Pitching: RHP A.J. Burnett (2-0, 5.40).
Pitching: RHP Andy Sonnanstine (1-3, 6.75).
TIME/TV: 7:05, YES.
COKE ON A ROLL: Phil Coke’s last nine outings have been terrific. 7 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts.
REMEMBER HIM: Mariano Rivera hasn’t pitched since Thursday.
SLUGGERS: The Yankees have hit 39 home runs. Only Texas (48) has more.
VALUE THE BALL: The Yankees are 2-10 when they make an error, 11-3 when they don’t. The Yankees have made five errors in the last two games.
MELKY STAYS HOT: Melky Cabrera has a nine-game hitting streak. He is at 14 of 35 in that streak with two doubles and three RBI. He has hit in 14 straight as a starter.
ROBBIE NEEDS A KNOCK: Robinson Cano is hitless in his last 12 at-bats. His batting average has dropped from .378 to .336.
SWISH IS SAFE: Nick Swisher has played in 25 games and reached base via hit, walk or HBP in 24 of them. He has a .427 OBP and a 1.090 OPS.
OFF THE MARK: Mark Melancon has thrown 66 pitches in the majors, only half of them for strikes. His line: 3.1 2 2 2 5 2.
Back with much more later on.
UPDATE, 5:01 p.m.: A-Rod was 1 for 5 with a walk as the DH and slid into second with no issues. He’s scheduled to play again in Florida tomorrow. Still sounds like a Friday return.
UPDATE, 5:50 p.m.: Here is what is sickening about the new Yankee Stadium. The gates open three hours before the game so fans can watch BP. As I write this, here is how many people are in the premium seats watching BP from the front row and getting a good look at the players:
That’s right, three. Meanwhile, there are people six deep along the foul line in right field and left field hoping to get a ball, get an autograph, whatever. But because of the caste system in place here, they’ll never get closer.
The Rays were all talking about how strange and quiet it seems. I don’t know what the Yankees can do because of the concrete moat they built around those seats. It’s not like they can let regular people just walk down.
It’s ridiculous. It really is. What were they thinking?
UPDATE, 6:02 p.m.: The game within a game today will be Jose Molina and Burnett against Carl Crawford.
Crawford leads the majors with 19 steals, the most after 28 games since Deion Sanders had 19 after 28 games with the Reds in 1997.
Crawford also has stolen at least one base in eight straight games, making him one of six players since 1954 to accomplish that. He has 13 steals in the last eight games and has been successful in 21 straight attempts dating back to last season.
The Rays have swiped 42, the most in the majors. Molina has caught 2 of 9 runners this season. He’s usually much better than that. What transpires tonight will be interesting to watch.
UPDATE, 6:07 p.m.: Joe Girardi met with the media in the dugout before the game today. I was in the back and couldn’t quite hear everything that was going on. But it wasn’t a game of patty-cake.
One of the question was why Brett Tomko isn’t here. He has pitched 13 innings in Scranton and not allowed a earned run. His line: 13 8 0 0 4 15. Girardi didn’t really have an answer other than to say they’re considering everything.
People also are questioning why players like Veras, Ramirez and Albaladejo are still here and not working out their issues in Scranton.
Joe was going with his standard “I have faith in my players” answer. But when your team has the second-worst ERA in baseball (thanks, Cleveland), that faith would seem misplaced.
Girardi also was playing coy with A-Rod’s return, refusing to give many details other than to say they’ll see how he feels. At this point, he has had 39 plate appearances in six games in Florida.
From talking to others, the general perception is that A-Rod will be back on Friday.
It was kind of funny at one point. Girardi was asked about his weak bench and his response was that the roster “would change in a couple of days.” By that, of course, he means when Alex is back. Then he caught himself. “I’m just throwing around random numbers,” he said.
I don’t think much of this is Girardi’s fault, unless you believe his personality isn’t a good fit. You can’t pin the bullpen on him or the injuries. But the manager takes the heat.
UPDATE, 6:26 p.m.: Here’s what A-Rod told reporters in Florida:
UPDATE, 7:08 p.m.: Look at the “crowd” behind the plate for first pitch. What an embarrassment.
UPDATE, 7:11 p.m.: That’s one way to keep Crawford from stealing bases. Strike him out.
By the the way, there are thousands and thousands of empty seats here. I have no idea if there is bad traffic or something else keeping the crowd away. But there are huge gaps of empty seats throughout the Stadium.
UPDATE, 7:42 p.m.: Cano is 0 for his last 13. … Meanwhile somebody just e-mailed to tell me the empty seats were because of the recession. Thanks, Paul Krugman. But there are more empty seats tonight than I’ve seen in the previous 11 home games.
UPDATE, 8:17 p.m.: Looks like A.J. wants to be the first Yankees to strike out a dozen since Jova Chamberlain yesterday. He has fanned seven through four innings.
1-0 Rays as the Yankees have grounded into seven outs against Sonnanstine.
UPDATE, 8:48 p.m.: Runners on first and second, nobody out, Burnett has thrown 104 pitches and nobody is warming up.
UPDATE, 8:50 p.m.: 2-0 Rays. More good fundamental ball from Tampa Bay.
UPDATE, 8:52 p.m.: 110 pitches and it’s 3-0 with the top of the order up. Now there’s some people moving around in the bullpen. That’s good.
UPDATE, 9:08 p.m.: The Bleacher Creatures are chanting “Boston sucks.” That makes sense. The Yankees are 0-5 against Boston and playing Tampa Bay.
UPDATE, 9:23 p.m.: Crawford has stolen a base in nine straight games. The longest streak in the majors since Cory Patterson had nine straight in 2006. The record is 12 by Bert Campaneris in 1969.
UPDATE, 9:42 p.m.: Thats it for Sonnanstine. Rays 3-0 but the Yankees have runners on second and third with one out. Jeter coming up to face Dan Wheeler.
UPDATE, 9:52 p.m.: Bases loaded, two puts, 3-0, Tex up, rain is falling. It’s like a movie.
UPDATE, 9:55 p.m.: The monster arises! Three-run double by Tex with a broken bat as it pours. We’re all tied at 3-3.
UPDATE, 9:58 p.m.: Now we have a rain delay.
If you’re in the Stadium, do not leave unless you hear an announcement.
UPDATE, 10:07 p.m.: The tarp is coming off.
UPDATE, 10:16 p.m.: Next pitch at 10:25 p.m.
UPDATE, 10:29 p.m.: Mariano Rivera was dusted off for the ninth. First action since last Thursday.
UPDATE, 10:54 p.m.: Mo has whiffed 16 without a walk this season. … Close play with Pena. Now it’s up to Molina to try and end it. He’ll face Balfour. Tampa is already on its fifth reliever.
UPDATE, 10:58 p.m.: Extra innings. The Yankees are 1 for 6 with RISP today and 4 for 25 in the last four games.