Pitching: RHP A.J. Burnett (9-4, 3.74).
Pitching: RHP James Shields (6-6, 3.70).
TIME/TV: 7:10, YES.
STATE OF THE ‘STRIPES: The Yankees were 9-1 on their homestand and tonight start a nine-game road trip to Tampa, Chicago and Toronto. They lead Boston by 2.5 games and Tampa by 6.5. The Yankees have won 22 of their last 28 and 45 of 66.
ROAD WARRIORS: The Yankees are 25-21 on the road. Only the Angels (28-20) are better in the AL.
LOOK OUT, JOE: The Dodgers (62-36) will have the best record in baseball but the Yankees are only two games behind them now.
RAYS REPORT: The Yankees are 4-4 against the Rays this season.
SERIES STREAK: The Yankees have won eight of their last nine series. They have won 22 series this season, two fewer than all of last season.
SWEET 16s: Here is the latest on the Sandman and the Franchise:
Mariano Rivera’s last 16 games: 16 innings, 4 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, 15 strikeouts.
Phil Hughes’ last 16 games: 21 innings, 11 hits, 0 runs, 4 walks, 25 strikeouts.
BURNETT BLASTS OFF: A.J. Burnett has a 1.93 ERAin his last seven games. Opponents have hit .208 against him.
THEY’RE HOT: Derek Jeter is 6 of 13 with six RBI … Mark Teixeira is 6 of 16 with five RBI and four extra-base hits … Jorge Posada is 7 of 17 with five runs scored, five RBI and four extra-base hits. … Melky Cabrera is 5 of 8 with thee runs scored and four walks … Cody Ransom is 3 of 7 with three doubles and three runs scored.
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS MAN: Mark Melancon has not pitched since July 10.
WELL-RESTED: Alex Rodriguez had yesterday off. He is 1 of his last 12 with six strikeouts.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: A-Rod turns 34 today. The beat writers are all chipping in and taking him out for dinner tonight after the game. What a time that will be. We’re thinking of either Macaroni Grill or Applebees. He can get whatever he wants.
Back with more later.
UPDATE, 4:24 p.m.: Second-round draft pick J.R. Murphy is in the clubhouse and will work out with the team.
UPDATE, 5:08 p.m.: The first place Yankees will be secondary news tomorrow with the bizarre happenings in Queens. Omar Minaya accused the News beat writer of bringing down Tony Bernazard because he wanted his job. Today seems like beginning of the end for Minaya.
UPDATE, 5:45 p.m.: Joe Girardi just said they wanted to keep the extra pitcher because the bullpen is a little short (Hughes is down today, for instance). Melancon is not really available in a tight spot, either. Not fair to just toss him in there at this point.
They will need a CF at some point, or at least another OF. There is little chance Johnny Damon can play every day, especially not with five of the next nine games on turf. They don’t seem to want Eric Hinske lumbering around in left field. They seem only to trust him in right field at this point.
UPDATE, 5:58 p.m.: Here is the Girardi audio. He was in the dugout, so the quality is not terrific. Best I could do:
UPDATE, 6:38 p.m.: You have to watch of these videos over on SNY.TV of the Mets fiasco today.
One of the first things you learn at journalism school is not to become the story. This has to be a bad spot for Rubin. But Minaya is teetering on the brink of full-scale nuttiness. It’s unfathomable how the Wilpons could let him run their team at this point.
I covered the Mets before I was promoted to the Yankees. They are are wildly dysfunctional organization but what happened today was an all-timer. It’s too bad because Mets fans are largely good folks who care deeply about their team. They deserve better.
UPDATE, 6:52 p.m.: There is a report on AOL Fanhouse that the Yankees are interested in Bronson (or as A-Rod calls him, Brandon) Arroyo. Considering he has roughly $16 million left on his deal, the Reds would have to include a boatload of money. Can’t see them taking on that much money for a No. 5 starter.
Arroyo is still scheduled to start tomorrow for the Reds. This rumor seems like just that, a rumor.
UPDATE, 7:08 p.m.: We’re underway in Tampa. A nice 72 degrees inside The Trop. Good pitching matchup, should be a fun game to watch.
UPDATE, 7:11 p.m.: After a little more checking, the Arroyo thing is not true.
UPDATE, 7:30 p.m.: How about Hideki? He scores from first on a double by Posada. Matsui looked like he had just finished a marathon when he scored. But it’s 1-0.
UPDATE, 7:32 p.m.: Robbie again with the RISP? So Matsui scores from first and Cano triples with a runner on second? This is real wrath of God type stuff. Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies. Rivers and seas boiling. Forty years of darkness. Earthquakes, volcanoes. The dead rising from the grave. Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria.
UPDATE, 7:47 p.m.: Breaking news: Brian Cashman is talking trade with Adam Rubin of the Mets. Johan Santana for Alan Horn, Kei Igawa, Cody Ransom and a PTBNL.
Meanwhile, A.J. Burnett is having a classic A.J. Burnett game: No hits, four strikeouts, two walks, wild pickoff throw, 159 pitches in two innings. OK, only 37. But still.
UPDATE, 7:56 p.m.: The Reds just shot down the Arroyo rumor, too. Mike Francesa said to be furious.
UPDATE, 8:16 p.m.: OK, so Cano now has a hit with a runner in scoring position and has drawn a walk. Has that ever happened in the same game before?
UPDATE, 8:41 p.m.: A-Rod got rung up on a low pitch by Brian Knight. He barked at him a few seconds but was not tossed. Joe Girardi came in for the rescue.
A-Rod is 1 for 14 with seven strikeouts in the last four games.
UPDATE, 8:55 p.m.: A.J. Burnett is throwing an absolute gem through five innings: 1 hit, 0 runs, 2 walks, 4 Ks. He has retired eight straight. 3-0 Yankees.
UPDATE, 8:58 p.m.: And it’s an R-Bomb for Robbie. The Canoabino! Yankees lead 4-0.
UPDATE, 8:59 p.m.: Wow, Swish just hit one to right field that nearly reached the back row. 5-0 Yankees. Ninth time the Yanks have gone back-to-back this season.
UPDATE, 9:34 p.m.: Burrell can’t run but, wow, A-Rod has a cannon.
UPDATE, 9:39 p.m.: Counting tonight, Burnett has a 1.68 ERA in his last seven starts.
UPDATE, 9:48 p.m.: The Birthday Boy lines a two-run double off the wall in left. Yankees 7-1 and this game is well in hand. Kate Hudson in the crowd cheering like crazy. Tampa TV keeps showing her. Not because she is a celebrity, because she’s the youngest person ever to attend a Rays game.
UPDATE, 10:04 p.m.: Albaladejo gets ripped, forcing Mariano to get up. It’s poor innings like this that lead to Mo being used needlessly and cause problems in games later in the week.
Melancon needs to pitch at some point, no? A 7-1 lead wasn’t enough?
UPDATE, 10:06 p.m.: Big K by Dave Robertson there. Telling you, he’s going to be very, very good down the road.
UPDATE, 10:17 p.m.: Career home run 200 for Johnny. Yankees open it up, 11-3. Back later with reaction from the clubhouse.