Pitching: RHP A.J. Burnett (8-4, 3.77)
Pitching: LHP Lucas French (1-0, 1.93).
TIME/TV: 7:05 p.m., YES.
STATE OF THE STRIPES: The Yankees have had four days off since since being swept by the Los Angeles Angels last weekend. They have lost four of their last seven to sink three games behind Boston in the American League East. However, they lead the Wild Card standings.
TIGER TANGLE: The Yankees took two of three against the Tigers in Detroit earlier this season.
A.J. FOR STARTERS: Burnett is 4-1, 1.34 in his last five starts, allowing 23 hits over 33.2 innings while striking out 35. He is 3-1 against the Tigers in his career but with an 8.03 ERA.
MR. FRENCH, MR. FRENCH: Lucas French is a 23-year-old lefty who has appeared in four games and made two starts. In 14 innings, he has allowed 12 hits and fanned eight. He beat the Royals and Zack Greinke on July 9, allowing one run over 6.1 innings. French was Detroit’s eighth-round draft pick in 2004 out of a high school in Colorado.
A TEST: The Yankees are 5-15 against teams that lead their respective divisions at the moment.
CENTRAL SUCCESS: The Yankees are 16-5 against teams from the AL Central.
RED-HOT ROBBIE: Robinson Cano is 18 of 50 this month.
DOWNTRODDEN DAMON: Johnny Damon is 5 of 30 this month with five runs scored.
ONE-RUN RUNDOWN: The Yankees are 12-11 in one-run games, having lost seven of their last 10.
JETERIFFIC: Derek Jeter is 29 of his last 76 (.382) since June 21. He has raised his batting average from .301 to .321.
MATSUI MASHING: Hideki Matsui is 12 of his last 31 with four homers and 12 RBI and six runs scored.
THE PHIL PHACTOR: Phil Hughes as a reliever: 13 games, 18.2 innings, 7 hits, 2 earned runs, 5 walks, 19 strikeouts.
AND STILL THE HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD: Mariano Rivera has allowed one run in his last 13.2 innings while fanning 15. … By the way, he has walked nine batters in his last 111.2 innings going back to 2007. That is insane.
ROBBIE, DON’T RUN: Robinson Cano has attempted 34 stolen bases in his career and been successful only 16 times.
A-ROD ON A ROLL: Alex Rodriguez is 22 of his last 59 with eight homers, 22 RBI and 17 runs scored.
Kevin Devaney is on duty this evening and will handle the blog from here on out. I’ll be back on Sunday.
UPDATE, 4:18 p.m.: Sergio Mitre to start Tuesday against the Orioles. Alfredo Aceves back to the bullpen.
Also LHP Mike Dunn was called up to Scranton. Reliever with good K numbers, too many walks. Has a chance.
UPDATE, 6:08 p.m.: Kevin Devaney here, filling in for Pete for the rest of the night. Aside from Mitre being announced as the Tuesday starter, not much else came out of the pregame.
Girardi did say that ARod would keep a similar playing schedule in the second half as he had before the break — a day off or DH one day per week.
Girardi also said he’s not at all concerned with the back end of the rotation despite Joba’s and Pettitte’s struggles. Joba will come around and Pettitte has had “good stuff” of late but just hasn’t gotten results.
Hideki Matsui worked out in the outfield in the afternoon but won’t see any time there barring an emergency.
Other than that, not much. I’ll check in throughout the game with any news and notes.
Update, 7:44 p.m.: The Yankees announced that Dwight Gooden, Mike Mussina, Mel Stottlemyre and Don Zimmer will be among the participants in Sunday’s Old Timers Day at the Stadium. Gates open to ticket holders at 10 a.m. Pregame introductions are at 11:45, followed by the game. I’m 29 years old and it’s weird to even imagine Gooden as an “Old Timer” let alone Mussina.
Update, 7:52 p.m.: I’m not totally sure why, but I constantly look at players’ historical stats from pre-All Star Break and post-All Star Break. Although tonight has been a little rough so far, A.J. Burnett has pitched better in his career after the break. The breakdown:
Career before the break: 119 games, 43-42 record with a 3.90 ERA.
Career after the break: 113 games, 52-38 record with a 3.71 ERA.
These are huge discrepencies, of course. But last year he was 10-8 with a 4.96 ERA before the break and 8-2 and 2.86 after. In ’07 it was 5-6 and 4.31 and 5-2 and 3.01 after.
Update, 8:38 p.m.: There are two versions of A.J. Burnett: The electric and the frustrating. Tonight is one of those games where you want to pull your hair out watching him pitch. Five walks and a hit batter and he’s not out of the fifth inning. It’s the two-out walks that bother you the most.
Burnett started the inning by leaving a pitch out over the middle to Granderson, who homered. He got bailed out by Melky on a throw from center (it helped that Miguel Cabrera did his usual half-effort running the bases). Tough outing so far for A.J. However, there’s plenty of game left.
Update, 9:04 p.m.: It wouldn’t be impossible for the Yankees to score 2 or 3 runs here and then have the bullpen put up zeros and get A.J. the win, would it? That’s my prediction.
Update, 9:31 p.m.: It’s beginning to rain here at the Stadium. Showers were expected.
Update, 9:35 p.m.: The Journal News seat in the press box is just to the left of home plate. When that ball left Mark Teixeira’s bat, from my angle, I was pretty certain it was going to hit the moon.
Update, 10:08 p.m.: Rain delay… I wouldn’t say I’m afraid of thunder and lightning. But I’m a little uneasy sitting here listening to roars off in the distance. It’s really pouring here, too. Might be a while.
Update, 10:11 p.m.: It’s officially monsooning here at the Stadium. Lightning is flashing.
UPDATE, 10:26 p.m.: The rain is letting up but there’s nobody out on the field. Keep you posted.
UPDATE, 11:01 p.m.: Well, we’re a minute or so away from starting back up. The Tigers have taken the field. Jeter up.