Pitching: RHP A.J. Burnett (10-5, 3.67).
BLUE JAYS (54-58)
Pitching: LHP Ricky Romero (10-5, 3.66).
TIME/TV: 1:05 p.m., YES.
STATE OF THE ‘STRIPES: The Yankees have won eight of nine and and 5-1 on a homestand that ends today. They start the day with a 5.5-game lead on Boston in the division. Tampa has fallen nine games off the pace.
SERIES WATCH: The Yankees need a win today to take their third series in a row. They have lost only one series since the All-Star break, that coming against the White Sox.
A.J. VS. THE JAYS, TAKE THREE: Former Blue Jay A.J. Burnett is 1-1, 4.30 in two starts against Toronto this season.
A TALE OF TWO SEASONS: Burnett, it seems, took a little while to get going this season.
First 12 starts: 4-3, 4.89 ERA, .805 opposing OPS.
Last 10 starts: 6-2, 2.32 ERA, .584 opposing OPS.
BATTERING THE BLUE JAYS: The Yankees are 8-3 against Toronto this season and have won 10 of 14 going back to last season.
CAPTAIN CONSISTENCY: Derek Jeter has hit safely in seven straight, 12 of 13 and 19 of 21. He is 6 for 10 in this series. Jeter has 145 hits. Only Ichiro (167) and Miguel Tejada (148) have more.
BETTER WITH AGE: Jeter has 13 homers and 20 stolen bases. He had 11 homers and 11 steals last season. In 2007 he had 12 homers and 15 steals.
DAMON’S DAMAGE: Johny Damon has seven extra-base hits in the last eight games.
STACKING UP THE HITS: Robinson Cano is 16 of his last 34 (.471). He is up to .316. Seven of those 16 hits have been for extra bases.
POSADA POWER: Jorge Posada is 9 of his last 22 with five extra-base hits and five RBI.
BENCHMARKS: The Yankees, to be charitable, had a lackluster bench to start the season. But Eric Hinske and Jerry Hairston Jr. have proven to be quite helpful:
Hinske: 8 of 27 in eight starts with seven RBI and six extra-base hits.
Hairston: 5 of 12 as a Yankee with five runs scored, three RBI, three walks and a homer.
ALL WE NEED IS A LITTLE PATIENCE: The Yankees have drawn three walks and struck out 16 times in the last two games.
BOOM, BOOM, BOOM: The Yankees have hit 14 homers in the last six games.
ACE ON THE RISE: Alfredo Aceves’ last three appearances: 9 innings, 4 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts.
THAT’S IT, HE’S FINISHED: Mariano Rivera allowed his first run since June 12 last night. No big deal. But he has allowed eight hits and three walks in his last 5.2 innings.
ROBERTSON ON A ROLL: Dave Robertson has thrown 3.2 shutout innings in his last five appearances, striking out six and allowing three hits.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: The Yankees leave for Seattle after the game and the start of a 10-game, 11-day road trip. They play four in Seattle, three in Oakland and then three in Boston after a day off. They don’t return home until Aug. 25.
Hard to believe, but the Yankees have only three homestands left.
ON THE iPOD RIGHT NOW: Land of Hope and Dreams by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Live from The Izod Center on May 23, 2009.
PEACE, I’M OUTTA HERE: I’m on a noon flight to Seattle out of JFK. I’ll check in from the West Coast later on.
UPDATE, 10:46 a.m.: Not that this will appease the unreasonable, but Mark Teixeira is just getting a day off. The Yankees are in the middle of a stretch that has them scheduled to play 16 days in a row.
UPDATE, 11:22 a.m.: Updating via wireless from the airport as Josh sends me info via text message. Modern journalism at its finest.
Anyway, Joba was the topic this morning. Joe Girardi confirmed what has been reported here all season long, that Joba will stay in the rotation and will not be sent to the bullpen. He also will be able to pitch in the playoffs. Limitations disappear at that point. They’ll basically will spread out his starts when they can.
Joba was filled in last night with some of the details. Not every start will be on extra rest but some obviously will be. The innings limit is more than people think. They based it on the entirety of his career, not just last year.
Enjoy the game. Josh Thomson will take it from here.
