Here are the lineups:
Pettitte LHP (11-7, 3.69)
Matsuzaka RHP (13-10, 3.76)
Pregame chatter: The Yankees are 5-7 against the Red Sox this season but have won three of the last four meetings. The teams haven’t played since June 3. … Yankees hold a 16-15 series edge over the last two seasons. … Ron Guidry, who firmly believes in the power of comebacks, turns 57 today.
UPDATE, 3:41 p.m.: At long last, our national nightmare is over. RHP Chris Britton has been called up from Scranton. LHP Sean Henn was optioned back.
I know his parents sometime read this blog. So, hey, Mom and Dad Britton, your boy is in the Bronx and ready to pitch.
UPDATE, 3:47 p.m.: Blog regulars, do me a favor, please ignore the Red Sox trolls this week. Just ignore them. Don’t answer back, don’t make fun of them, don’t fight with them, just ignore them.
I really don’t want the blog to get dumbed down for three days.
UPDATE, 5:49 p.m.: As I expected, there was no announcement on Mike Mussina and/or Saturday’s starter. Torre claimed there had to be a meeting with Mussina first. But I get the impression they know what they want to do and they’re giving Mussina the courtesy of telling him first.
But here is what I recorded:
I didn’t record a few minutes at the end. Gordon Edes of the Globe asked Torre how he viewed David Ortiz given that Ortiz has only 24 homers this season.
“He still scares the (bleep) out of me,” Torre said.
UPDATE, 7:27 p.m.: Huge hit by Jorge Posada. Had the Red Sox gotten out of bases loaded and one out with one run, that’s a moral victory. But a crooked number is a victory for the Yankees. Matsuzaka is shaky and piling up the pitches.
UPDATE, 8:01 p.m.: Youkilis is such a tough out, grinding out 11 pitches off Pettitte. That walk is essentially an RBI because it gave Ortiz a chance to hit a sac fly. Youkilis and Pedroia give the Red Sox a lot of grit.
Melky has a chance to be a heck of a center fielder in some ways he already is. But he had to cut the ball off by Lugo and hold him do a double.
UPDATE, 8:48 p.m.: Sorry for the lack of updates. Had two stories to finish before starting on the game story. Both starters are pitching very well, obviously. Matsuzaka has settled down since the first inning and Pettitte is making big pitches with men on base.
UPDATE, 8:52 p.m.: Jeter was 0 for his last 14 and 8 of his last 54 before that home run. The man knows how to pick his spots.
UPDATE, 9:03 p.m.: There are guys who throw harder or who have sharper breaking pitches. But in a big spot against a good team, there’s not many guys who shoulder the burden better than Andy Pettitte.
I would suspect Andy is batter to batter in the seventh with Vizcaino ready, Joba in the eighth and Mo in the ninth. Andy is at 103 pitches.
They need to get Matsuzaka to 90 pitches this inning. He’s only at 76.
UPDATE, 9:30 p.m.: Is Wilson Betemit actually faster than Andy Phillips? I guess so.
UPDATE, 9:32 p.m.: I guess it doesn’t matter how fast Betemit is. Johnny Damon has had a bad season, no question. But he’s been hitting for the last month, he’s healthy and he’s one of their best nine players. I suspect we’re going to see a lot of Matsui as the DH and Damon in left down the stretch.
UPDATE, 9:34 p.m.: Joba time. Him against David Ortiz … oh, doctor.
UPDATE, 9:49 p.m.: Daisuke Matsuzaka in three starts against the Yankees this season: 19.1 19 15 15 8 16. That’s a 6.98 ERA.
He’s good, real good actually. But he’s a good No. 2. He’s not going to change the game as we know it and all the rest of it. That’s a lot of money for a guy who’s a good No. 2.
UPDATE, 10:04 p.m.: Chamberlain threw a filthy slider to J.D. Drew on 3-2 and Nancy had no chance. But credit Posada for that inning. The kid was jumping out of his shoes and the wise old catcher calmed him down and got him into the right sequences.
Ortiz bailed them out by swinging at the first pitch, too.
Chamberlain is going to give up some runs and probably sometime soon. But he’s got a chance to be a heck of a starter because he has enough pitches.
Now, and there can be no discussion here, you go to Mariano Rivera. With 30 games left to play and a playoff berth to be won, you don’t create a mess over who is the closer. Besides, if Mariano isn’t good enough to finish this game, you may as well call it quits. He’s the closer, this is a save situation, he’s rested, case closed.