Happy Birthday to George Steinbrenner, who turns 79 today.
Pitching: RHP Chien-Ming Wang (1-6, 10.06).
BLUE JAYS (42-39)
Pitching: RHP Roy Halladay (10-2, 2.56).
TIME/TV: 1:05 p.m., YES.
STATE OF THE ‘STRIPES: The Yankees have won eight of nine and trail Boston by a mere two games in the AL East. They are 3-1 on their current homestand and are 3-1 against the Jays this season.
4TH OF JULY BLUES: The Yankee have lost three straight on July 4 and seven of their last 10.
HALLADAY ON THE HOLIDAY: Halladay is 16-5 with a 2.79 ERA against the Yankees in his career, 13-2 over his last 19 starts. He beat them on May 12 at the Rogers Centre, allowing one run on five hits over nine innings. This will be his second start since coming off the disabled list. He allowed two runs on five hits over six innings against Tampa Bay on Monday.
BUILDING ON SUCCESS: Chien-Ming Wang went a season-best 5.1 innings against the Mets in his last start, getting his first win in more than a year.
RISP REPORT: The Yankees have won three of four on the homestand despite going 5 of 30 with runners in scoring position.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PITCHING: The Yankees are 29-3 when they hold their opponents to three runs or less.
ABOUT THE JAYS: Rolen has a 20-game hit streak, the longest current streak in the AL. He is hitting .415 (34 of 82) during the streak with three homers and 12 RBI. … Alex Rios has hit safely in 37 of his last 39 games against the Yankees.
THEY’RE HOT: Derek Jeter has a nine-game hit streak. … Hideki Matsui is 4 of 9 with three RBI and three extra-base hits.
IT’S A TOUGH DIVISION: Here are the top teams in baseball in terms of run differential:
Red Sox + 73
Yankees + 58
Blue Jays +38
A BEAST APPROACHES: Jesus Montero’s last five games for Trenton: 11 of 19, 7 runs, 5 home runs, 8 RBI, 1 double. He is hitting .346 in 22 games since being promoted. By all accounts, he is the man.
ON THE iPOD RIGHT NOW: Lake Charles by Lucinda Williams followed by Cupid by the great Sam Cooke.
Back with much, much more later on.
UPDATE, 12:53 p.m.: The Yankees just showed a clip of different players reading Gehrig’s speech with the final line from being Gehrig. Pretty emotional stuff.
UPDATE, 1:08 p.m.: We’re about ready for first pitch. Nowhere better to be on the Fourth of July than a ballpark, I think.
Hope you’re having a great day and enjoy the game wherever you are.
UPDATE, 1:16 p.m.: Ladies and gentlemen, I have a a major breaking news story. Chien-Ming Wang’s ERA is under 10.00. It’s 9.80 to be exact. Let us all pause to take this moment in.
UPDATE, 1;24 p.m.: Well how about that? The great Halladay walks only his 15th batter of the season. Damon goes to second on a hit and run, avoiding the double play when Teixeira grounded to second. Then he scores on A-Rod’s single.
Great send by Rob Thompson against Rios. Who knows how many chance you’re going to get against Halladay?
UPDATE, 1:34 p.m.: So much for that as Wang loses Overbay, allows a bloop double and then a two-run single. 2-1 Jays.
UPDATE, 1:43 p.m.: Godzilla drives one into the seats and it’s 2-2. Matsui is 5 of his last 10 with four RBI and four extras. He has three careers dingers against Halladay.
UPDATE, 1:59 p.m.: Cano 0 for his last 17 with RISP and 20 of 98 (.204) on the season. Yet he continues to hit fifth. Girardi said today he has had bad luck. 98 bats suggest something other than bad luck.
UPDATE, 2:04 p.m.: Rolen extends his hit streak to 21 games.
UPDATE, 2:10 p.m.: Shocking first four innings here in the Bronx as the Yankees are leading Roy Halladay 3-2. Yanks have four hits and have drawn two walks, which against Holiday is usually nine innings worth of offense.
