Pitching: RHP A.J. Burnett (8-4, 3.81).
Pitching: RHP Jason Berken (1-7, 6.44).
TIME/TV: 1:05, YES.
STATE OF THE ‘STRIPES: The Yankees have won five straight (all since the All-Star break) and 18 of 23 overall. They have moved back into sole possession of first place in the American League East and are undefeated on a homestand that has five games left.
BURNETT VS. BALTIMORE: A.J. Burnett, who lives in Maryland, is 8-1, 4.83 against Baltimore in his career. He faced them once this season, at Camden Yards on April 9. He lasted 5.1 innings and allowed two runs, albeit on seven hits. He walked one and struck out six.
Burnett did not pitch especially well in his first outing after the break, giving up three runs in six innings against Detroit. But he is 4-1 since June 14.
IT STARTS WITH PITCHING: Here’s how the pitching staff has done since the break: 45 innings, 35 hits, 10 runs, 9 earned runs, 18 walks, 37 strikeouts. The Yankees have a 3.66 ERA since May 13.
GARDNER RETURNS: Melky Cabrera (29 of his last 130, 2 of 17 since the break) takes a seat and Brett Gardner is back. Gardner, somewhat curiously, has had only 10 plate appearances in the last eight games.
BULLYING BALTIMORE: The Yankees are 8-3 against the Orioles this season and have won none straight against them in the Bronx. Baltimore is 2-24 in its last 26 road games the division.
WHO IS THIS GUY? Jason Berken, 25, has a 1.64 WHIP in 50.1 innings and was knocked around by the White Sox in his last start. He is a former sixth-round draft choice (2006) out of Clemson.
HIT PARADE: Derek Jeter has 2,650 hits. That’s four fewer than Ted Williams. Yes, I know, Williams went off to war twice. But passing Teddy Ballgame on the all-time hits list is a pretty cool thing.
RELIEVER ROLES: Joe Girardi has his bullpen roles pretty locked down these days.
Hughes: 8th inning with a lead
Coke: Left-handed specialist with a lead
Aceves: Anytime with a lead
Robertson: 5th or 6th inning in losing game that still maybe could be won.
Bruney: Buried. Use only when trailing
Melancon: Killing time until being sent back. They’d probably rather have Albaladejo.
FIREWORKS: The Yankees are 12-5 in July.
HAPPY IN THE BRONX: The Yankees have won 25 of their last 39 games at home.
OK, that’s it for now. Back later with plenty more.
UPDATE, 1:11 p.m.: We’re underway in the Bronx as the Yankees go for the sweep. Enjoy the game wherever you are.
UPDATE, 1:15 p.m.: In case you missed it, the Red Sox obtained 1B Adam LaRoche from the Pirates for two prospects, RHP Hunter Strickland and SS Argenis Diaz. LaRoche has roughly $2.98 million left on his contract for this season.
When did the Pirates become an AL East farm team? I’m probably forgetting somebody, but in the last year they have traded Jason Bay, Xavier Nady, Damaso Marte, Eric Hinske and now LaRoche to the Red Sox or Yankees.
Meanwhile, the Yankees are already smacking around Berken. Three hits in the first inning including an RBI single by A-Rod. 1-0.
UPDATE, 1:33 p.m.: How do people actually become fans of the Orioles? They have not had a winning season since 1997. If I was a kid in Maryland I’d run away from home and find a better team. At least the Ravens are pretty good.
The Yankees are up 4-0. Swisher had a two-run single. The thumping has commenced.
UPDATE, 1:44 p.m.: The Yankees announced some more football games today. Here is the complete schedule:
Nov. 20, 2010: Notre Dame vs. Army
Nov. 12, 2011: Rutgers vs. Army
Nov. 3, 2012: Air Force vs. Army
Nov. 8, 2014: Boston College vs. Army
While it’ll be cool to see football at the Stadium, Army has been a bad team in recent years, going 3-9 last season. If they don’t become more competitive, those games will be routs.
UPDATE, 2:03 p.m.: That nutty Nick Swisher. Screws up a play and then makes a great play to save two runs. Yankees still up 4-0.
UPDATE, 2:09 p.m.: That Posada HR reminds me, how are the Yankees winning all these games and pitching so well without Johnny Bench Cervelli calling every pitch and showing so much energy?
It was comical how people thought Cervelli should be catching ahead of Posada. Maybe someday. Not in 2009.
UPDATE, 2:21 p.m.: So according to this gossip site, Kate Hudson’s friend smashed up A-Rod’s car today. Alex was not in the car at the time, apparently. Meanwhile, all of Minka Kelly’s friends are excellent drivers.
UPDATE, 2:39 p.m.: Yankees still up 5-0. This one has “let’s just get this over with” written all over it. Two more innings out of Burnett and then maybe Bruney or Melancon?
UPDATE, 2:58 p.m.: Berken has actually pitched pretty well since the first inning. But it’s 5-0 after six innings.
UPDATE, 3:12 p.m.: That’s likely it for Burnett as he allows two in the seventh. Now here is the dilemma if you’re Joe Girardi, is a three-run lead enough for Bruney or do you go Hughes and Mo and lock it down?
UPDATE, 3:30 p.m.: Can’t blame Girardi. You need to use your best guys. Hughes delivers yet another scoreless inning. The Yankees are in the business of winning games, not soothing egos. Girardi has his guys and he’s going to use them.
UPDATE, 3:40 p.m.: OK, now you can use Bruney. Posada’s double makes it 6-2.
UPDATE, 3:46 p.m.: Jeter with a chance to bust it open as GGBG loads the bases with an infield hit. Two down.
UPDATE, 3:47 p.m.: Nope. Bruney will get a 6-2 lead. He needs to show them something here.
UPDATE, 3:51 p.m.: Bruney fanned Andino and then threw one halfway up the backstop. But he’s hitting 95.
UPDATE, 3:53 p.m.: Wow, Bruney K’s two guys then gives up a bomb to Adam Jones and one to Nick Markakis.
UPDATE, 3:54 p.m.: Girardi not messing around, Bruney is out. Mariano in for the save.
UPDATE, 3:55 p.m.: This is a waste of an appearance for Mo. Ridiculous that he needs to come into this game. But Girardi can’t take a chance.
UPDATE, 3:59 p.m.: Pump your fist on that, Aubrey.
Weird stretch for the Yankees. Sweep, swept, sweep, sweep. But they’re 20 games over. Now you go for 25. What a success HOPE Week has been.