A. Rodriguez 3B
I. Rodriguez C
Notes: The Yankees have won two straight and five of their last seven. … They remain 10.5 out in the division and six out in the wild card. … The Yankees have not finished 10 or more games out of first place since 1992 when they were 76-86 and finished 20 games behind the Blue Jays. … Roy Halladay goes tomorrow for Toronto against Andy Pettitte.
A-ROD IN AUGUST: Alex Rodriguez is 23 of 95 this month (.242) with five homers and 14 RBI. He has grounded into 10 double plays and struck out 29 times.
G.O.A.T (GREATEST OF ALL TIME): Mariano Rivera has allowed one hit and no runs in his last 8.2 innings. He has walked one and struck out seven.
WELCOME BACK: Now that he has recovered from the injury to his elbow (shhh), Damaso Marte has thrown three scoreless innings in his last four outings. He hasn’t allowed a hit.
ROUGHED-UP RASNER: Rasner is 1-5, 6.22 in his last 11 games. In 55 innings he has allowed 77 hits (10 HR) and 21 walks.
OUT OF SIGHT: Wilson Betemit has one at-bat since Aug. 17.
VERAS VERY BAD: Jose Veras in his last nine appearances: 8 innings, 12 hits, 8 runs, 8 earned runs, 5 walks, 9 strikeouts, 2 home runs.
RACE IS ON: The team leaders in RBI are Abreu (82), Giambi (82) and A-Rod (79).
Back later with updates.
* * * * * * JOBA CHAMBERLAIN UPDATE, 11:59 a.m. * * * * * *
Joba threw 35 pitches off the mound this morning to Brett Gardner and Cody Ransom. There were no breaks, 35 pitches straight through.
No swings were allowed until after 10 pitches. Neither batter had a hit. Joba had poor control out of the wind but when he missed, he missed low.
He threw two curveballs for strikes, one beauty to Gardner on his 30th pitch. To my semi-educated eye, he looked like he needed some more work because of the rust. Another bullpen session could fix that.
Joe Girardi, of course, revealed nothing about what Chamberlain will do next. Joba said he’s ready to be activated. All Girardi would say is that Joba would be going on the road trip. So if nothing else, we know he’s probably not headed to Scranton or Trenton any time soon.
I’ll upload some Joba audio later on. He and I chatted a little bit after the cameras were off. I asked him whether he could come back and be himself on the mound, challenging hitters with his fastball and being aggressive. “You know me,” he said. “I’m going to let it eat.”
UPDATE, 12:47 p.m.: Here is Joba Chamberlain’s interview after he threw BP:
UPDATE, 1:15 p.m.: Great note from the Yankees today in the pre-game notes (via the Elias Sports Bureau): Carl Pavano went 1,221 days between victories at Yankee Stadium. The last Yankees pitcher to go so many days between wins while pitching for no other big league team in the interim was Tommy Byrne, who went 1,751 days between wins from 1943-1948.
Byrne’s reason? He was fighting World War II.
The Idle, he’s historic.
UPDATE, 1:21 p.m.: Sweet catch for Vernon Wells. He went a long way for that ball.
UPDATE, 1:12 p.m.: They’re stopping the game to present Alex with the ball for getting a hit with a runner in scoring position. It’s a very touching cermony. Mayor Bloomberg gave him a key to the city, Challenger the Eagle is soaring across the field and the Harlem Boys Choir is singing.
UPDATE, 1:29 p.m.: And Giambi comes through as well. Amazing. I wonder how often those two have had back-to-back hits with RISP? Not often enough, that’s for sure.
2-0 Yankees and Rasner didn’t up a run in the first inning like he usually does. Looks good so far.
UPDATE, 1:43 p.m.: The Artist Formerly Known As Pudge Rodriguez has 5 hits in his last 38 at-bats and is hitless in the last 10.
UPDATE, 1:51 p.m.: Darrell Rasner has faced 10 hitters through 3 innings. 26 pitches/22 strikes
UPDATE, 2:08 p.m.: And Darrell Rasner is back. Alex Rios rolls a single into left and Vernonm Wells drops a ball onto the net above the retired numbers beyond the fence in left. Now it’s 2-2.
Rasner has allowed 11 HR in his last 59 innings.
UPDATE, 2:14 p.m.: Now this is funny. Johnny Damon caught a fly ball to end the inning. As he always does, he turned to throw the ball into the bleachers. But his throw was short and hit the black-and-orange Canon sign on the front of the stands.
The fans out there booed ad Damon threw his hands up. Just a guess, he’ll bring a ball out there next inning and make it up to them.
