Game 64: Nationals at Yankees (updates with Girardi audio, Veras DFA’d and now Slade Heathcott audio)
Pitching: LHP CC Sabathia (5-4, 3.68).
Pitching: RHP Shairon Martis (5-1, 5.04).
TIME/TV: 7:05 p.m., MY9.
STATE OF THE ‘STRIPES: The Yankees are two games out of first place in the AL East. They are 21-10 in their last 31 but 7-7 in the last 14 and only 2-4 in the last six.
NATIONAL DISASTER: Washington has lost three straight and 12 of 15. They are 6-23 on the road.
OLD FRIENDS: The Washington roster includes former Yankees Nick Johnson, Alberto “The Attorney General” Gonzalez, Ron Villone and Will Nieves. Villone is having a nice year for them. He has a 0.96 ERA in 22 appearances. He has allowed 13 hits in 18.2 innings with 10 walks and nine strikeouts.
HOME COOKING: The Yankees have won 14 of their last 19 at home.
INTERLEAGUE WOES: The Yankees were 93-63 in interleague games over the first eight years. They are 33-27 since. The Red Sox have taken advantage of the inferior competition during that stretch, going 42-18. The Yankees have the Nationals, Marlins, Braves and Mets ahead.
CAPTAIN INTERLEAGUE: Derek Jeter has has the most hits (293), at-bats (862) and runs scored (162) in interleague play. He also has hit .339 against the NL.
SWISHALICIOUS AGAIN: Nick Swisher is 15 of his last 46 (.326) over 16 games with 11 runs scored, eight RBI, 14 walks and eight extra-base hits.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES: The Yankees were 32-31 after 63 games last season. They were 32-31 in 2007, too.
JETER ON A ROLL: He is 9 of his last 18 with four RBI and four runs scored. His batting average is up to .310.
GODZILLA ON A ROLL, TOO: Hideki Matsui is 6 of his last 16 with two home runs, five RBI, five walks and five runs scored.
A-ROD IN A-SLUMP: A-Rod is 8 of 45 in June so far. After going .260/.412/.584 in his first 22 games, he is at .178/.339/.356 in his last nine.
ERA OF ERRORS: The Yankees have committed at least one error in 10 of the last 12 games.
Back with more later.
UPDATE, 3:52 p.m.: RHP Jose Veras DFA’d to make room for Brian Bruney on the roster.
UPDATE, 4:41 p.m.: Sorry about the lineup mistake. The iPhone tends to auto-correct sometimes. Swisher is playing RF.
UPDATE, 4:42 p.m.: Chien-Ming Wang was already at the park and did his throwing and running. He’ll was given the rest of the day off to see the baby, attend to his wife and rest up for the start tomorrow. It’s open-ended as to what happens tomorrow if he doesn’t pitch well. Girardi said it’s not a final chance but, realistically, it probably is.
A few other items:
• Bruney could be used in the 8th inning right away but they would prefer he settle in a little first, He also won’t go back-to-back days quite yet.
• Hideki Matsui will not start any games in the OF in the National League parks where there is no DH. They’re worried about his knees blowing up. If necessary, Girardi is willing to use him in the OF on a double-switch.
• Veras was the roster move because he is struggling so much. Have to say, I’m a little surprised because he was a guy they were proud about finding. But when the time comes, the time comes.
• Don’t expect Xavier Nady during the next road trip. He’s still not throwing adequately.
UPDATE, 4:48 p.m.: The Yankees took a round of early BP today before their regular BP. Almost everybody participated.
Meanwhile, Alex Rodriguez was in Monument Park for about 15 minutes to meet fans. There were a lot of photos taken including. Nice of Alex to take the time. The Yankees are doing these meet-and-greets once a homestand with different players. The team discourages autographs, it’s more photos and handshakes.
UPDATE, 5:09 p.m.: Here is Joe Girardi’s pre-game interview. Lots of questions about Wang, Bruney, Matsui and other subjects:
UPDATE, 5:21 p.m.: The New York Times is reporting that Sammy Sosa tested positive for PEDs in 2003.
Not exactly stunning news there. At this point, it’s sort of expected.
UPDATE, 5:24 p.m.: First-round draft pick Slade Heathcott is in the house and watching BP.
UPDATE, 6:08 p.m.: Here’s a photo of Slade Heathcott and here is some audio of his first encounter with the New York media:
Slade arrived today with area scout Mark Batchko. He’s headed back to Texas later this week for a ceremony honoring his high school team for winning the state title.
Slade seemed like a nice kid. At the moment, he’s about as big as Ramiro Pena. But he’ll get stronger, he has that sort of frame He took several rounds of BP and showed some good pop, driving the ball hard to right field.
He said all the right things to the media on the field. I spoke to him later in the clubhouse and it sure sounds like he wants to sign and get going with his career. The Yankees are smart, they got him in a uniform and on the field within a week after the draft. Good way to make an impression.
Slade was looking around the clubhouse with wide eyes. He had the locker next to Mariano Rivera. “This is really amazing,” he said. “I feel like the luckiest kid in the country right now.”
UPDATE, 7:14 p.m.: We’re underway as CC has a quick inning. A little chilly at the park tonight (63 at first pitch). I have some newspaper work to do, but I’ll check in later on.
UPDATE, 8:33 p.m.: Well, it’s 3-2 Nats here in the fifth inning as Anderson Hernandez just hit his first homer of the year, a three-run blast to left off CC Sabathia. He earlier had a long double off CC.
This team can hit. The Yankees better go to work on their pitching. They’ve managed only three hits so far.
UPDATE, 8:37 p.m.: Anderson had one previous homer (in 2006) in 325 big-league at-bats.
UPDATE, 8:47 p.m.: Same stuff as usual for the offense, at least lately. Yankees are 1 for 7 with RISP. They have four hits and been walked five times and have two runs in five innings. The June swoon (8 for 47, .170) continues for A-Rod.
Would they be better with Tex hitting clean-up at this point?
UPDATE, 8:52 p.m.: Nice running catch by the Melkman.
UPDATE, 9:07 p.m.: Um, Yankees? Yeah, you might want to score a few runs. You’re about to be embarrassed in your own park.
Meanwhile, they can’t hit Fernando Nieve. They crush Johan Santana and then they can’t hit Shairon Martis? That makes sense.
UPDATE, 9:11 p.m.: That was fast. Tough break for Martis, who lost his win in about seven seconds.
They need to get this done now. Time for Alex to get it going.
UPDATE, 9:13 p.m.: He whiffs as the crowd boos. Bad stretch for Alex.
UPDATE, 9:18 p.m.: Robbie Cano (4 for 4) gets it done. Yankees lead 4-3. CC another inning and then Mo?
Pena in for Jeter. No word on what the injury is as of yet.
UPDATE, 9:27 p.m.: So much for Bruney being allowed to get his feet wet. This is a huge spot in the game for him. Zimmerman is a tough hitter.
UPDATE, 9:35 p.m.: Jeter has what is being called “left ankle stiffness.”
UPDATE, 9:46 p.m.: Derek Jeter, who needs him? Ramiro Pena’s RBI single makes it 5-3. Big run there. If this score holds up, CC will be 5-1, 2.92 in his last eight starts.
This also would be the 22nd come-from-behind win of the season
UPDATE, 10:05 p.m.: Yankees win, embarrassment avoided. Nice game by Robbie Cano. 4 for 4, thre RBI and a bunch of sweet plays in the field.
Back with reaction later,