Here is the lineup:
Mussina RHP (9-10, 5.28)
Pregame chatter: Yankees are facing RHP Jon Leicester (2-1, 6.32). … Big start for the Moose as he tries to keep himself in play for a spot on the postseason roster. He’s also looking to win at least 10 games for the 16th straight season. … The Yankees are 21-31 in games decided by one or two runs. … Jeter is hitting .433 with runners in scoring position and two outs. … The bullpen has a 7.98 ERA in the last five games. … Mariano Rivera, Kyle Farnsworth and Luis Vizcaino are likely unavailable tonight. Would they use Joba Chamberlain to close? That’ll be a question to ask before the game. I’ll report back.
Other games of interest:
Boston (Lester) at Toronto (Burnett), 7:05
Detroit (Verlander) at Cleveland (Westbrook), 7:05
Rays (Hammel) at Angels (Lackey), 10:05
UPDATE, 6:00 p.m.: My mistake before, Joba is not available. I forgot he went two on Sunday. The bullpen tonight is Ramirez, Bruney, Veras, Ohlendorf, etc. Joe seems pretty determined not to wear out the regulars.
Meanwhile, Jason Giambi’s right foot is sore after getting hit by a pitch on Monday night. He was going to play first base otherwise.
The rotation for Toronto: Wang, Kennedy, Clemens and Hughes.
Johnny Damon will probably get a day off tomorrow assuming Giambi is ready to go.
Andy Phillips was here and wants to spend the rest of the season with the team. He already has the cast off his wrist and will start exercises on Friday.
UPDATE, 6:33 p.m.: Here is the lineup the Red Sox are running out there tonight: Ellsbury 8, Pedroia 4, Ortiz DH, Lowell 5, Drew 9, Hinske 3, Varitek 2, Moss 7, Lugo 6, Lester 1.
That’s Brandon Moss. Not Randy. Crisp (back), Youkilis (wrist) and Ramirez (oblique) are all out.
If you’re interested in following Boston as it tries to avoid an epic collapse, check out the Extra Bases blog on Boston.com.
UPDATE, 7:31 p.m.: The song before Matsui’s first at-bat was “I’m Too Sexy For My Shirt” by Right Said Fred. I can’t imagine he chose that, but if he did that’s hilarious.
Meanwhile, nicest guy in the world Andy Phillips was in the clubhouse before the game. He had his right wrist operated on earlier this month and is out for the season. He hopes to spend the rest of the season with the team. “I’m lobbying to go on the road trip,” he said. “I just want to be a part of it.” Tell you what, the Yankees might not be where they are today without the lift Phillips gave them in July.
UPDATE, 7:46 p.m.: This guy in the Mike Mussina uniform is dealing.
UPDATE, 8:11 p.m.: Here is Joe Torre’s pregame media session:
UPDATE, 8:20 p.m.: Doug Mientkiewicz does it again. That’s four hits and five RBI in the last three games. He’s gotten on base six times in nine PAs, which includes a sacrifice.
He’s on the postseason roster at this point, no doubt about it.
UPDATE, 8:33 p.m.: That’s now 11.2 consecutive scoreless innings for the Moose.
It’s amazing. Back at the end of August, Mussina and Mientkiewicz looked like spare parts. Now they’re playing their way into the postseason.
UPDATE, 9:02 p.m.: That was the Melkman’s first RBI since Sept. 5. But he remains in a horrific slump (1 for 29 including 0 for his last 16).
UPDATE, 9:31 p.m.: The Moose’s last two starts: 12.2 8 0 0 4 7. He’s pitching better than Phil Hughes at the moment and I just can’t see them choosing Ian Kennedy over him. Moose has 22 postseason appearances. If you don’t think that will influence Joe Torre, you aren’t paying attention. I think what they do is start Moose in Game 4 and have him on a short leash with one of the kids ready to go behind him.
Postseason rotation: Wang, Pettitte, Clemens, Moose
Pen: Rivera, Viz, Chamberlain, Farnsworth, Hughes or Kennedy, Ramirez, TBD.
UPDATE, 9:47 p.m.: In the who can choke the most contest, the Mets are giving the Red Sox a run for their money. But this would be a true, true collapse for Boston. Looks like Brian Cashman knew what he was doing when he kept Ian Kennedy and passed on Gagne.
Torre just subbed in everybody. Betemit, Sardinha, the Attorney General, Molina, etc.
UPDATE, 10:05 p.m.: The crowd cheered loudly when they posted the Boston score. They’re showing it again now to the tune of Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey.