Pitching tonight: RHP A.J. Burnett (1-0, 3.38)
Pitching tonight: RHP Matt Garza (1-0, 1.29)
GOOD THING THEY HAVE A ROOF: It is pouring here in St. Pete and the wild is howling. Alex Rodriguez did not work out (at least outside) today at the minor-league complex in Tampa.
A.J. VS. THE RAYS: Burnett is 7-4, 2.98 in 16 career starts against the Rays. He is 2-2, 2.30 in seven starts at Tropicana Field.
CAPTAIN NEEDS A KNOCK: Derek Jeter is 1 of his last 20 and is hitting .207.
FRONTRUNNERS: The game is sold out tonight, making it 12 straight home game for the Rays. That counts the postseason.
RED HOT: Evan Longoria has 12 RBI and has hit safely in all seven games.
Back with more later.
UPDATE, 3:54 p.m.: Heard from a friend that Nick Swisher is getting killed on the radio back in NYC for the crime of smiling while on the mound last night.
I predicted this last night. The Yankees Morality Police love to hammer non-issues like this. The Yankees have much bigger issues than a player smiling.
UPDATE, 4:05 p.m.: Dave Eiland just said Wang had great stuff in the bullpen before the game last night. His point was that Wang is healthy and needs to take it into the game.
UPDATE, 4:42 p.m.: Wang is meeting now with Joe Girardi and Dave Eiland. I would assume this is a pep talk. … A-Rod worked out inside today at Steinbrenner Field.
UPDATE, 5:23 p.m.: Damon is out with the flu.
UPDATE, 6:04 p.m.: Here is Dave Eiland talking about Chien-Ming Wang:
UPDATE, 6:28 p.m.: Damon said he planned to play tomorrow. “I’m under the weather,” he said. “I haven’t had great sleep lately. It’s probably just caught up to me. … I’m very weak right now. Everything is creaky right now and nothing really feels good.”
UPDATE, 6:44 p.m.: Today is the anniversary of the Yankees using a black player, Elston Howard, for the first time.
UPDATE, 7:10 p.m.: We’re underway at the Trop. Enjoy the game.
UPDATE, 7:25 p.m.: Bases loaded and no outs and the Yankees scored only one run. Very inefficient.
UPDATE, 8:13 p.m.: It’s Nick Swisher’s world and we’re all just living in it. He just homered deep into the seats in right-center field. 2-0 Yankees.
Swish has four homers and 11 RBI in eight games. Only Evan Longoria (5 homers, 12 RBI) is hotter. Swisher also has scored 10 runs and has 27 total bases.
UPDATE, 8:24 p.m.: Evan Longoria just wet his pants facing Burnett. A 1-2 pitch was high (but over the plate) and Longoria hit the dirt. Burnett then fanned him looking with a heater right over the middle.
A.J. through 4 innings: 0 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts. He could not be pitching any better than he has so far.
UPDATE, 8:40 p.m.: A.J. Burnett looks frighteningly good tonight. 5 0 0 0 1 6. 67 pitches / 37 strikes.
UPDATE, 8:47 p.m: Seriously, they only had to give up Wilson Betemit to get Nick Swisher? Wilson Betemit? Not Woodrow Wilson, Enrique Wilson, Nancy Wilson, Willie Wilson, Wilson Phillips, Flip Wilson, Mookie Wilson, Wilson Pickett, Mr. Wilson from Dennis The Menace, and Wilson the volleyball from Castaway too?
Just Wilson Betemit? Holy cow.
UPDATE, 9:02 p.m.: Burnett has 77 pitches through six innings. Question now becomes whether he gets tired over the last three innings. But he’s probably good for 110-115 or so. Can he get nine outs in 40 pitches or so? I don’t see why not.
Meanwhile, and I understand this is a secondary issue, he is saving the bullpen after last night’s disaster.
If he gives up a hit in the seventh, then you have Swisher and Mo to close it out.
UPDATE, 9:15 p.m.: OK, now they have to worry about winning the game. It’s only 2-0 and Garza has been pretty darn good, too.
UPDATE, 9:27 p.m.: The Rays didn’t get the scouting report on Brett Gardner as he is both gritty and gutty. Huge leadoff double there.
Now Jeter needs to get him to third.
UPDATE, 9:53 p.m.: Is there a better athlete in baseball than B.J. Upton? He makes those catches look easy.
Here’s a question for you, does Girardi have it in him to use Pena at SS in the ninth inning?
UPDATE, 9:58 p.m.: Brett Gardner is the new Nick Swisher. Only grittier and guttier.
Great night for GGBG. 3 for 5 with two doubles, an RBI and two runs scored so far.