UPDATE, 12:35 p.m.: A couple quick additions from me (Josh): Girardi said Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre are interchangeable over the weekend. It will depend on how much the bullpen is needed the next couple days. Presumably, Gaudin could pitch Saturday if he is not needed before then.
Here is how Girardi explained the idea of limiting Joba’s innings: “This is part of the plan. This is what we have to do because this is not just about the next two months. This is about years and years to come.”
Joba does not anticipate always having additional rest between starts, just some of them. “I don’t think it’s going to be that long in between,” he said. “I think that’s what they said. I know that in the back of my mind I know I’m not going to have eight days between every start.” As for whether Joba will be limited in the playoffs, Girardi said: “All hands on deck.”
Obviously, Teixeira has today off. Girardi, who had pledged he would rest Derek Jeter and A-Rod this week as well, said one of his main guys will likely have the day off tomorrow because of the long trip to Seattle. That should help the lineup guessing game.
I return throughout the day. Enjoy the game.
UPDATE: 1:20 p.m.: It looked like smooth sailing for Burnett after he retired the first two batters, but he needed 26 pitches to get through the first unscathed. Only 12 went for strikes.
For those of you at work looking for something to pass the time, try this. Discuss among yourselves.
UPDATE: 1:27 p.m.: I’d say Jeter looked OK running from first to third on Damon’s double, but he was certainly not himself. For those who missed it, Romero hit Jeter on the inside of his right foot to lead off the game. Jeter was in pain, but remained in the game after a visit from Joe Girardi and head trainer Gene Monahan.
UPDATE, 1:52 p.m.: Yes, Ruiz was busted twice for steroids. His minor-league OPS is .908, but you had to figure there was a reason he had played just 22 MLB games by the age of 31.
Also, here’s a link to the column on ESPN.com by Rick Reilly. A terrific story to be sure.
UPDATE, 2:01 p.m.: Jeter (right foot) is out of the game. Ramiro Pena is in. More on this later.
UPDATE, 2:10 p.m.: Johnny sure juiced another. That’s 22 HRs for him this season, two shy of the career high he set during his first season with the Yankees.
His tenure with the Yankees has been so vastly underrated. I think the blogger who said he/she hoped to re-sign Damon to a one-year deal for $5-6 million is vastly underestimating his value. He is just shy of a 35-HR, 100-RBI, 40-2B, 120-run pace.
UPDATE, 2:18 p.m.: *** JETER UPDATE *** Jeter was diagnosed with a right foot contusion. He will undergo X-rays here at the Stadium.
UPDATE, 2:49 p.m.: *** NEW JETER UPDATE *** X-rays on Jeter’s right foot were negative.
UPDATE, 3:15 p.m.: As the mist begins to fall here at the Stadium, Burnett bounces a slider on pitch No. 104. The wild pitch scored Encarnacion with the tying run. This has not been pretty for Burnett, who has matched his season high with 10 hits allowed (Aug. 1 vs. Chicago).
UPDATE, 3:42 p.m.: Wow. Pena cannot get picked off in the seventh inning of a tie game with Matsui and A-Rod coming up. That said, excellent snap throw behind the runner by Raul Chavez. The Jays have made a few great plays on defense this series.
UPDATE, 3:47 p.m.: Potentially costly day for the Yanks so far. Chavez just fouled a pitch off Posada’s bare right hand. Girardi and Monahan both came to see him, but Posada will remain in the game for now.
UPDATE, 3:48 p.m.: Five-game suspensions for Rick Porcello and Kevin Youkilis. Both have appealed.
UPDATE, 4:32 p.m.: On second thought, the Globe is reporting Youkilis will serve his suspension immediately. Terry Francona announced the decision during his 4 p.m. news conference.
UPDATE, 4:46 p.m.: The Yankees are literally swinging for the fences on every pitch to finish it. … After Tex pinch hit, here are the changes: Tex to first, Swisher to right, Hairston to short and Hinske to the bench. Hairston will bat in the No. 8 spot.
UPDATE, 5:02 p.m.: An absolutely brutal game for the Yankees. A-Rod was just drilled on the left elbow and appeared to be in serious pain. Shawn Camp drilled him with an 89-m.p.h. fastball. Rodriguez bent over in pain but eventually took his base at first.
Monahan better bring a lot of ice on the plane tonight.