A. Rodriguez 3B
I. Rodriguez C
Notes: The Yankees have won two straight and four of six. … The Yankees have won five straight road games to improve to 34-33 away from the Bronx. … The Yankees are 8-5 against the Rays with five games remaining.
HERE COMES ALEX: Here is where Alex Rodriguez stands on the career home run list:
9. Harmon Killebrew 573
10. Rafael Palmeiro 569
11. Reginald Martinez Jackson 563
12. Alex Rodriguez 548
MORE ON THE DINGERS: OF A-Rod’s 30 homers this season, 21 have been solo shots and 18 have been when the Yankees were leading or down by four or more runs.
IDLE CHATTER: Carl Pavano will be facing the Rays for the first time at Tropicana Field since 2004 when he was with the Marlins. He is 2-0 for the Yankees. In 11 innings he has allowed 10 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks and struck out 6.
SO FAR, SO GOOD: The Yankees are 26 of 76 (.342) on the trip so far and have scored 20 runs.
PILING UP THE RBI: Jason Giambi has driven in 13 runs in his last 10 games.
MARIANO MOJO: A now well-rested Mariano Rivera (he hasn’t pitched since Friday) has thrown 8.2 scoreless innings in his last six appearances, allowing one hit with one walk and striking out seven.
DAMON DOES IT: Johnny Damon is 10 of his last 22, taking his batting average from .311 to .317.
Back later with some updates.
UPDATE, 5:56 p.m.: Girardi said that he wanted Mike Mussina to get five more starts, not four. That’s good. … Ponson is still starting on Saturday.
UPDATE ON BRIAN CASHMAN, 6:03 p.m.: Brian Cashman would not address questions about whether he wants to return to the Yankees. Hmmm.
This was the most interesting thing he said:
“Thereâ€™s a time and place. Itâ€™s a practice that has been involved here and it applies to me, too. It did before as well as it does now. All that stuff needs to wait until the end and hopefully the end isnâ€™t any time soon. … When the dust settles, conversations will be had. Where they lead, I canâ€™t predict. Iâ€™m not about to predict. I donâ€™t know.â€
UPDATE, 6:04 p.m.: Looking for something to read> Here’s an interesting piece here by Joe Posnanski about the importance of a good manager.
UPDATE, 7:12 p.m.: We’re underway in Tampa. Looks like another sparse crowd. The Braves-Marlins drew 11,211 today but that was based on tickets sold. There were fewer than 600 people in the stands.
Expanding to Florida was a bad idea.
UPDATE, 7:20 p.m.: The official scorer gave Abreu a hit in the first inning after initially calling it an error. Bad job. This is a major league baseball game. The shortstop is supposed to make a play on a ball hit at him, no matter how much topspin is on the ball.
UPDATE, 7:36 p.m.: Pudge Rodriguez drove in a run! That was his first RBI not on a solo homer. He now has three for the Yankees.
2-1 Yankees, middle of the second.
UPDATE, 7:56 p.m.: Two smooth plays on the bases there by Bobby Abreu. He took an aggressive turn and hustled to second when Tampa was slow playing the ball in. Then he deftly screened the shortstop on A-Rod’s grounder. The ball skipped past Jason Bartlett and Abreu scored.
3-1 and a chance for more.
UPDATE, 8:03 p.m.: Where was all this when the Yankees needed it in August? They fall out of contention and now they come out blazing.
Meanwhile, the “fans” here at the Trop are getting restless with their boys. Those not clanging cowbells and playing bingo are booing when the Yankees score.
The weirdest part? If the Yankees win tonight, they get Boston to within three games of Tampa.
UPDATE, 8:11 p.m.: OK, mark it down, Yankees win. When Bobby Abreu actually touches a wall while making a catch, that is a certified sign of impending Yankees victory.
Meanwhile, I hope you all remember my story in spring training “Pavano to return late in season, go unbeaten.”
UPDATE, 8:58 p.m.: You have to have the Idle on a short leash here. With all the pitchers available in the bullpen (except Joba, one would think), you can’t risk letting Pavano get in much trouble.
UPDATE, 9:02 p.m.: Edwar with two runners on base? Hmm. Against Cliff Floyd? Hmm. Floyd could well swing through a changeup. But it’s 50-50 he drills one into the stands. Floyd is not the player he once was but he can still crush a bad fastball.
UPDATE, 9:04 p.m.: Robbie
Alomar Cano took his eye off the ball there, looking to double the runner of first before catching the liner. Can’t make mistakes like that.
UPDATE, 9:08 p.m.: Hey, Cano learned from his mistake. Big spot for Edwar here.
UPDATE, 9:20 p.m.: Good idea pulling the plug on Edwar. This will be interesting to see what Coke can do.
Meanwhile, the last eight Yankees have gone in order.
UPDATE, 9:39 p.m.: More Phil Coke! He was a starter, after all. Keep in mind that Joba is out tonight.
Girardi should go Bruney/Marte and then Mo to finish. Leave Jose Veras in the pen.
UPDATE, 9:56 p.m.: Nice move by Girardi, getting Floyd out of the game. Now we’ll see Bruney against Zobrist. Nobody warming up, but some skinny guy wearing 42 is stretching.
UPDATE, 10:04 p.m.: Yankee relievers have retired 11 straight. Impressive work. Now Mo for the ninth against the bottom of their order.
UPDATE, 10:20 p.m.: I think this is the first instant review. Of course it involves the Yankees and A-Rod.
It looks like a home run to me.
UPDATE, 10:23 p.m.: Yes, home run. What a shot by A-Rod. He now has 549 in his career, passing Mike Schmidt for 12th place.
Yes, it was the first review under the new rules.
UPDATE, 10:35 p.m.: Good job by the umpires, the proces took only two minutes and 15 seconds. Ironic that it was a blown call on an A-Rod home run earlier this season that helped lead to replay being instituted.
The dinger also gives Mariano another day of rest, which is good.
The BBWAA is sending a pool reporter to talk to the umpires. I’ll let you know what they say later on.