Pitching: RHP Chien-Ming Wang.
Pitching: LHP Scott Kazmir.
Game time: 7:08 p.m.
CAPTAIN NOT CRUSHING: Jeter is 1 of his last 17.
CODY NOT CRUSHING, EITHER: Ransom is 1 for 20 this season.
REALLY? With the Yankees facing a lefty, Melky Cabrera is back in center. He is 9 of his last 43 dating back to last season.
RISKY RISP: The Yankees are 13 of 55 (.236) with runners in scoring position.
BRUNEY BATTLES: Briam Bruney’s last three games: 3 0 0 0 0 5.
COKE ISN’T IT: Phil Coke this season: 2.2 5 4 4 1 5.
WANG NEEDS A REBOUND: Chien-Ming Wang was brutal in Game 2 against Baltimore (3.2 9 7 7 3 0). But he has been solid against the Rays in his career (7-4, 3.35 in 13 starts) and at the Trop (5-2, 3.74 in eight starts),
RIP MR. KALAS: Sad day in baseball today as Harry Kalas, the long-time Phillies announcer, has passed away at the age of 73. It’s a tough day for some guys on our beat Ty Kepner and Sweeny Murti grew up in the Philadelphia area and have fond memories of Harry and later got to know him. George King covered the Phillies for a long time and knew Harry very well. I had a chance to meet Mr. Kalas many times when I covered the Mets and he was always very gracious.
Back with some more later on.
UPDATE, 4:33 p.m.: Mark Teixeira had an MRI today on his left wrist No damage. He hopes to play tomorrow.
UPDATE, 5:43 p.m.: Alex Rodriguez is here at the Trop and did a long interview in the dugout. Here it is in its entirety:
He talks about the surgery, how much better he feels now, his new-found commitment to baseball and other topics.
UPDATE, 6:46 p.m.: Boxing announcer Michael Buffer, in a cream-colored tux, is announcing the Rays roster. Nice touch. The team will raise the AL banner today and get their rings tomorrow.
It’s weird to see this place filled with Rays fans instead of Yankees fans.
UPDATE, 6:50 p.m.: They actually have these boxes spitting fire when the starters are introduced. Very Las Vegas. Gov. Charlie Crist will throw out the first pitch.
UPDATE, 6:59 p.m.: Wearing jeans (they’re informal here in Florida), Gov. Crist threw a strike from the mound. Now they’re going to raise the banner. The Yankees can’t be too thrilled to have to watch this in person. But that’s the price you pay.
UPDATE, 7:19 p.m.: We’re underway. Michael Buffer said, “Lllllllllllllllllllet’s get ready to play ball!” before the first pitch.
UPDATE, 7:33 p.m.: Inauspicious start for CMW as he walks Upton and hits Crawford. He needs a GIDP here.
UPDATE, 7:38 p.m.: The Rays are going to test Posada. Wang’s delivery is very slow, which gives Posada little chance. Wang needs to handle this himself now.
UPDATE, 7:40 p.m.: Disastrous beginning for Wang as he allows a two-run double by Pena. He left that 2-2 pitch high.
UPDATE, 7:43 p.m.: That’s it, season over. 3-0 Rays, Let the panic begin anew.
UPDATE, 7:50 p.m.: There’s one out and Wang has thrown nearly 40 pitches. When will the Yankees realize they need a long reliever? Albaladejo warming up now.
UPDATE, 7:54 p.m.: Wang threw 42 pitches in that inning. 4-0 Rays.
You have to wonder if something is wrong physically, although there was no sign of that in spring training. 4-0 against Kazmir is a hill to climb.
UPDATE, 7:59 p.m.: Wow, what a catch by B.J. Upton to rob Nady of at least a double. It was a Willie Mays-style over the shoulder grab. What a great talent Upton is.
UPDATE, 8:05 p.m.: This team has a way of making the Yankees look so old. Bartlett singles, steals second, then Upton bunts for a single. The Rays can pick pick away at you with their speed and good fundamental play.
Meanwhile, Wang can’t get his sinker to sink. He may not last this inning.
UPDATE, 8:12 p.m.: That’s it for Wang as he walks in a run. 1+ innings, 6 hits, 5 runs (so far) and 3 walks. He threw 61 pitches.
I’m sure the panic-stricken will demand his immediate removal from the rotation and/or execution. But Wang was 46-15, 3.74 from 2006-08. He didn’t suddenly forget how to pitch. He’s either hurt or he has sort of mechanical flaw.
UPDATE, 8:17 p.m.: It’s 9-0 as Albaladejo allows a Pena slam. Wang’s line: 1 6 8 8 3 1. He now has a 28.93 ERA.
UPDATE, 8:53 p.m.: Hey, Nick Swisher homered. The Yankees won’t get shut out.
In other good news, this blog just registered its 700,000th comment since Jan. of 2007. I’m not sure what that means, but it sounds good.
UPDATE, 9:25 p.m.: It’s 10-2 after five innings. Now Edwar is in for an inning or two. This game could force them to make a move for the bullpen tomorrow.
UPDATE, 9:39 p.m.: Edwar should pitch in the Home Run Derby. He gives up bombs.
UPDATE, 9:50 p.m.: The Yankees are lucky that Joe Maddon has called off the dogs.
UPDATE, 10:01 p.m.: See, Cody Ransom can replace Alex after all. He just drove in a run in a 12-2 game. (I’m kidding).
UPDATE, 10:14 p.m.: Now they can’t catch a pop-up. This is embarrassing.
UPDATE, 10:17 p.m: Classy Rays fans chanting “Yankees suck” when it’s 12-3.
UPDATE, 10:34 p.m.: Swisher (yes Swisher) is pitching. Posada is at first and Molina is catching.
UPDATE, 10:36 p.m.: Proud moment for the franchise here as Swisher lobs over 75-mph “fastballs.”
UPDATE, 10:40 p.m.: Swisher fans Kapler. This is pretty funny. He throws a scoreless inning, better than any of the other pitchers tonight.
UPDATE, 10:45 p.m.: Swisher saved the ball from his strikeout. He’s hilarious.