Notes: The Yankees start the day 7.5 games out of first in the division and four games behind in the wild card. … They are 2-4 on the road trip, having been outscored 41-28. … The Yankees are trying to salvage the last game of the series, having been outscored 21-9 in the first two games. … So it seems Pettitte has a personal catcher, too.
BILLY TRABER IS HERE: No word yet on who is out. Robertson maybe, Kennedy probably. After all, Girardi did say he was in the rotation yesterday.
WHO’S HOT: Johnny Damon is 11 of 28 on the road trip. He has hit safely in 10 straight and 15 of the last 16 games… Xavier Nady has a 10-game hit streak. He is 18 of his last 42 (.428) with five homers and 13 RBI over 12 games.
WHO’S NOT: A-Rod is 2 for 20 on the trip, the two hits being solo homers. … Dave Robertson had allowed 11 runs on 10 hits in his last five innings.
LONG TIME, NO SEE: The Yankees have not faced Saunders since 2006, his second year in the majors. He was 1-1, 10.80 in two starts against the Yankees that season. Saunders has gotten a lot better since then.
ANDY NOT SO DANDY: Pettitte’s last two starts: 10.1 innings, 17 hits, 14 earned runs, 6 walks, 9 strikeouts, 3 homer. He faced the Angels on July 31 and allowed nine runs on 11 hits in 5.1 innings.
STAY AWAY FROM THE ANGELS: The Angels cut Edwar Ramirez twice. They have since enjoyed facing him. In four career appearances against the Angels, Ramirez has allowed 12 hits and 11 earned runs in 4.1 innings. Three of the 12 hits are homers.
SEE YA: The Yankees have hit at least one homer in eight straight games, 16 in all.
FEELING MINNESOTA: The Yankees leave after the game for Minneapolis and part three of their road trip.
Back later with updates.
UPDATE, 3:05 p.m.: In stunning news Ian Kennedy has been optioned down to AAA Scranton. No word yet on who starts Wednesday.
Joe Girardi played “I’ve Got A Secret” and wouldn’t reveal the move until 2:45 p.m. The reason given was they wanted Kennedy to focus on throwing a good bullpen.
But Kennedy isn’t an idiot. He knew the score when Billy Traber walked in the clubhouse this morning. “I kind of had a feeling,” he said.
Kennedy was sent down with instructions to work on his pitching, not work on throwing seven shutout innings. He has proven he can win in the International League. He need to work on specific things now like his two-seamer and curveball.
Kennedy also apologized for his comments the other day, saying it didn’t come out the way he wanted. Several players, including Andy Pettitte, spoke to him about how better to express himself in the future.
I’ll post his quotes when I get a chance to transcribe them.
UPDATE, 3:53 p.m.: Two runs are great. But once again they had a chance to step on the neck of a starter and let him up. This team has lacked that instinct all season.
UPDATE, 4:32 p.m.: Andy is very out of sorts on the mound. That comebacker Figgins hits is a ball he fields cleanly usually. Then the balk, which was just weird. He’s lucky Sexson stopped the ball.
The Yankees will regret the first inning as Saunders seems to be settling into a groove.
I’d say there’s a 75-80 percent chance that Pettitte will skip his next start or be pushed back a few days. He has allowed 23 hits in his last 13.1 innings. That’s not normal.
UPDATE, 5:04 p.m.: The Yankees are 2 for 10 with RISP already. That’s a hideous 12 for 57 on the trip.
UPDATE, 5:24 p.m.: Big inning for Pettitte here. He’s at 77 pitches. He needs a nice tidy inning that can get him into the seventh.
UPDATE, 5:30 p.m.: And there you have it, a nice eight-pitch inning. The big lefty has pretty much survived nine hits, a walk and a balk.
UPDATE, 5:49 p.m.: Nice job by Pettitte today. Three runs over seven innings against the Angels is good work, especially when you give up 10 hits.
UPDATE, 5:56 p.m.: Whether A-Rod was safe or not doesn’t matter. Why in the world do you steal third with one out and Xavier Nady up? Nady is 20 of his last 52 with 13 RBI. Sure, you can get in position for a sacrifice fly. But stealing third is a heck of a risk.
The Yankees are a poor situational hitting team. Running into outs as eagerly as they do doesn’t help matters.
UPDATE, 5:59 p.m.: Pettitte is coming back out. That’s a big risk.
UPDATE, 6:02 p.m.: And Teixeira draws a lead-off walk. One batter too many for Andy.
Tough spot here for Marte with Vlad Guerrero and Torii Hunter up. Frankie Rodriguez warming up. The Yankees are staring at getting swept here.
UPDATE, 6:13 p.m.: Nice job by Marte. Who do you trust out of the bullpen next? Outside of Mariano, it’s a tough call.
UPDATE, 6:26 p.m.: Turns out there is no call, it’s Marte. Better him than any of the rest. I think you save Mo for the lead, especially against this team.
UPDATE, 6:34 p.m.: Good move by Girardi. Bring anybody else in and the game is over. If you’re going to get beat, get beat with the best guy on the mound.
Plus Mo is rested and can easily go 1.2 innings.
UPDATE, 6:37 p.m.: Seeing-eye grounder, ballgame. The Yankees can’t catch a break against this team.
8.5 back in the division with 44 left to play? It’s not impossible but it’s highly unlikely. It’s all about the wild card now. Still only four out there.