Notes: Thanks to Mike Dougherty for calling in the lineup. … Don’t be too deceived by Sir Sidney’s record. He has a 5.44 ERA in his last six starts (46.1 innings, 65 hits, 19 walks, .887 OPS against). He faced the Rays on May 26 and allowed five runs on 12 hits over five innings. Joe Girardi said yesterday, however, that Ponson “is one of our starters” and didn’t necessarily need to pitch well today to keep his spot. … The Yankees are 4-4 on their homestand, which ends today.
In case you missed it (and shame on you if you did) the Yankees will be giving away fake mustaches today in support of Jason Giambi’s All-Star candidacy. You have until tomorrow at 5 p.m. to vote. Click the widget over to the right.
SOMETHING’S GOING ON AROUND HERE: This marks the fifth straight game Jose Molina has caught. Jorge Posada hasn’t caught since Thursday. Girardi claimed yesterday that Posada’s shoulder is fine and improving and that he just wants Molina in the lineup.
Molina is a terrific catcher and controlling Tampa’s running game is a good idea. With Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui out, DH’ing Posada makes sense. But it’s getting a little hard to believe that Posada is fine given that he hasn’t been behind the plate for six days.
Back later with updates.
UPDATE 12:36 p.m.: Girardi acknowledged that as usual, Molina will catch Mike Mussina tomorrow. So that will be a full week for Posada not catching. If he doesn’t catch on Friday, we’ll know something is up.
Meanwhile, one of the Steinbrenner brothers held a closed-door meeting with Girardi and Brian Cashman this morning. But – surprise! – it was Hal Steinbrenner.
Said Girardi: “We have these bi-weekly talks when weâ€™re at home, and we just stated how weâ€™re doing and what weâ€™re doing. Thereâ€™s nothing magical in that room. We just talk about the club and all the players.
“Halâ€™s been the gentleman thatâ€™s come down with Brian, and weâ€™ve had nice talks. I think we did it two weeks ago in the office. Maybe it was three weeks ago, but we try to do it on a regular basis. Sometimes Iâ€™ll go upstairs if Halâ€™s out of town weâ€™ll do it on a conference call.
“Itâ€™s very much a discussion. Heâ€™s great. Iâ€™ve enjoyed it. We just talk about our club and how weâ€™re doing and things we need to do to improve.
I donâ€™t know if it was Halâ€™s idea or Cashâ€™s idea, but itâ€™s something thatâ€™s kind of taken place since spring training.”
Hmm, very interesting. So much for the idea that Hank is running baseball and Hal the business side. It would seem that Hal is quite involved with the baseball.
UPDATE, 12:43 p.m.: Hideki Matsui is heading to Tampa later today or tomorrow to continue his rehab. Brian Bruney will move up to Trenton this weekend and needs at least one more game before heâ€™s activated. Looks like we could see him after the break. Does that spell the end for LaTroy Hawkins or would they option out Giese or Robertson?
UPDATE ON DON MATTINGLY: Word out of sunny California is that Donnie Baseball will join the Dodgers as their hitting coach after the break. That was originally the plan before some family issues forced a change.
Oh, and the Dodgers are a game out of first despite assorted injuries and underachievers. Seems Joe Torre knows how to manage.
(3 … 2…. 1… Cue the Torre haters. “The division stinks. It has nothing to do with him.” Of course. We know, it’s a complete coincidence that’s been happening since 1996. It’ll drive people crazy if the Dodgers make the playoffs.)
UPDATE ON BOB SHEPPARD: The Star-Ledger is reporting that Mr. Sheppard will not work the All-Star game. That is a shame.
Enjoy the game.
UPDATE, 1:23 p.m.: Fittingly, Giambi drives in a run. So go vote for him.
UPDATE, 1:53 p.m.: Sir Sidney is dealing. Dave Eiland said yesterday that they had ironed out a mechanical issue that was leaving his pitches flat. It seems to have worked.
UPDATE, 3:13 p.m.: Given that Sidney Ponson and Jose Veras have held the mighty Rays to one run over seven innings, the Yankees might want to score a run or two here, no?
Meanwhile the Rays have one run in 16 innings in this series.
UPDATE, 3:53 p.m.: Well, 1-1 in the bottom of the ninth. Win the game and hit the road. That’s the plan.
UPDATE, 3:57 p.m.: Cano can’t bunt. Does this makes sense?
UPDATE, 3:59 p.m.: Hey, look at that, Cano finally got a bunt down. Now it’s in the hands of Melky and Molina. Or Melky and Betemit.
UPDATE, 4:08 p.m.: The Yankees 1 for 10 with RISP. Just brutal. But that’s what they do. Now Posada is out and the bench is Betemit and Moeller.
UPDATE, 4:16 p.m.: It would seem Mo has solved that little issue of not pitching lights out in non-save situations. I predict Brett Gardner will ground out to second but be awarded first because he is such a grinder and so scrappy. Then he will steal second, third and home to win the game.
UPDATE, 4:28 p.m.: Slumping Bobby Abreu has done it, driving in the Captain with a double. Another impressively pitched game for the Yankees.
That’s a grand total of one run on nine hits in 19 innings for the Rays in two games in the Bronx. They advanced four runners past second in the series.
See you in September.