Notes: The Yankees have split 10 games with the Rays. … The Yanks are 3-4 on their homestand and 25-22 at home. … Abreu has 3 hits in his last 25 at-bats and is down to .272. .. A-Rod is 7 of 17 with six RBI and seven runs scored since the whole Madonna/divorce mess started. Now that’s focus. … Giambi is 0 of his last 11. … Cano is 9 of his last 23. … Good move using Molina to control the Tampa running game. … Shameless plug alert: I’ll be on SportsCenter tonight before the game.
Back later with lots of updates.
SUPPORT THE ‘STACHE UPDATE: The Yankees will hand out 18,000 fake mustaches to fans tomorrow. I asked Girardi if he would wear a mustache tomorrow in support of TBG and he didn’t say he wouldn’t. That would be fantastic, even if he just did it briefly.
UPDATE, 4:20 p.m.: Lots to catch you up on … The rotation for the rest of the week is Ponson (Rays), Moose (Pirates) then Joba, Rasner and Pettitte against the Jays. … Johnny Damon is down in Tampa working on his rehab. … Girardi said just now that he expects Hughes to pitch in the majors in September, which is different than what Brian Cashman has been saying. Of course in general Cashman is always more a pessimist and Girardi an optimist.
JOE GIRARDI PRE-GAME AUDIO: Here’s Girardi talking about the lineup, Matsui, Hughes and even … Carl Pavano. Stop the insanity!
UPDATE: 5:53 p.m.: Hideki Matsui hit off a tee today in the cage, which is a good sign as he starts to return. The question is whether his left knee can handle the workload. If it becomes swollen again, surgery may be the only option.
UPDATE, 6:04 p.m.: Matsui took 45 swings. “I felt pretty good, no pain. I hope to keep going in a positive direction,” he told a team spokesman.
Thanks to Kim for being a trooper. We also snapped a photo of Tyler Kepner of the Times in the fake mustache but, let’s be honest, we’d all rather see Kim.
UPDATE, 6:42 p.m.: Rich Harden to the Cubs in a six-player deal. Details to come.
UPDATE, 6:50 p.m.: Harden and Chad Gaudin to the Cubs for Sean Gallagher, Matt Murton, Eric Patterson and Josh Donaldson.
UPDATE, 7:33 p.m.: Kazmir is overmatching the Yankees at this point. The lefty/righty lineup thing doesn’t matter much with a guy like him. That trade keeps getting worse for the Mets, doesn’t it?
UPDATE, 7:47 p.m.: Jose Molina has 14 doubles, three away from matching his career high of 17 (2006). He is sixth on the team in doubles which is amazing when you consider that he’s not an everday play and he can’t really run.
UPDATE, 7:52 p.m.: Just when you think he’s out, Derek Jeter pulls you back in. Just some more clutchiness from the captain. In a game like this, that is a huge, huge hit.
UPDATE, 7:55 p.m.: Tremendous throw by B.J. Upton. Bobby Meacham is an aggressive third-base coach. With two outs, it’s not a bad risk. But with A-Rod on deck? That’s why coaching third is a tough job.
You know how it works, Alex will lead off the next inning with a single.
UPDATE, 8:02 p.m.: Just posted Girardi’s pre-game audio if you’re interested. In the interest of keeping things in order, it’s further up in this post.
UPDATE, 8:21 p.m.: Big Game Andy Pettitte is really dealing. 5 2 0 0 0 3. 67 pitches / 48 strikes.
UPDATE, 8:28 p.m.: Brett Gardner. Pesky, scrappy, Ecksteinish (Ecksteiny? Ecksteinesque?). He’s making things happen.
(I am not a big believer in scrappy. I’m a big believer in doubles in the gap. But people will totally fall head over heels for this guy if he plays even remotely well. It will be a tri-state crush of the highest proportions.)
UPDATE, 9:03 p.m.: Evan Longoria has struck out twice and is 0 for 3. How in the world could anybody vote or him instead of The Big G? Giambi hasn’t made an out all night.
UPDATE, 9:06 p.m.: No range, huh? Reports of the Captain’s demise seem premature.
UPDATE, 9:20 p.m.: I always try and read Baseball Musings at least once a day because David Pinto is a smart guy.
He made this great point tonight:
If you want to know what’s wrong with the Yankees this year, look at the OBAs of the starting lineup this evening. Only two players have OBAs over .350. It used to be that the Yankees might have one player under .350. The bottom four in the order are all under .300. Giambi is out due to a lefty on the mound, and Damon and Matsui are hurt, but this lineup makes clear the lack of depth on the team.
UPDATE, 9:24 p.m.: You go to Mariano because that is what you do. But if it were 4-0, you’d have to give consideration to letting Andy finish off his gem even though he is at 114 pitches. He threw only 89 in his last start. What a well-pitched game. He has allowed four hits, one of them on a bad hop. Three of Tampa Bay’s hits have come with two outs.
UPDATE, 9:28 p.m.: Mo is warming up.
In the big scheme of things, one loss means nothing to Tampa Bay. They came in 22 games over .500. But getting shut down by the Yankees here could plant a little seed of doubt in their minds.
Of course that would mean more if somebody other than Sidney Ponson was taking the mound tomorrow.
UPDATE, 9:32 p.m.: Hmm, no save situation now. Relievers hate warming up and not coming in (“dry humped” is the baseball term), so maybe Mo will still pitch. But if it gets to 6-0 what then?
UPDATE, 9:39 p.m.: Edwar Ramirez warming up. Dry hump for Mo. But it’s the smart play, what if you need him the next two or three days? You can’t waste him in a 4-0 game.
UPDATE, 9:46 p.m.: It doesn’t much matter tonight. But Bobby “Wave ‘Em In” Meacham is going to cost the Yankees a game one of these days. Sending Jorge Posada from second on Gomes? I thought this staff was all about preparation?
If George Steinbrenner had any say, he’d send him to Columbus like the old days.
UPDATE, 9:52 p.m.: 5-0 and 11 hits. Impressive win for the Yankees.