I’m sure many of you know this. But Johnny is great with fans, especially kids. He’s a tremendous guy and he plays hard every day.
UPDATE, 2:19 p.m.: Cano goes the short way, dumps one over the fence in right and it’s 3-2 Yankees.
UPDATE, 2:20 p.m.: Hey everybody, it’s Pudge Rodriguez. He jacks one over the fence in left and the Yankees lead 4-2.
He has seven on the season (really?) and two for the Yankees. Both his pinstriped RBI have come on solo homers.
It’s the 10th time the Bombers have gone back-to-back (and belly-to-belly).
UPDATE, 2:29 p.m.: 1-2-3 inning for Rasner. That’s what he needed. If they can get two more innings out of him, he’ll have done better than they could have hoped.
UPDATE, 2:42 p.m.: Bases loaded, one out, up 4-2. This is where you need to drive a stake into the heart of the Blue Jays. This will be an interesting at-bat for Xavier Nady.
UPDATE, 2:43 p.m.: And he fouls out to first base. Up to Godzilla with two outs now. He needs a hit badly, he’s been struggling since coming off the DL.
UPDATE, 2:47 p.m.: And Matsui rips one into the right-field corner for a double. Big hit for him and the Yankees. Gets ahead in the count, keeps his hands back and gets a fastball he can drive. The man knows his business.
UPDATE, 2:29 p.m.: The Met Life Countdown continues to be a letdown. The lever today was pulled by two people who were described as “loyal fans at Yankee Stadium for many years.” No names were on the scoreboard. Apparently one of the women is blind and has come to the Stadium for many years. That’s nice to recognize her. But how about explaining it better?
How can a team with as much tradition as the Yankees have botched this thing so badly? It’s really quite simple. You make a list of the games, the dates and what number will be on the countdown. You then figure out what retired players either wore that number or did something significant on that day.
You fly that player in, let him pull the lever, the fans enjoy seeing him and then that guy tells everybody how great the Stadium was. Everybody’s happy. It becomes a special moment every day.
Instead it’s been a series of people nobody knows, YES announcers or insurance company executives. Only once in a while is it a former player or celebrity and that’s only because that person happened to be at the park that day.
I know I rant about this all the time. But I really hoped that this final season at the Stadium would be a lot like what the Cardinals did at Busch Stadium, something cool every day. Instead it has been just another year at the ballpark outside of the All-Star Game.
Thousands of people came to the ballpark today for the last time. They deserved something special.
UPDATE, 3:18 p.m.: Man, Cano drives you crazy. 6-2 game, just make the simple play. Now Toronto is a swing away from tying it.
Meanwhile, given Rasner’s history, Girardi should have had somebody warming up to start the inning. Rasner hasn’t completed seven innings since June 6.
UPDATE, 3:25 p.m.: Here’s the other issue with this inning: You need to try and keep Mariano Rivera on the bench today. He has worked multiple innings two days in a row and should not pitch today.
Cano’s error opens the door to a close game in the ninth. What happens then?
UPDATE, 3:35 p.m.: Rasner pitched better than his line. But in the end, he allows four earned runs over six innings and that’s not any good.
Blame Cano for part of it. But Girardi should have been in a position to pull him after Lind singled. When it unravels for Rasner, it usually happens fast.
Meanwhile, A-Rod struck out and the crowd booed. We’re getting back to 2006 A-Rod hate levels now. Booing today is unfair, he had an RBI single in the first inning.
UPDATE, 3:40 p.m.: Wow, League is nasty. He’s hitting 98 and sinking it.
UPDATE, 3:52 p.m.: I suppose there is a way this ends well, but I don’t see it. Ramirez needs two strikeouts here. Wells has good speed at third.
Up 6-2 in the seventh inning, you need to put the game away. This is some pretty awful baseball by the Yankees. But this is why they’re in third place.
UPDATE, 3:55 p.m.: Now it’s 6-6. Toronto has six hits (and counting) in the last two innings.
UPDATE, 4:11 p.m.: The crowd is really getting ugly here. Cano was booed before, during and after his at-bat.
A 6-2 lead, facing Roy Halladay tomorrrow and you let the game get away? This would be a brutal loss.
UPDATE, 4:24 p.m.: A-Rod either wins it or ends it, right? That is usually how it goes.
UPDATE, 4:28 p.m.: Jeter gives them a chance. Great play by Rios to keep that to a single.
UPDATE, 4:29 p.m.: It always comes down to A-Rod. Amazing.
I bet he wins it. He’s due for one of those.
UPDATE, 4:32 p.m.: GIDP. They’re booing Alex like he’s the Son of Sam. Unreal. 11 GIDPs this month,