Pitching: RHP Joba Chamberlain (3-1, 3.71).
Pitching: RHP Matt Garza (4-4, 3.67).
TIME/TV: 1:05 p.m., YES.
STATE OF THE PINSTRIPES: The Yankees have lost two of three. They are 8-6 in their last 14 games.
HOMER HAVENS: Yankee Stadium and Tropicana Field are the only ballparks to have surrendered at least one home run in every game.
THE DEFENSE RESTS: The Yankees have committed at least one error in four straight games.
CLUTCHY CABRERA: Melky Cabrera has 23 RBI. Eleven of them have either tied the game or given the Yankees the lead in the seventh inning of later.
ON A ROLL: Mark Teixeira had 12 home runs and 35 RBI in the last 26 games.
SPEEDY CAPTAIN: Derek Jeter has 11 stolen bases, the same amount he had all of last season.
GARZA AGAIN: Garza allowed two runs over seven innings and struck out nine against the Yankees on April 14. But the Yankees rallied to win 7-2.
UPDATE, 11:50 a.m.: Still no Rays lineup. They want to see Longoria take BP and run before making a decision.
As for the Yankees …
Brian Bruney threw two 15-pitch simulated innings and felt good. “Two thumbs up,” he said as he came off the field. But the Yankees will be cautious with him. He could throw another simulated game, then some live BP and then a go to the minors for a rehab game or two. At an every-other-day pace, he could be 8-10 days away. They want to make sure he is right before they bring him back.
Jose Molina was in uniform and doing some baseball activities. He thinks he’s 7-10 days away. “It’s not nearly as bad as last time,” he said. “But I need to be able to run.”
The Rays were surprised — shocked, really — that the Yankees intentionally walked Longoria to get to Upton yesterday. Longoria had not swung a bat since Tuesday and was under orders not to run hard if he made contact.
Girardi defended his decision, pointing out that Upton was 1 for 7 with six Ks against Mo. He also had no problem with Rivera saying he wanted to face Longoria. “I would expect him to say that,” Girardi said. “We’d have a problem is he didn’t feel that way.”
It’s also worth noting that Mo issued 27 previous intentional walks in his career. So let’s not get carried away because it happened yesterday. It’s a fair argument either way.
Damaso Marte will throw a bullpen in Tampa today. Xavier Nady threw from 90 feet yesterday. That would seem encouraging.
UPDATE, 12:31 p.m.: Longoria was not cleared to play. But he could pinch hit again.
UPDATE, 12:37 p.m.: Here’s Girardi’s pre-game in the dugout. Lots of talk about the decisions yesterday.
UPDATE, 1:10 p.m.: We’re underway, five minutes late at 1:10 for whatever reason. … 77 degrees and sunny here in the Bronx.
Nick Swisher turned and snapped off a salute to the Bleacher Creatures during roll call. Johnny Dangerously did his usual two-handed point off one knee.
Joba vs. Garza, two guys with good cheese. Should be a fun one to watch.
UPDATE, 1:35 p.m.: Joba’s last 10 innings: 2 runs on 4 hits. … Meanwhile Alex just jogged out a pop-up that was dropped. He could have been on second. Cervelli did the same thing yesterday. The way the wind blows around on this field, running out pop-ups is important.
UPDATE, 1:51 p.m: Teixeira makes at least one and often two plays a game that Jason Giambi wouldn’t have even attempted. Tex is obviously a very good 1B. But when you view it through the prism of having watched The Big G there, he looks like equal parts Keith Hernandez and Don Mattingly.
UPDATE, 2:03 p.m.: Pretty swing there by Swish from the left side as he extended his arms and crushed a high pitch from Garza. All tied up at 1-1.
UPDATE, 2:35 p.m.: The Yankees have made at least one error in five straight games. Wonder what that record is?
UPDATE, 2:40 p.m.: I’m not a big believer in defensive metrics because they can’t possibly account for how a player is positioned by coaches, field conditions and other factors. There is some merit to them, but they can’t tell the whole story. But based on having watched most of the games this season and all of spring training, Jeter is moving laterally a lot better than in recent years and is making more plays to his left and right. His defense has improved considerably.
UPDATE, 2:48 p.m.: OK, Nick Swisher walks a lot. But Melky Cabrera? The Yankees need to make Garza pay this inning. First and second, top of the order.
UPDATE, 2:50 p.m.: It’s 1-1 in the fifth inning at home and you have Derek Jeter try and bunt? That is bad, bad, baseball. It’s Derek Jeter, let him swing the bat.
UPDATE, 2:51 p.m.: Brilliant, he fouls off two and then nearly grounds into a DP. You play for one run, that’s what you get. Play for a big inning and a knockout punch. Giving away outs in a 1-1 game is a bad idea.
UPDATE, 2:53 p.m.: The Yankees have handed this situation pretty terribly so far. Now watch Tex blast one.
UPDATE, 2:55 p.m.: Brutal. First and second, nobody out and they fail to score with the top of the order up. Maybe if Jeter had just been allowed to hit from the start he might have done something like get a hit.
UPDATE, 3:06 p.m: Game saver there by the Melkman. That ball gets by him and it’s two runs and a triple for Zobrist.
UPDATE, 3:09 p.m.: Joba’s lack of control is what has cost him this inning. He walked Joyce and fell behind Gross.
UPDATE, 3:40 p.m.: Yankees going quietly these last few innings. Blowing that opportunity in the fifth inning looks like the story of this game, at least so far.
UPDATE, 4:00 p.m.: Well, here is another opportunity. Runners on the corners with two outs for Alex.
UPDATE, 4:01 p.m.: I always find it ironic that Grant Balfour became a pitcher. I wonder if Joe Strikethree is out there somewhere.
UPDATE, 4:03 p.m.: Ball four from Balfour. He’s out of the game. Based loaded and one out for Robbie Cano. He’ll face lefty J.P. Howell, the son of Thurston and Lovey Howell.
UPDATE, 4:09 p.m.: This is like slow torture for the Rays as Howell walks in a run. Now it’s Posada with the bases loaded and the Yankees down a run. Mo is in the pen. A single brings him in to try again.
UPDATE, 4:10 p.m.: There’s where not having Evan Longoria hurts the Rays. That’s an inning-ending DP with him in there. Instead it’s 3-3.
Matsui can make up for a bad day here. By the way, Yankees are 19-0 when holding the opponent to three runs or less.
UPDATE, 4:11 p.m.: Boy, Matsui is brutal. He grounds to second again but it was slow enough to bring in a run as he somehow beats the throw. Yankees lead 4-3. Can Mo handle Joyce, Gross and Navarro? You have to think Longoria pinch hits at some point.
UPDATE, 4:16 p.m.: Very, very, very interesting appearance here for the Sandman.
UPDATE, 4:19 p.m.: Dillon on deck, not Longoria.
UPDATE, 4:21 p.m.: Longoria it is. What a situation after yesterday.
UPDATE, 4:23 p.m.: It would seem Mariano made a point there as he gets Longoria to ground out weakly. Yankees win 4-3. Back later with more.