Pitching: LHP Andy Pettitte (4-1, 4.30).
Pitching: LHP Cliff Lee (2-5, 3.04).
TIME/TV: 7:05 p.m. YES.
STATE OF THE ‘STRIPES: The Yankees are a half-out out of first in the AL East. They have won 12 of 15 and have started the road trip by taking two of three against Texas. Cleveland is in last place in the Central but swept four from Tampa at home, scoring 30 runs in the process.
THEY MEET AGAIN: The Yankees split a four-game series with the Indians in April in the Bronx. Lee beat them on April 16 when the new Stadium opened, allowing one run over six innings in a 10-2 rout. Pettitte did not pitch in that series.
PLEASE, CAN WE STAY: The Yankees were 47 of 120 (.392) in the three games in Texas, collecting 15 extra-base hits and walking 12 times as they scored 23 runs. They raised the team batting average from .271 to .280.
IT’S GETTING BETTER ALL THE TIME: The Yankees have a 5.01 ERA, the lowest it has been since April 16.
GLOVE STORY: The Yankees have gone 14 games without making an error.
THEY’RE HOT: Derek Jeter has hit in 11 straight. … Mark Teixeira has hit in 10 straight. He has two or more hits in six of the last seven games and nine of the last 12. He has eight homers and 19 RBI in the last 12 games. …Brett Gardner is 13 of his last 31. …Robbie Cano is 17 of his last 42, going from .296 to .320. Of those 17 hits, eight were extra bases.
OLD FOLKS NEED THEIR REST: Mariano Rivera last worked on Sunday.
SWING FOR THE FENCES: Of the 17 hits Alex Rodriguez has since his return, 11 are for extra bases.
Back later with much more.
UPDATE, 5:56 p.m: Lots of stuff to get to:
• Kevin Cash was optioned to Scranton. Sounds like they want Cervelli to catch Sabathia tomorrow. Plus Jose Molina will catch in a game tomorrow in Florida and will be back soon enough. There are no plans to carry three catchers.
• Xavier Nady starts a throwing program on Monday.
• Brian Bruney starts his throwing program on Tuesday.
• The Yankees have not discussed Joba in the bullpen. Great line from Girardi: “The good thing about the presidential debates is that they end. … This one doesn’t.”
• There is hope that Melky could be in the lineup as soon as Monday. He has made a lot of progress the last two days and in fact took some swings today. “It’s better,” Melky said to me in a conversation that included his English and my lousy college Spanish. “Maybe a day or two. I won’t go on the DL. No reason.”
UPDATE, 6:13 p.m.: Here is Jorge Posada talking about his return:
Jorge talks about his readiness to play, how he strengthened his shoulder while he was on the DL and how proud he is of Francisco Cervelli.
UPDATE, 6:51 p.m.: Bad news, gang. They’re putting the tarp on the field and the game will be delayed. No word on a start time.
UPDATE, 6:58 p.m.: Based on the radar on Weather.com, it’ll be a quick storm. Hopefully, anyway.
UPDATE, 7:27 p.m.: OK, it is in fact raining. No word on a start time.
Meanwhile, cool stat via Kim Jones: Tonight would be the first time the Yankees have Posada, Matsui and Rodriguez in the lineup together since last June 22. How crazy is that?
UPDATE, 8:07 p.m.: The game is set for an 8:30 p.m start.
UPDATE, 8:31 p.m.: We’re underway and Derek Jeter quickly extends his hitting streak to 12 games. Obviously he was inspired by today’s feature in The Journal News.
UPDATE, 8:34 p.m.: And Tex has hit in 11 straight. Yankees picking up where they left off in Texas.
UPDATE, 8:45 p.m.: Kind of odd, isn’t it, that the Indians would pitch to A-Rod with first base open and a lefty on deck?
UPDATE, 8:46 p.m.: Shows you what I know as he strikes out looking. But they’re up 2-0 on Lee. Nice start.
UPDATE, 9:28 p.m.: Very methodical offense against Lee as the Yankees lead 3-0. They have seven hits and have drawn two walks. They’ve already left six runners on base, however.
UPDATE, 9:46 p.m.: Lee is closing in on 80 pitches here in the fourth inning. That’s a good sign.
UPDATE, 9:54 p.m.: I’m certainly not trying to put the Michael Kay Jinx on anything. But now that the Red Sox have lost, the Yankees can move into first place alone for the first time since the final game of the 2006 season if they win tonight.
How crazy is that?
Of course, they still have six innings to get through. But I figured I’d get that out there before you saw it someplace else.
UPDATE, 9:59 p.m.: Assistant athletic trainer Steve Donohue just followed Andy into the clubhouse. Not sure if that is a problem or not. He appeared to have some sort of hip issue earlier but looked OK in the fourth inning.
I’ll see what I can find out.
UPDATE, 10:07 p.m.: No updates from the Yankees on Andy. As long as he’s in the game, they’re not going to call down to the trainer’s room. That is certainly understandable. If he’s pitching, how hurt can he be? They wouldn’t take any stupid chances on May 29.
UPDATE, 10:14 p.m.: It’s like Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom here at Progressive Field. There are millions of bugs around the lights (they are either mosquitos or midges according to Newday’s Erik Boland, a native Ohioan) and there are hundreds of birds in a feeding frenzy.
Meanwhile, three guys in racing around the field in hot dog suits nearly ran over first base coach Mick Kelliher. It’s very exciting at the ballpark.
UPDATE, 10:20 p.m.: It’s 3-0, Swisher singles and they have Gardner bunt? I’m sorry, that’s a bad play. Lee has struggled all game and is throwing a lot of pitches. Gardner also has swung the bat well in recent weeks. Don’t give Lee an out, make him earn it. Outs are precious. This isn’t the NL.
UPDATE, 10:27 p.m.: Pettitte has some sort of issue as Donohue visits the mound with Girardi.
UPDATE, 10:28 p.m.: That’s it for Andy. I’ll post the news as soon as I get it. It’s clearly a lower-body sort of thing.
Chien-Ming Wang, come on down!
UPDATE, 10:38 p.m.: Nice job by Alfredo Aceves, who wiggles out of the bases-loaded, no-outs jam allowing only one run. He has Ramiro Mendozian qualities.
UPDATE, 10:49 p.m.: How good of a hitter is Posada? Spends 24 days on the DL, gets a few at-bats against kids in Florida and comes back and goes 2 for 3 with a double and a walk.
Meanwhile, the Yankees are 2-for-12 with RISP and have stranded 10 in seven innings. It’ll be interesting to see who pitches the eighth inning if Aceves gets through the seventh. You know what? I’d let Aceves do it if he fees OK. Better him than Veras or Coke.
UPDATE, 10:54 p.m.: Pettitte has what’s being described as lower back stiffness.
UPDATE, 10:55 p.m.: 1-2-3 inning for Aceves. I’d leave him in. No reason to screw around and get fancy. He gets three, Mo comes in, first place.