Here is the lineup:
Clemens RHP (6-5, 4.15)
Pregame chatter: Yanks are facing Felix Hernandez (10-7, 4.08). … No word yet on Andy Phillips. … Clemens is still a go but Mike Mussina will be out in the bullpen ready to warm up, just in case.
Speaking of the Moose, Torre told us they’re trying to figure out a game for him to start in the next week. To me, that indicates a few possibilities:
— They’re unsure about how viable Phil Hughes is as a starter at this point.
— They’re worried about Clemens.
— Or they want insurance in case Ian Kennedy isn’t consistently good (as was the case with DeSalvo, Clippard, etc.).
Mussina has good numbers against Kansas City and could be worked into that series. The issue is that the team has days off on Thursday and Monday, so scheduling is tricky. But it wouldn’t be the worse thing to get the regular starters an extra day of rest at this point in the season.
Meanwhile, it’s funny how some people are upset that Torre sent Andy Pettitte out for the seventh inning yesterday. Pettitte had allowed two runs in the first six innings and asked to go back out. Pettitte also finished with 119 pitches, the exact same number he threw against Boston on Tuesday. What was the big deal?
If Pettitte does the job and the Yankees rally to win, Torre is smart for showing faith in his guy. But because they lost, he’s an idiot.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * BREAKING NEWS * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
UPDATE, 12:05 p.m.: Andy Phillips told us that he has a fractured right wrist, the result of getting hit by a pitch yesterday. He is about to be examined by a specialist. He is likely to be out for the remainder of the season.
It has been a bad 18 months or so for Phillips with everything that has happened to him. “It’s frustrating, very frustrating,” he said. “Just disappointing with the timing of it.”
The Yankees now have Jason Giambi as their every day first baseman with Wilson Betemit, Shelley Duncan and Doug Mientkiewicz backing him up.
UPDATE, 1:24 p.m.: The Yankees have taken an aggressive approach against King Felix, stealing two bases in the first inning. One led to a run. That’s the tactic they have to take, I think.
The Yankees have been outscored 117-97 in their last 19 games. They could stand to be a little more proactive.
Meanwhile, a cynic would say that the Yankees are better off with Jason Giambi at first base than Andy Phillips and that his injury is no big deal. Perhaps. But it would be stunning if Giambi can survive 25 games at first base without breaking down.
Giambi played only 68 games at first all last season. Don’t forget, the Yankees started the season intending never to use Giambi at first base. There was a reason for that. If he’s healthy, Giambi will get on base and produce. But his staying healthy is never a given.
Phillips is not a classic slugging first baseman. But he was hitting OK and playing solid defense. The Yankees made their run with him playing every day. His loss isn’t devastating but it’s significant. Given your choice, you want him or Wilson Betemit out there?
Betemit has been overmatched in the AL of late. He’s 3 of his last 30 with 13 strikeouts.
UPDATE, 1:48 p.m.: That’s 200 hits and 98 runs scored for the great Ichiro. He, Wade Boggs and Willie Keeler are the only players in history to collect 200 hits in seven consecutive seasons.
Ichiro probably won’t have the career numbers of other Hall of Famers when he retires because his Japanese stats don’t count. But to me, he’s a Hall of Fame player and would get my vote.
UPDATE, 2:14 p.m.: Mike Mussina is warming up. I think Clemens is done.
UPDATE, 2:15 p.m.: Here is some more information on Andy Phillips:
He has a fractured pisiform bone in his right wrist and will underdo surgery tomorrow. He is expected to miss 4-6 weeks, which is essentially the rest of the season.
UPDATE, 2:24 p.m.: This is the first regular-season relief appearance ever for Mike Mussina. He pitched in relief in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS.
UPDATE, 3:14 p.m.: Robinson Cano’s GIDP in the second inning really changed the tenor of this game offensively for the Yankees. They have had one hit since.
I’m sure there will be panic in the streets (or on the blog) if they lose this game. But with 24 games remaining, it’s a little too early for that. They still lead the wild card. But they need Chien-Ming Wang to be sharp tomorrow, that is for sure.
It comes back to pitching every time. Here is the line since the Red Sox series: 34 47 29 27 15 29 and nine home runs. When you pitch to a 7.15 ERA, you aren’t going to win.
UPDATE, 3:51 p.m.: Check this excellent story by Dan Shaughnessy of the Globe on Terry Francona and how he handles the
assorted nitwits Red Sox fans who give him a hard time.
I wouldn’t say Torre and Francona are best of friends by any means. But there’s a lot of mutual respect because each man deals with a lot of media and a hard-to-please fan base.
UPDATE, 4:00 p.m.: The contest is over. The Dumbest Post Of The Day has been chosen. Here it is:
At this point we should just tank the rest of the season. Time to give up on the playoffs and start to worry about next yearâ€™s draft. We can not win with all these overpaid, underachievers. Our only hope is to retool like the Marlins and get younger in hopes of competiting a few years from now.
Exactly right. Never mind that the Yankees lead the wild card and have the fifth-most wins in baseball, let’s tank the rest of the season. Furthermore, they should be more like the Marlin, who are 60-77.