalt said. "When it locked up, I just let the ball go."

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Brewers Can't Pull Off Sweep In 1-2 Loss



From Sportsline.com:

For Dodgers manager Grady Little, the only thing to discuss was Derek Lowe.

Lowe allowed three hits and an unearned run in eight innings to help the Dodgers beat the Milwaukee Brewers 2-1 Wednesday night and stop a three-game losing streak.

"Anything you said about this game outside of talking about Derek Lowe's performance would be secondary," Little said.

Matt Kemp scored the tying run and drove in the go-ahead run for Los Angeles, which avoided getting swept in the three-game series. The Dodgers, who trailed in the NL West by 7½ games on July 26, remained one game ahead of second-place San Diego.

began the night one game ahead of second-place San Diego.

The Dodgers had gone 16 scoreless innings over three games before Kemp scored on Rafael Furcal's sacrifice fly in the fifth.

"It was a win we needed to have," said Lowe, who got 20 groundball outs. "We scraped across two, and that was enough."

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Brewers Win Again 9-0



From Sportsline.com:

After winning seven straight games, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been anything but lucky.

Los Angeles lost its third straight Tuesday night, falling to the Milwaukee Brewers 9-0 as Doug Davis pitched a four-hitter and Corey Hart drove in a career-high six runs.

The Dodgers have been outscored 27-8 in their last three games.

"When you don't score runs, you look flat," Los Angeles manager Grady Little said. "There is no getting around that. But we will put this game behind us and come back tomorrow and see if we will be ready to beat on somebody. Then when we start hitting the ball, starting having baserunners, we won't look flat anymore. I guarantee you."

Los Angeles, which had opened a 7½-game lead in the NL West on July 26, leads second-place San Diego just just one game.

"It's hard to get it going if you are not getting any baserunners, and we didn't get too many tonight," Little said.

Davis (10-9) struck out eight, walked one and retired his final 16 batters in his third career shutout, his first since a seven-hitter at Minnesota on May 21, 2005. He had lost his three previous starts since beating Pittsburgh on Aug. 15.

Seahawks Sign Ponder, Cut Mann



From Seahawks.com:

The Seattle Seahawks have signed free agent wide receiver Willie Ponder, the team announced this afternoon.

Ponder spent three seasons with the New York Giants after being selected in the sixth-round (199th overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft. He played in 26 career games being used primarily as a kickoff returner and led the NFL in 2004 with a 26.9 kickoff return average.

He has returned 71 career kickoffs for 1,872 yards (26.4 avg.) with a long of 95t and two touchdowns and has eight career receptions for 38 yards (4.8 avg.) with a long of 16.

To make room on the 53-man roster, Seattle waived wide receiver Maurice Mann.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Brewers Finally Get Win Against Dodgers 6-3



From Sportsline.com:

The Milwaukee Brewers could finally let out a sigh of relief.

The Brewers ended their 10-game losing streak on Monday, handing Greg Maddux his first defeat since being traded to Los Angeles in a 6-3 victory over the Dodgers.

"Just winning a game is important, just getting that streak behind us," manager Ned Yost said.

Tony Graffanino went 3-for-5 with three RBI to lead the Brewers, who were four games short of the franchise's all-time worst skid.

"We saw how close we were getting, and really, everybody here wanted to get there so bad it backfired on us," he said.

Los Angeles' NL West lead was cut to two games over second-place San Diego.

Maddux, who was 3-0 since being traded to Los Angeles by the Chicago Cubs on July 31, allowed a run and two hits in his first four innings. But an infield hit glanced off Maddux's glove in the fifth, setting up a three-run inning for Milwaukee.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Brewers Losing Streak Continues In 3-10 Loss



From Sportsline.com:

The Marlins made it back to .500 after sinking to 20 games below the even mark in May. Florida is making even bigger plans now.

Rookie Scott Olsen allowed one hit in seven scoreless innings, and the Marlins scored seven runs in the eighth to beat Milwaukee 10-3 on Sunday and extend the Brewers' losing streak to 10 games.

