RED SOX (52-37)
Justin Masterson (4-2, 3.75) has never faced any of the Yankees.
Notes: The Yankees have lost five of their last six and nine of their last 14. … The Yankees are 23-22 at Yankee Stadium with losses in seven of the last nine games. … The bullpen has been terrific over the last eight games (29.1 innings, 3 earned runs). … Bobby Abreu has 3 hits in his last 18 at-bats. … Robinson Cano’s last walk came on June 15. … Brett Gardner is 1 for 13 with two walks, four strikeouts. But he has stolen two bases and scored three runs. … Jose Veras since June 5: 15.1 12 1 1 8 14. … Edwar Ramirez (even I have to admit) has been pretty good lately: 6 1 0 0 1 8 over his last four appearances.
A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT TO MIKE MUSSINA: Manny Ramirez is 16 of 36 with six home runs and 14 RBI against you since 2004.
A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT TO THOSE YANKEE FANS ON THE LEDGE: The Yankees were 44-44 after 88 games last season and were 9.5 games out first place. They won 11 of their next games and never looked back.
Back later with updates.
UPDATE, 1:21 p.m.: No decision yet on whether Johnny Damon will go on the DL. That could come later today. … Your fourth OF at the moment? Wilson Betemit. … Jorge Posada is a little under the weather or otherwise might be playing first base.
UPDATE, 3:44 p.m.: The game is going to start on time as the skies are clear.
UPDATE, 3:50 p.m.: Joe Girardi didn’t provide much information on Johnny Damon. It seems like they could wait until tomorrow or Tuesday to decide whether he goes on the DL.
I skipped med school. But Damon had trouble taking his shirt off and could barely lift his arm above waist level without wincing. Playing baseball before the break seems unlikely. Brian Cashman indicated that if Damon was disabled, they would likely bring up a pitcher because of all the rain in the forecast.
UPDATE, 3:55 p.m.: The Stadium has been full of moths the last three days. Whatever it is moths do (hatch?), it must have just happened. The birds have shown up to eat the moths. So it’s like watching a National Geographic special from the press box.
UPDATE, 3:59 p.m.: Brett Gardner’s first big-league assist was a nice one as he gunned down Dustin Pedroia going to second. Saved them a run, too, as Drew followed with a double.
I hope Gardner hits because he’ll be a fun player to watch. The Yankees badly need some athletic players. They play like a slo-pitch softball team half the time.
Meanwhile, Brett called me “sir” today and I quickly put a stop to that. “Pete” is fine or “Hey, jackass” or whatever. But not “sir.” I’m not that old.
UPDATE, 4:04 p.m.: Hey, Moose hit Manny with a pitch with first base open. Atta boy, Mike. Beats a two-run homer.
UPDATE, 4:06 p.m.: It’s really not a complicated game. Don’t pitch to the guy who murders you and strike the next guy out. That Stanford education at work.
UPDATE, 4:29 p.m.: I am declaring this a Yankee victory. When The Big G scores from second on a single, that is one of the sure signs of impending victory.
So go out for dinner, enjoy a movie, take a nap. This game is over.
UPDATE, 4:38 p.m.: Who knows what will happen later on today or whether he will make the All-Star Game? But you really have to hand it to the Moose. He has a 3.75 ERA at the moment. Nobody, not even him, thought that would be the case on July 5.
I know people have an impression of him based on what they see on TV and his sometimes sarcastic answers. But Mike is a good guy who represents the team well, works with the young guys and works dilgently at being a good pitcher.
UPDATE, 4:58 p.m.: The Moose remains a genius as he hits Manny again.
Meanwhile, some guy in a Red Sox jersey is being hauled out of the upper deck by security (“Dudes, I was wickeed hammered,” he’ll tell his buddies Sully and O’C later.) So of course everybody stands up to watch. Never mind that Mussina is pitching to J.D. Drew in a 1-0 game.
It’s like passing a car accident. You don’t want to slow down and look. You know it’s silly. But you still do it.
UPDATE, 5:43 p.m.: Incredible work by the Moose so far. 6 4 0 0 1 5. Be nice if they get him another run or two to work with. That doesn’t seem like too much to ask.
Jose Veras warming up. But I would think Moose at least starts the seventh. He’s not to 90 yet.
UPDATE, 5:51 p.m.: Here is why you can’t all fired up over HBP stats (which some people do). There have been five HBPs today and not one of them was intentional.
UPDATE, 5:53 p.m.: Nice professional at-bat by Gardner. Get to 2-1 and drives in the run. Patient, good compact swing, didn’t try to do too much with the pitch. 2-0 Yankees.
UPDATE, 5:55 p.m.: Veras for Moose. No idea whether Moose wanted to continue, but he was only at 89 pitches. The next three Boston hitters are 0 for 6 against him today.
How do you take a guy out who has a four-hit shutout going in a game you really need to win? Joe Torre does that and people would be marching on the Stadium with torches and pitchforks.
UPDATE, 6:02 p.m.: But wait, Joe Girardi is a genius! Veras has allowed one run in his last 16.1 innings. Very impressive. Maybe something is wrong with Mussina.
Krazy Kyle and Mo are next.
UPDATE, 6:21 p.m.: Krazy Kyle came out to Taking Care of Business. Yeah, that makes sense.
UPDATE, 6:28 p.m.: Catchers are like offensive linemen, they earn every dime they make. Molina is lucky he wears that helmet-type mask. That ball caught him flush on the side of it.
UPDATE, 6:45 p.m.: Now this isn’t what anybody expected. That was the first run Rivera has allowed in a save situation this season.
UPDATE, 6:48 p.m.: That’s seven HBPs in this game. Amazing. None of them intentional, either.
Mariano has no control. It’ll take a break for him to get the save here.
UPDATE, 6:54 p.m.: Wow, great game. 2-1 Yankees. Win. No. 261 for Moose.