Pitching: LHP Andy Pettitte (8-5, 4.85).
Pitching: RHP David Hernandez (2-2, 3.94).
TIME/TV: 7:05, YES.
STATE OF THE STRIPES: The Yankees have won three straight since the All-Star Break and are 16-5 in their last 21 games. They trail the Red Sox by one game in the East. The Red Sox open a series in Texas with John Smoltz facing the inexplicably successful Kevin Millwood.
PETTITTE AND THE BIRDS: Andy Pettitte likes facing the Orioles. He’s 25-6, 3.73 in 35 career starts against Baltimore, 10-2, 2.76 in the Bronx. He is facing them for the first time since last Sept. 21. Aided by all that is right and holy, he beat the Orioles in the final game at the Old Yankee Stadium, allowing two earned runs over five innings.
PITCHING POWER: The line for the last three games: 27 innings, 20 hits, 5 earned runs, 12 walks, 24 strikeouts.
YEARS FROM NOW, WE’LL LEARN HE WAS AN ALIEN LIFE FORM. OR MAYBE A ROBOT: Mariano Rivera has converted 38 consecutive save opportunities at home going back to 2007. He has thrown 13.1 scoreless innings in his last 13 appearances, allowing four hits with one walk and 12 strikeouts.
HEADING FOR NEW HEIGHTS: The Yankees are 17 games over .500. They have not been 18 games over .500 since the final day of the 2007 season when they were 94-68.
BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM: A-Rod has five homers in the last six games and one in each of the last two games. He is at 19 for the season (remarkably, only 20 players have more) and 572 for his career. He needs one to tie Harmon Killebrew for ninth place all-time. Of Alex’s 19 homers, 10 have either tied the game or given the Yankees the lead.
OBLIGATORY “PHIL HUGHES IS THE MAN” NOTE OF THE DAY: The Franchise has thrown 16.2 scoreless innings in his last 13 appearances, allowing nine hits with three walks and 21 strikeouts.
HOME COOKING: The Yankees have won 23 of their last 32 games at home.
SLIP SLIDING AWAY: Got these stats from an observant reader:
Melky Cabrera’s first 128 at-bats: .328/.374/.492
Melky Cabrera’s last 128 at-bats: .234/.310/.367
If you recall, this is pretty much what happened last season, although he went in the tank earlier. Given the state of Old Aches and Pains Damon, this is not a good sign. By no means whatsoever am I advocating the arrival of Austin Jackson (.320/.387/.444 in 85 games at AAA), but he could well become a viable option in September if Melky doesn’t figure it out.
A-Jax is whiffing enough (81 times in 322 at-bats) to cause you to wonder how he would fare against big-league pitching. But he hits lefties pretty well. If nothing else, you can use that 40-man spot that is open to get him up here in September.
ON THE iPOD RIGHT NOW: This Land Is Your Land by Bruce Springsteen. Live on Sept. 30, 1985 from the Los Angeles Coliseum. Bruce and the ESB are in Italy this week. Would love to be there for that. The European crowds are amazing.
Back later with much more.
UPDATE, 4:01 p.m.: Chien-Ming Wang is playing catch right now. … They’re about to announce the Notre Dame-Army game. Hal Steinbrenner and Charlie Weis in the house along with Randy Levine and Lonn Trost.
Game will be Nov. 20, 2010.
UPDATE, 4:17 p.m.: The field will go from center field to home plate. Trost said the team also hopes to host a hockey game.
UPDATE, 4:48 p.m.: Wang felt pain. Shut down until Friday. Girardi mentioned rotator cuff issues. At this point, Girardi admitted, anything they get from him is a bonus.
Girardi said that Aceves would be easier to return to the rotation than Hughes as he is more stretched out. Girardi said he is concerned about their rotation depth.
UPDATE, 6:08 p.m.: Here is Hal Steinbrenner:
He talks about what he thinks of the team, the “looseness” of the team and what his expectations are.
UPDATE, 6:15 p.m.: Here is Joe Girardi’s pre-game interview session. He talks about assorted issues including Chien-Ming Wang, the bullpen, etc.
UPDATE, 6:28 p.m.: Damaso Marte to AAA tomorrow. … Hal met with Girardi today. … Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal in town as well as part of HOPE week. …
UPDATE, 7:09 p.m.: We’re underway on another beautiful night. … So Markakis homers into the Yankees bullpen. Somebody flips the ball into the crowd and the bozo throws it back on the field. It rolls around, delaying the next pitch until Hinske picks it up and flips it back into the crowd. So of course people start chanting, “Throw it back.”
The “throw the ball back” stuff is played out. It was moderately amusing when they did it at Wrigley Field decades ago. Now it’s just stupid. If you’re such a wonderful fan that you can’t stand to have a ball the other team hit, give it to a kid.
Anyway, 1-0 going to the bottom of the inning.
UPDATE, 7:20 p.m.: Bad news for bartenders on the East Side. The A’s placed The Big G on the disabled list.
UPDATE, 7:31 p.m.: Do you think his Little League coach ever told Cano “A walk is as good as a hit.” I’m guessing no. He has fouled off ball four twice.
UPDATE, 7:32 p.m.: And he lines to center. Robbie and RISP never a good combination.
UPDATE, 7:42 p.m.: Hinske with your best shot! It’s 1-1.
UPDATE, 8:33 p.m.: If I had more updates, I’d post them. Pretty nondescript game so far. 1-1 and the teams have combined for five hits. Petitte and Hernandez are pitching well.
UPDATE, 8:58 p.m.: Can’t ask for more from Andy. 7 4 1 1 2 7. Hernandez is done and the Yankees will face Mark Hendrickson, who should have stuck with basketball.
UPDATE, 9:11 p.m.: Dicey spot for Coke, runners on second and third with one out in the 8th with Markakis up.
Girardi might have pushed it a bit with Andy but he was pitching well.
UPDATE, 9:14 p.m.: Good throw and a great tag. Molina is so good. He reached across the plate and slapped his glove in the exact right spot. This would be huge to get out of this jam.
UPDATE, 9:16 p.m.: Wow, Jose Molina. Another fantastic play. Roberts never touched the plate. Unreal.
Yankees have to win this game now. Somebody hit a home run and get this over with.