Here is the lineup:
Pregame chatter: Yankees are facing Jason Hammel (2-5, 5.88). … A win would clinch the wild card for the Yankees. … The Yankees are 15-6 this month and 47-23 since break. … Could Ross Ohlendorf challenge Edwar Ramirez for a spot on the postseason roster? Ramirez has allowed five runs in the his last 2.1 innings, Ohlendorf has allowed one run in 3.2 innings and fanned six.
UPDATE, 6:46 p.m.: Clemens will probably not pitch again before the playoffs. But he seems optimistic that he will be ready to start a game in the first round. He threw off a mound yesterday. “We have the ability to play it safe,” Brian Cashman said.
A few other notes: They will celebrate tonight with a win. … No Viz today. … Torre wants to see Edwar Ramirez in a game soon as they have corrected a mechanical flaw. He was opening his front shoulder and his control was a mess as a result. … George Steinbrenner is expected in the house today and he, Torre and Cashman could get together at Legends Field tomorrow. … Once they clinch, Torre said he plans to get Jeter, A-Rod, Cano and others some days off. … Joba will get a chance to go back-to-back days this week. … Ian Kennedy’s back spasms seem to be on the move, which is a good sign. But he’s effectively shut down.
UPDATE, 7:00 p.m.: This is my favorite e-mail of the day. Thanks to Kathy in Rochester:
My son (who just turned 10) scratched his cornea last night playing outside (he is fine) so today his eye is blurry from the medicine. When I told him tonight that Igawa was in for Rocket, his response was “good thing I can only see out of one eye” Thats my boy!
I sense faith in the K-Man is not high. But perhaps he will surprise us.
UPDATE, 7:26 p.m.: That was a huge wasted opportunity there for the Yankees. With these downtrodden teams, you have to try and end the night early. They scored a run but that could have been two or three or more.
UPDATE, 7:33 p.m.: 1-0 lead, walk two of the first two batters. Excellent start by Igawa. Hold on tight, this is going to be a long night.
UPDATE, 8:05 p.m.: That ball hit the second catwalk above left field. It was the third slam of the season and 16th of his career. A-Rod now has 53 homers and 151 RBI. He had gone 55 at-bats without a home run, his longest stretch of the season.
If they go on to win, it’ll be fitting if A-Rod has the big hit given the season he has had.
UPDATE, 8:48 p.m.: Igawa is on pace to throw 176 pitches and walk 11. But he is throwing a shutout. If he gives them 5 innings and Tampa Bay doesn’t score, he’ll have done his job.
UPDATE, 9:25 p.m.: Have we finally seen enough of Edwar Ramirez? The one-trick pony seems to be fading. Ross Ohlendorf has to be under serious consideration.
UPDATE, 9:36 p.m.: What a travesty. Edwar Ramirez and Brian Bruney – the darlings of the stat geeks – walk four and give up two hits to lose the lead in one inning. Well, they were each released before. They won’t be surprised when it happens again after the season. The Yankees would be crazy to put either of them on the postseason roster.
All that said, the Yankees will win this game 9-7.
UPDATE, 10:34 p.m.: Boston has won, so a loss tonight pretty much would cook the Yankees in terms of the division. Now we’ll see if Al Reyes can be as bad as he was against Boston over the weekend.
UPDATE, 11:01 p.m.: The Yankees have walked 11. That’s 11 Devil Rays. I think next season I’m going to ask to get paid by the number of pitches seen.