Pitching: RHP Chad Gaudin (1-0, 3.21).
BLUE JAYS (59-73)
Pitching: LHP Ricky Romero (11-6, 3.95).
TIME/TV: 7:07, YES.
STATE OF THE STRIPES: The Yankees have won six straight, seven of eight and 23 of their last 29. They lead the Red Sox by 7.5 games in the American League East and the Angels by 6.5 games in the race for home field advantage in the playoffs.
STATE OF THE JAYS: Yikes. Toronto was 27-14 on May 18 and led the division by 3.5 games. They are 32-59 (.352) since. The Jays have lost three straight, six of seven and 14 of their last 18.
A LITTLE BIT LUCKY: The Yankees have a run differential of +141 (now the best in the majors, by the way). Based on the Pythagorean winning percentage determined by Bill James, the Yankees should have 79 wins.
THE JETER METER: Derek Jeter has 2,713 career hits. He needs only nine more to pass Lou Gehrig for the most in franchise history.
HOMER HAPPY: The Yankees have hit 208 homers, a pace that would give them 253 for the season. The franchise record is 242 by the 2004 team. The Major League record is 264 by the 1997 Seattle Mariners.
JOHNNY DANGEROUSLY: Johnny Damon has a seven-game hit streak that has bumped his batting average up to .293.
A-ROD ON A ROLL: Alex Rodrigez has hit in 11 straight at 18 of 43 (.419), albeit with only three extra-base hits. He has 11 RBI in that stretch. His batting average has climbed from .254 to .274.
HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGHES: Closer for the weekend Philip J. Hughes of Orange County has a 1.14 ERA in 31 relief appearances. Check out his last 10 outings:
10 innings, 5 hits, 0 runs, 3 walks, 14 strikeouts. Remember these days when he wins the Cy Young in 2011 in his second full season as a starter.
DOMINATION: The Yankees have outscored their foes 47-14 in their six-game win streak.
THIS CAN’T BE TRUE, BUT SOMEHOW IT IS: Jeter is 3 of his last 13.
GODZILLA SLUMPING: Hideki Matsui is 4 of his last 24 with two RBI.
THE MELKMAN: Melky Cabrera is 10 of 24 in his last six games. He’s up to .274.
ON THE iPOD RIGHT NOW: Someone Else’s Bell by Squeeze.
Back with much more later on.
UPDATE, 2:41 p.m.: Jon Albaladejo was called up.
UPDATE, 5:50 p.m.: A few updates from the clubhouse: Mariano Rivera will not pitch today and could pitch a brief bullpen tomorrow. But as he said, if he feels anything, he’ll shut it down and try again in a few days. … Albaladejo looks like Carlo after Sonny Corleone got through with him on the street. He has two black eyes and a big cut on his forehead. He was playing catch with Edwar Ramirez on Monday and missed a ball that cut. It conked him in the noggin. Albie was worried he wouldn’t get called up, but he recovered quickly and here is is. … Joba talked about his start tomorrow but when I asked him whether he needed to start getting better results, he said he has been pitching well. Somebody needs to show him the stats. … If you’re expecting Girardi to hold Jeter out so he can break the hits record at home, forget it. Jeter wants it over and done with. The man is not much for milestones, however significant.
UPDATE, 5:56 p.m.: George Steinbrenner speaks! This from the AP:
George Steinbrenner is planning to travel to New York for some postseason games if the AL East-leading Yankees make the playoffs.
Steinbrenner spent three hours in his office at the team’s spring-training complex Thursday. When asked about the Yankees’ solid play, the 79-year-old owner said: “Let’s keep it going.”
UPDATE, 7:11 p.m.: We are underway from the Rogers Centre. Sparse crowd on hand for the game. The roof is open and it’s a pleasant night. 71 degrees. Enjoy the game.
UPDATE, 7:20 p.m.: And the Yankees lead 3-0. Ricky Romero is pitching like Cesar Romero. Ugly baseball by the Jays, too, as Travis Snider let a ball get by him in RF.
UPDATE, 7:30 p.m.: OK, Chad Gaudin, they gave you a 4-0 lead and you’re facing a team that has made October tee times. You should be able to go a solid six innings.
UPDATE, 7:45 p.m.: Romero strikes out the side. Jeter now 3 of his last 15.
UPDATE, 7:48 p.m.: Jeter with the UZR, whatever that means.
UPDATE, 8:32 p.m.: Sorry for the lack of updates, Chad Gaudin is putting me to sleep. Yankees 5-0 here in the fourth inning and Gaudin has put seven men on base in 3.1 innings.
UPDATE, 8:35 p.m.: The No. 9 hitter of a horrendous team is 2 for 2 with an RBI against Gaudin. Yankees 5-1 and Toronto has the tying run at the plate with one out. They better get one of their 54 relievers up soon.
UPDATE, 8:41 p.m.: Brutal effort here by Gaudin. Just awful. It was 5-0 and you let a team that quit weeks ago back into the game.
UPDATE, 8:45 p.m.: Ace slams the door. This could be another one of those 3.2-inning relief wins that Aceves specializes in. He has been immensely valuable in that role.
UPDATE, 8:54 p.m.: Romero has seven strikeouts and six walks. He’s at 91 pitches and won’t be around much longer.
UPDATE, 8:56 p.m.: A-Rod continues to keep it simple and effective, driving an RBI single into center field. His team gets back in the game and Romero walks two guys to start the next inning. Cito Gaston has to have something better to do than manage this team.
UPDATE, 9:12 p.m.: The lead is back to four runs. Let’s see if Aceves can bring some sanity to this game.
UPDATE, 9:22 p.m.: Atta boy, Derek. Bunting with a four-run lead in the sixth inning to get a runner to third. Why not? It’s not like you’re one of the best hitters in the history of a celebrated franchise.
UPDATE, 9:26 p.m.: Nice sacrifice. There is less chance to score with a runner on third and one out then there is with a runner on second and no outs. For a guy who was supposed to down with such metrics, how does Joe Girardi not understand that?
UPDATE, 9:35 p.m.: Chavez is 3 for 3 with two doubles and two RBI for the Jays.
UPDATE, 9:38 p.m.: Unreal. There was a foul ball on the first-base side and a fan threw it back on the field and nearly hit Aceves.
Toronto has some of the worst fans in the league and there is another example. There have been several incidents of fans throwing debris on the field this season and now this happens.
This is why that foolish “tradition” of throwing home run balls back on the field needs to be stopped. It’s a matter of time before some drunk hits a player and causes an injury. A fan who throws a ball back on the field should be arrested and prosecuted.
Now the Toronto fans are booing and heckling security as they look for the offender.
UPDATE, 10:05 p.m.: Yankees take a 7-5 lead into the eighth inning of a slow-moving game. I need to get cracking on my newspaper story. Back with more after the game.