Pitching: LHP CC Sabathia (2-3, 3.94).
BLUE JAYS (23-13)
Pitching: LHP Brian Tallet (2-1, 4.95).
TIME/TV: 7:07 p.m., YES.
TWO IN A ROW: A victory tonight would give the Yankees two series victories in a row. It also would draw them to within 4.5 games of first place.
THE HOTTEST PLAYER IN BASEBALL: Johnny Damon has been ridiculous in the last nine games. He’s 17 of 38 (.447) with 16 RBI, 10 runs scored and 12 extra-base hits including five home runs. He has at least one extra-base hit in nine straight games and has scored at least one run in nine straight games. His slugging percentage was .460 before this streak started. It’s up to .630 now.
PENA POWER: Rookie Ramiro Pena is 12 of his last 27 with three extra-base hits.
LATER, MENDOZA: Mark Teixeira is up to .202.
SLOW START: Alex Rodriguez is 2 for 15 since that dramatic home run in Baltimore. He has scored one run in five games but has drawn enough walks to build a .350 OBP.
SWISHER SLUMPING: Nick Swisher is 3 for 30 with 16 strikeouts.
STILL THE WORST: At 5.64, the Yankees have the highest ERA on baseball. They’ve issued 133 walk. Only Cleveland (136) has more in the AL.
CC’S BACK: CC Sabathia’s last start was a four-hit shutout of Baltimore on Friday.
Back with more later.
UPDATE, 5:52 p.m.: Not too many updates today from the clubhouse. Jeter took some early BP and said he felt fine. Matsui said his hamstring is OK. No Phil Coke today, maybe tomorrow.
The roof is open on the stadium for the first time this season.
UPDATE, 5:59 p.m.: The Yankees have changed the rules for batting practice.
This from Yankees.com:
Remember fans, on game days, arrive early. Yankee Stadium Gates on Babe Ruth Plaza and Gates 2 and 8, open three hours prior to the start of every home game. All fans are encouraged to arrive early to enjoy batting practice and infield workouts from select areas of the Field Level and the Bleachers; specifically, all fans may watch batting practice and infield workouts from Field Level Sections 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135 and 136 and from all Bleachers Sections. Please note, on certain game days the Yankees may elect not to take batting practice, infield workouts or both. Those fans who take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy batting practice and infield workouts from the Field Level and/or the Bleachers may remain until the players leave the field following the conclusion of the Yankees batting practice or 1 hour and 45 minutes after the Gates open. At that time, all fans will be asked to return their respective seats.
This would seem to be a change from the earlier policy of not allowing any fans in the field level who did not have a ticket for those sections.
UPDATE, 6:15 p.m.: Just spoke to a Yankees spokesperson. The new BP rules were put in place today. So everybody who complained, congrats. Your words were heard.
Under the new policy, you can get on the field level. Now, you’re not going to get on top of the field, so autographs are not happening unless somebody stops out in the outfield. But you can close enough to snap some photos, take in the experience, etc.
It’s good the team is relaxing the rules and listening to their fans.
UPDATE, 7:10 p.m.: Damon now has an extra-base hit in 10 consecutive games, tying a franchise record held by Don Mattingly (1987) and Paul O’Neill (2001).
UPDATE, 8:09 p.m.: Sorry for the lack of updates, been busy with newspaper work. Plus it hasn’t been a very exciting game. The Yankees have put six runners on base against Tallet in four innings but are 0 for 3 with RISP. … CC’s streak of 12 straight scoreless innings just ended with a Rios homer.
1-1 in the fourth.
UPDATE, 8:12 p.m.: A fan behind the Toronto dugout just got hit in the back of the head by a piece of broken bat when Vernon Wells grounded out. The man seems OK but the Toronto players threw him towels to stem the bleeding.
I hate to say this, but it’s only a matter of time before a fan gets killed. Bats are broken far too easily and go flying all over the place.
UPDATE, 8:33 p.m.: Great throw by Brett Gardner and great tag by Francisco Cervelli to keep the deficit at 2-1. … Meanwhile, A-Rod got robbed of a double there by Rolen, who has always had a good glove at 3B. Alex is 3 for 19 since he came back.
UPDATE, 8:51 p.m.: Ground ball, past a diving Je … no wait! Jeter stops the ball, flips to Cano, inning over!
Sabathia (6 4 2 2 2 4) has been good enough to get a win. The Yankees need to get something going against the likes of Brian Tallet. Winning this series would be a significant step in the right direction.
UPDATE, 8:54 p.m.: GGBG walks. Here’s the plan. He steals second and then Cervellu bunts him to third for Jeter.
UPDATE, 8:57 p.m.: Or a single up the middle as Gardner runs, that works, too. Runners on the corners, no outs, top of the order up. They have to get something done here.
UPDATE, 9:02 p.m.: The captain of the Yankees, shrugging off the painful oblique pull, delivers an RBI single and we’re all tied up. It’s a Hollywood story. 2-2 here in Toronto.
Now the hottest hitter on the planet has a shot. … But he strikes out looking.
UPDATE, 9:09 p.m.: It’s up to the A-Rod. Runners on first and second, two outs, 2-2 score.
UPDATE, 9:12 p.m.: Another deep fly ball for Alex as the inning ends with two runners on base. It’s like he’s just missing a little something.
Yankees are 1-7 with RISP.
UPDATE, 9:20 p.m.: Trouble for Sabathia as Rolen doubles. The walk of Barajas makes sense as he’s 8 of 19 against CC.
UPDATE, 9:28 p.m.: Nice job by Sabathia working out of the jam. 2-2 to the 8th inning.
UPDATE, 9:31 p.m.: Godzilla does it again. The guy is a difference maker, always has been. 3-2 Yankees. Now you need one more inning out of the big fella before giving the ball to Mariano. You can’t mess around with anybody else out there.
UPDATE, 9:38 p.m.: Boy, Frankie Cervelli has been terrific for the Yankees. Kid was hitting .190 in Trenton and he’s 6 for 19 for the Yankees.