UPDATE, 2:21 p.m.: Chien-Ming Wang is dealing. He had 10 groundball outs in five innings. He has allowed four earned runs over his last 10.1 innings. Not bad, not bad at all.
Yankees 3-2 into the bottom of the fifth. Halladay at 62 pitches.
UPDATE, 2:30 p.m.: Gotta love Cano. Halladay walks A-Rod and Cano swings at the first pitch and grounds out to end the inning. 0 for last 18 with RISP. More bad luck I guess.
UPDATE, 2:38 p.m.: The right field jet stream giveth and taketh away. Lind’s jack gives Toronto a 4-3 lead.
Now Wang is being taken out of the game with a trainer. No word on what is wrong with him.
UPDATE, 2:42 p.m.: Wang has allowed seven homers in 42 innings. He allowed four in 95 innings last season and nine over 199.1 innings in 2007.
UPDATE, 3:22 p.m.: Wang as a strained right shoulder and has been taken for an MRI.
This is bad news for Wang. He had shoulder surgery on April 2, 2001 and missed that entire season. He also missed nearly two months in 2005 with shoulder inflammation.
UPDATE, 3:28 p.m.: Meanwhile, Johnny Damon hits another Yankee Stadium Special into the right field seats and the Yankees have tied it. Four home runs today and counting.
UPDATE, 3:31 p.m.: There have been 135 HRs hit here in 40 games. There were 160 hit over 81 games at the old Stadium last season. What a farce.
At any rate, new game and Hughes on the hill. If Wang is badly hurt, this is could be a tune-up for a start.
UPDATE, 3:54 p.m.: Mo in a tie game. Usually not a good thing. Kind of like Cano with men on base.
UPDATE, 3:58 p.m.: Mo survives a hit. Now it’s winning time. Jeter, Damon and Tex. Somebody can manage to hit a cheapie into the RF seats and send everybody home, I’m sure.
UPDATE, 4:05 p.m.: Jeter walks. This game is over, just a question of how it happens now.
UPDATE, 4:14 p.m.: Toronto wisely will walk A-Rod and face the RISP-challenged Robinson Cano. I’d say he’s about due, no?
Single over the second baseman’s head. Pay attention.
UPDATE, 4:19 p.m.: Cano can’t even hit the ball hard when men on base. Let’s review …
• 0 x 3 with RISP today.
• 0 x his last 19 with RISP.
• 20 x 99 (.202) on the season.
Girardi needs an intervention if he hits Cano fifth tomorrow. Get Matsui back there.
Yankees are 6 of 38 with RISP on the homestand.
UPDATE, 4:27 p.m.: That Phil Coke ain’t no joke. Yankees pen tosses up another zero with some slip, slidin’ help from GGBG in center. Now Posada, Ransom and the ever-clutch Melkman get their shot.
UPDATE, 4:31 p.m.: I’m going to Hollywood to write a script where a baseball manager gives an inspirational speech before a game so ballparks can have something to show other than clips from lame football movies.
I’ll call it Any Given Torre. Or Girardi Night Lights.
UPDATE, 4:39 p.m.: Stretching Coke here a bit.
UPDATE, 4:42 p.m.: You have to be careful using too much Coke. Don’t want to get carried away.
UPDATE: 4:57 p.m.: Nice work by Shawn Camp: 2 0 0 0 0 4.
UPDATE, 4:57 p.m.: Aceves must need a day off as Tomko comes on. Top of the order, too.
UPDATE, 5:05 p.m.: Yankee relievers the last six innings: 3 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk (intentional) and 2 strikeouts. That’s some quality work.
UPDATE, 5:09 p.m.: One more try for Cano. 0 x last 19 with RISP. Overdue.
UPDATE, 5:10 p.m.: Bunting? Really? The Yankees are bunting their No. 5 hitter?
UPDATE, 5:11 p.m.: Cano can’t bunt and guess what, he bunted right into an out at third base. Just brutal. If you don’t think he can hit in the clutch, then why in the world is he hitting fifth?
UPDATE, 5:14 p.m.: But Jorge Posada knows his business. Yankees win, one game out.