Pitching: LHP Andy Pettitte (6-3, 4.52).
Pitching: LHP Sean West (2-1, 3.00).
TIME/TV: 7:10 p.m., YES.
HERE WE GO AGAIN: The Yankees are facing a losing team with a 23-year-old rookie starter they have never seen before. Obviously they have no chance whatsoever.
INTERLEAGUE ISSUES: The Yankees are 4-5 against the National League this season and 14-13 over the last two years. They are 24-21 over the last three years and 34-29 over the last four years.
SLUMPING: The Yankees have lost two straight and five of their last eight.
HOMECOMING: Outside of two exhibition games in 2008, Miami native Alex Rodriguez has not played at whatever they call the stadium the Marlins play in these days. Maybe that will help him get a few hits. Here is the breakdown of his slump:
• 8 of 55 (.145) in June.
• Last 10 games: 3 for 34 (.088) with a .262 OBP.
• 2 for 21 on the last homestand.
• Four extra-base hits in his last 19 games, a span of 66 at-bats.
• His season average is down to .212. But he does have a .370 OBP thanks to 29 walks in 38 games. But at what point will teams stop walking him?
PITCHING PROGRESS: Last four games: 35 innings, 27 hits, 9 earned runs, 14 walks, 34 strikeouts.
BULLISH ON THE BULLPEN: Last five games for the relievers: 14.1 innings, 9 hits, 1 earned run, 3 walks, 16 strikeouts.
SWISH STOPS SKID: Nick Swisher’s two hits last came after an 0-for-18 streak.
OFFENSIVE WOES: The Yankees scored seven runs in the last three games, two in the last two.
Back with more later.
UPDATE, 3:32 p.m.: This being South Florida, rain is coming and they’re putting the tarp down. But it always rains here in the late afternoon then it clears out.
UPDATE, 4:01 p.m.: Talked to Brett Gardner. He’s still woozy and has a headache.
UPDATE, 4:39 p.m.: BREAKING NEWS: A-Rod out of the lineup. Will sit the next two days. More to come.
UPDATE, 4:54 p.m.: Alex was in the lineup. Then it was decided he was “fatigued” and needed two days off. Girardi admitted he should have given him time off before this.
UPDATE, 5:25 p.m.: Berroa at third.
UPDATE, 5:37 p.m.: Angel Berroa? I have no idea why. … Meanwhile, Alex told us that he went to see Girardi after the game last night and asked for time off. But he was in the lineup today. Then, after a conversation that included Brian Cashman, not only was he out of the lineup today, he’s out tomorrow as well.
A-Rod has been told to do nothing. But he will be available to pinch hit.
Alex spoke to the media for longer than he has all season after going over what he was going to say with the media relations director. He said the original plan was to take a day off once a week when he returned but that he asked to stay in the lineup. A-Rod also talked about missing spring training. “That’s a holy time for me,” he said.
“You can’t forget I was on crutches two months ago,” he said. That isn’t exactly true. He started workouts in Tampa on April 14 and took batting practice that day. He was on crutches three months ago.
The general idea, it seems, is that the Yankees hope the time off will renew Alex’s energy and improve his swing. Hitting coach Kevin Long said that of Alex’s last 70 swings, 50 were “reaches.” That compact swing he has when he’s going well is missing.
UPDATE, 6:04 p.m.: Here is Alex’s pre-game session with reporters:
UPDATE, 7:17 p.m.: We’re underway in Miami. 1-0 Yankees already, much to the delight of the crowd. Mostly Yankees fans here.
UPDATE, 7:33 p.m.: The well-rested Angel Berroa just ripped a double to the gap in left. Seems like Joe Girardi is a genius. This is a big night for Berroa. All his friends from Del Boca Vista (Phase II) are at the game.
UPDATE, 7:34 p.m.: And Pettitte with an RBI double as well. That’s what the Yankee offense needed, Berroa and a pitcher at the bottom of the order. Or course.
UPDATE, 7:40 p.m.: Sean West didn’t get the secret plans for rookie pitchers on how to beat the Yankees apparently. Now it’s 4-0 and they have eight hits.
UPDATE, 8:05 p.m.: Big (relatively speaking for this market) crowd here and they all seem to be Yankees fans. That has to be a weird feeling for the Marlins.
UPDATE, 8:30 p.m.: Andy putting together a nice outing. Meanwhile Sean West has fanned seven including six of the last nine batters he has faced.
Yankees lead 6-1.
UPDATE, 8:41 p.m.: Intentionally walking Melky to get to Berroa? The nerve of those Marlins.
UPDATE, 8:43 p.m.: Oh, that NL strategy. Berroa pops up and now Pettitte is up. It’s such a different game.
UPDATE, 9:15 p.m.: Aceves warming up. Pettitte has allowed three hits over six innings and still appears strong, however.
UPDATE, 9:30 p.m.: That’ll probably be it for Pettitte. 7 innings, 1 hits, 1 run, 0 walks, 7 strikeouts.
UPDATE, 9:50 p.m.: Every Yankees starter has at least one hit. … Update on Xavier Nady: He played four innings in right field and went 2 for 3 with a walk during a minor-league exhibition game across the state in Clearwater. He reported no problems. This was his first action in the outfield since he hurt his elbow.