Pitching: LHP Andy Pettitte (13-6, 4.14).
Pitching: LHP Joe Saunders (13-7, 4.75).
TIME/TV: 10:05, YES.
STATE OF THE ‘STRIPES: There is a little hitch in the giddy-up of the Yankees. They lost two of three in Seattle and have dropped five of their last nine. Their lead on the Red Sox is down to five games with 12 to play. The magic number at the moment is nine.
BIG GAME FOR BIG-GAME ANDY: Andy Pettitte will be pitching on nine days of rest as the Yankees were concerned about a “fatigued” shoulder. He has been terrific since the All-Star break but has allowed seven runs on nine hits and eight walks in his last 11 innings. Keep an eye on how he looks as the game goes on as that is when his shoulder could bother him.
ON THE MARK: Mark Teixeira is 16 of his last 33 with 10 extra-base hits, six runs scored and 12 RBI. His batting average climbed from .281 to .292. Of his 167 hits this season, 82 have been for extra-bases. He was 7 for 12 in the Seattle series.
MATSUI MANIA: Hideki Matsui is 18 of his last 44 with three homers and 12 RBI. He is up to.278. His last double was on Aug. 29.
POWER OUTAGE: Alex Rodiguez has six home runs in his last 199 at-bats. He is 4 of his last 21 with one RBI. But keep in mind he loves hitting at Angel Stadium. He has hit .335 there with 35 home runs. It’s the most home runs for any park he has not called home in his career.
CURSE OF THE MONKEY: The Yankees are 5-17 in their last 23 games at Angel Stadium. They were swept in a three-game series in July, getting outscored 29-18. The Yankees are 3-4 against the Angels this season.
NOT DELIVERING: Melky Cabrera is 1 of his last 16.
RISKY WITH RISP: The Yankees have seven hits in their last 39 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
ON THE iPOD RIGHT NOW: Searching For A Heart by Don Henley from the Warren Zevon tribute record Enjoy Every Sandwich.
Back later with more.
UPDATE, 7:34 p.m.: Girardi said he wanted to load up the lineup with right-handed hitters, hence the absence of Matsui. … Girardi reacted to Joba Chamberlain’s comments by saying that the right-hander does in fact need to pitch better, whether he says so in public or not. A few minutes later, Girardi mentioned that Chad Gaudin could work his way onto the postseason roster.
UPDATE, 7:46 p.m.: Here is what Girardi said:
“I think that at times any one can be in some form of denial. What he tells you and what he says to us can be two different things. Players are positive people and they’re confident people. But there is no doubt about it: Joba needs to pitch better. He knows that. He’ll be the first one to tell you he knows that.
“One or two bad pitches usually doesn’t lead to seven runs unless there’s some errors or funny things that happen. That was not the game he’s capable of pitching. We need him to pitch much better this weekend.”
UPDATE, 8:54 p.m.: Xavier Nady is on the field watching the Yankees take batting practice. It’s the first time he has been around the team since his Tommy John surgery in May. X will be a free agent after the season. He’s a nice guy and it’s a shame what happened to him. This is the second time he has had the surgery.
UPDATE, 8:58 p.m.: Phil Coke is back at the hotel with what is being called “acute gastritis.” He will not be available today.
UPDATE, 10:35 p.m.: Sorry for the delay with the Angels lineup. Had some issues getting on line here in Anaheim. I finally gave up and rebooted, which is what I should have done in the first place.
Meanwhile, this is not a promising start for Andy Pettitte. The question now is whether this is being rusty or whether his shoulder his bothering him.
UPDATE, 11:05 p.m.: Andy has retired seven straight and looks good. Maybe it was just some rustiness. Now the Yankees need to get the bats going.
To try and calm the bridge-jumpers in the comments section, I’ve asked the Elias Sports Bureau to check if any team in history has ever come back from a 2-0 deficit after the third inning. They’re checking.
UPDATE, 11:32 p.m.: That’s on Johnny Damon. Quinlan tagged up and went to third when Damon caught the fly ball ball by Figgins. That allowed him to scored on the single.
Poor outfield communication has been a problem for the Yankees off and on this season. There’s really no excuse for it. The center fielder is supposed to catch every ball he can get to. Damon knows that.
Meanwhile, that inning is a little concern as it was around this time his last start when Andy started having issues.
UPDATE, 11:54 p.m.: As reported in the pre-game notes, Alex does love hitting here.
Meanwhile, Brian Bruney in a 3-1 game?
UPDATE, 11:59 p.m.: It’s not that complicated. Brian Bruney hasn’t been a good pitcher since he came off the disabled list. He should not pitch in close games. Where was Alfredo Aceves?
UPDATE, 12:09 a.m.: The mistake of using Bruney gets magnified now as Matsui drills a pinch-hit homer to center field. Instead of 3-2, it’s 4-2.