Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Melky Cabrera RF
Hideki Matsui DH
Francisco Cervelli C
Brett Gardner CF
Pitching: CC Sabathia (4-3, 3.43 ERA)
Jimmy Rollins SS
Shane Victorino CF
Raul Ibanez DH
Ryan Howard 1B
Jayson Werth LF
John Mayberry Jr. RF
Pedro Feliz 3B
Eric Bruntlett 2B
Carlos Ruiz C
Pitching: Cole Hamels (2-2, 4.95)
Notes: Melky Cabrera’s three walkoff RBIs this season are the most by a Yankee in a season since Claudell Washington had four in 1988. … Sabathia’s last start against the Phillies was also his last start before becoming a Yankee. Unfortunately, he got rocked in Game 2 of the division series as the Phillies beat up on the Brewers. … Hamels started slow but is 2-0 with a 2.31 ERA in his last five starts. … Anyone remember spring training of 2004 when the Yankees faced Hamels for the first time? Less than two years after graduating high school, Hamels worked two innings and finished the second one by striking out A-Rod, Derek Jeter and Tony Clark. … The teams have combined to hit 11 homers already in this series. … The Yankees continued their run of clean play yesterday, pushing their errorless games streak to 10, best in the majors.
UPDATE, 12:03 p.m.: Not much going on pregame here. Joba threw a side today and says he’s ready to go for Tuesday. Wang remains in the bullpen.
Brian Bruney is still confused about what’s wrong with his arm but he’s resigned himself to the fact that he may just have some discomfort and says he hopes to be in a game tomorrow. Jorge Posada, Xavier Nady, Jose Molina and Cody Ransom are headed for Tampa today for rehab. Girardi said it’s possible Posada could be back by the end of the road trip but hedged it plenty; the next homestand might be more likely.
Nady is an interesting case in that he might be activated before he’s capable of playing the field. Throwing is the big issue for him, and Girardi pointed out that with interleague play coming up, having bats on the bench is more important. “When you start going to National League cities, you’re going to need some pinch-hitters,” he said.
UPDATE, 1:09 p.m.: And we’re off. 78 degrees at first pitch here, though there are supposedly thunderstorms in the area. As someone who has dinner reservations in the city tonight, I’m VERY much in favor of those storms avoiding the Stadium this afternoon.
UPDATE, 1:11 p.m.: Since several of you mentioned it – and I’m all about obliging the loyal readers – I chatted briefly with Dave Eiland this morning about Wang’s issues with his sinker. Specifically, we talked about his release point and arm slot.
Eiland said that yes, there’s clearly a difference in Wang’s release point from when his sinker was consistently good to right now. What they are working with Wang on, Eiland said, is “staying over the rubber” longer. As you all know, Wang has a very deliberate wind-up – he raises his leg incredibly slowly and does a little “tap-tap” with the ball before throwing. The problem, according to Eiland, is that the “tap-tap” is coming a little later and Wang’s lower body has already started to push forward toward the plate. That means he’s forced to release the point at a higher point and thus, there’s no bite on the sinker and it hangs up.
If Wang is able to stay over the rubber long, Eiland said, the “tap-tap” will take place with his body still in one location – as opposed to the lower half having already started forward – and his release point will be lower again. That’s what they’re focusing on now.
Sorry if this is a little more technical than some of you might be interested in – I know it would be for me – but since Wang’s issues have been dissected by many on here, I thought those of you curious might find it interesting.
UPDATE, 1:54 p.m.: Gardner wasn’t close enough to catching that ball to justify diving for it, in my opinion. I don’t know many “baseball adages” but I’m pretty sure there’s one about not leaving your feet with two out and a runner on. I was actually surprised that Rollins didn’t end up on third.
BTW, it’s a full house here today – or mostly full, at least – but there is a LOT of red in the stands. Obviously the Yankee fans are in the majority but the cheers for the Phillies runs were louder than I expected.
UPDATE, 2:21 p.m.: As I mentioned before, I LOVE plays at the plate and you have to give credit to Ruiz there — he blocked that plate incredibly well. I don’t have a big problem with Rob Thomson sending Damon there – it took a great throw and great concentration from Ruiz to be able to handle it while Damon was bearing down on him. Sure, A-Rod is coming up but when the fielding team goes perfect-perfect on the throw and catch/block to get you by half-a-step, there isn’t much you can do.
UPDATE, 2:55 p.m.: Is there a hotter hitter anywhere than Raul Ibanez? The Phillies got this guy for $10 million a year and he’s well on his way to a fourth straight 100-RBI season (then again, at this point, it’s probably more accurate to say he’s on his way to a first 200-RBI season). It would have been a nice break for the Yankees if that ball bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double but it didn’t and the run scored. Give Melky credit for making a nice catch on Howard’s liner though.
UPDATE, 3:05 p.m.: That’s a broken-bat home run for Mark Teixeira. Seriously. The bat flew all the way past third base and the ball went about six rows into the left-field seats. Cole Hamels just shook his head. Meanwhile, a few boos trickle down for A-Rod, who strikes out for the third time.
UPDATE, 3:33 p.m.: Wow, Carlos Ruiz is having quite a day. Again, give credit to the Phillies coming up with a perfect defensive play when they need it – if Ruiz doesn’t throw an absolute pill to second, Gardner is in there and Jeter gets a chance to drive him in.
UPDATE, 3:44 p.m.: Big pitch by CC to get out of a jam there (and nice block by Cervelli on the pitch before). Now the Yankees have to see if they can make something happen against the Phils bullpen again. Lefty Scott Eyre is on now to face Damon.
UPDATE, 3:52 p.m.: Repeat blast for A-Rod here?
UPDATE, 3:53 p.m.: Nope. Hard-hit ball, but right to third. If they do it, they’ll have to it against Lidge again.
UPDATE, 4:06 p.m.: Here comes Lidge. This guy was unhittable last year but it’s pretty obvious he’s beatable in 2009. Let’s see if Cano and Melky can do it two days in a row.
UPDATE, 4:09 p.m.: Huge cheer for the Melkman as he comes up. Smart move to get a pinch-runner in for Cano. Let’s see what happens.
UPDATE, 4:11 p.m.: Ruiz didn’t have much of a shot even if he handles it clean. Nice jump by Pena. Now a single ties it (probably).
UPDATE, 4:12 p.m.: I can’t say I like Melky bunting here. I’d rather him swing than Matsui.
UPDATE, 4:13 p.m.: And that’s why. A four-hopper up the middle gets through and it’s 3-3. Man, Lidge has been brutal. Great fightback by the Yankees.
UPDATE, 4:16 p.m.: Speaking of brutal, hello, Hideki Matsui. Now Swisher hits for Cervelli.
UPDATE, 4:19 p.m.: Gardner makes up for his dive earlier?
UPDATE, 4:21 p.m.: Nope. Extra innings. Here comes Mo.
UPDATE, 4:33 p.m.: Just a little hiccup from Rivera but it’s no real problem. Top of the order against righty Clay Condrey.
UPDATE, 4:45 p.m.: Had to figure the Yankees would win it right there, but Teixeira hits into an awful double play and Ramiro Pena flies out. Some will second-guess the Pena-for-Cano decision in the ninth, but I liked it then and you can’t count on that spot coming up again. Pena’s steal put even more pressure on Lidge – who was clearly about to have his head explode – and the Yanks have already seen how the Phillies outfielders can make throws to the plate. No doubt you want legs on the bases at that point.
Brett Tomko on now.