"What our guys have accomplished so far to this point is special, but we have a chance to do something bigger: playoffs," Marlins manager Joe Girardi said.

After the game, the team announced it was sending out order forms to season-ticket holders for the playoffs with Florida two games behind San Diego in the NL wild-card race.

"We can talk about it," left fielder Josh Willingham said of the Marlins' postseason chance. "Bottom line is we have 26 games left, and we're going to have to win most of those games, maybe 15, to get to the playoffs."

The Marlins have already won 12 of the last 14 with a staff that's jelled at the right time, led by Dontrelle Willis and loaded with impressive rookies such as Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, Anibal Sanchez and Olsen.

Olsen (12-7) struck out seven and walked two as Florida (68-68) completed the three-game sweep and became the first team since the 1899 Louisville Colonels to return to .500 after falling 20 games below, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Marlins were 11-31 on May 21. The Colonels started 16-38 before reaching .500 at 72-72-3.

Seahawks Announce Practice Squad



From Seahawks.com:

2006 Practice Squad Players:

FB David Kirtman
LB Lance Laury
WR Ben Obomanu
DE Robert Pollard
CB Gerard Ross
C Pat Ross
TE Leonard Stephens
RB Marquis Weeks

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Brewers Lose Again To Marlins 6-9



From Sportsline.com:

Switch-hitter Alfredo Amezaga changed his mind before his final plate appearance: He wouldn't choke up on the bat despite a 2-for-29 slump against lefties.

It worked.

Amezaga singled in the go-ahead run off Brian Shouse in the 10th inning and Florida beat Milwaukee 9-6 Saturday night to extend the Brewers' losing streak to a season-high nine games.

"Everybody says I can't hit from the right side," he said. "But in a big situation is when it's pretty important."

Marlins manager Joe Girardi called it the biggest win all year after Joe Borowski (3-2) gave up Geoff Jenkins' tying two-run homer with two outs in the ninth. Taylor Tankersley pitched the 10th for his third save in five chances.

"They're very resilient. They have lots of character, lots of heart and lots of fight in them," Girardi said. "It tells you our guys believe."

Josh Willingham, Mike Jacobs and Hanley Ramirez homered for the Marlins, who have won 11 of 13 to pull within 1½ games of the NL wild card despite subpar pitching by starter Josh Johnson.

Seahawks Make Final Cuts



From Seahawks.com:

The Following Players Were Waived:

RB Jimmy Dixon
G William Henry
CB Kevin Hobbs
WR C.J. Jones
FB David Kirtman
QB Travis Lulay
LB Lance Laury
G Jason Murphy
WR Ben Obomanu
DE Robert Pollard
S Etric Pruitt
CB Gerard Ross
C Pat Ross
TE Leonard Stephens
WR Justin Surrency
DE John Syptak
RB Marquis Weeks
LB Cornelius Wortham

The Following Veteran Contracts Were Terminated:

TE Matt Murphy
WR Peter Warrick

Friday, September 01, 2006

Brewers Lose To Marlins 2-3



From Sportsline.com:

Anibal Sanchez picked a good time to throw the best game of his young career for the Florida Marlins.

Sanchez (6-2) threw seven strong innings Friday night, giving up just one run and five hits, while striking out a career-high seven, to lead the Marlins to a 3-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. The loss was Milwaukee's eighth straight.

The win was important for the Marlins, who had dropped two straight games after reeling off a nine-game winning streak that had pushed them back into the National League wild card race.

Making his 12th start, Sanchez did not give up a hit until Prince Fielder had a broken-bat single in the fourth. In his last five starts, he is 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA. Taylor Tankersley pitched a scoreless eighth inning and Joe Borowski gave up a solo homer to Laynce Nix before getting the final three outs for his 32nd save in 36 chances.

"I know I have to show that, because I want to make the rotation next year," Sanchez said. "I don't want to go back to the minor leagues."

Marlins manager Joe Girardi said Sanchez threw the best game of his career.

"It's got to be a pleasure to play behind him, and a pleasure to umpire behind him," Girardi said. "He goes out there and throws strikes."