Pitching: LHP Andy Pettitte (13-7, 4.15).
RED SOX (91-63)
Pitching: RHP Paul Byrd (1-2, 6.04).
TIME/TV: 1:05, ESPN.
STATE OF THE ‘STRIPES: It’s pretty simple. The Yankees need one win in their last seven games to clinch the division title and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Only the Red Sox can catch the Yankees in the division and for the best record in the league.
RIVALRY REVERSAL: After losing the first eight games of the season series, the Yankees have won eight of the last nine games against Boston. The Red Sox lead the season series 9-8. Each team has scored 97 runs.
ON A ROLL: The Yankees have won four straight, 12 of 18, 21 of 30 and 37 of 51.
STAGGERED SOX: Boston has lost four of its last six.
MILESTONE WATCH: Robbie Cano needs one hit for 200. … Johnny Damon is one home run shy of a career-high 25.
BRONX BATTERING: The Yankees have won six straight games at home against Boston. It’s the longest such streak since 2001 when the Yankees won seven straight.
JOHNNY DURABLE: Johnny Damon needs one more game to mark his 14th consecutive season of at least 140 games. Only four players in history have been as durable. Hank Aaron, Brooks Robinson and Pete Rose played at least 140 games for 16 consecutive seasons. Willie Mays did it 15 years.
Cal Ripken Jr., in case you were wondering, did it 16 out of 17 years.
DARN THOSE SOX: Pettitte is 17-9, 3.76 in 33 career starts against Boston.
PROFITABLE: Pettitte need 5.2 innings to reach 190 innings and an additional $750,000 in bonus payments.
STREAKING ON: Victor Martinez has hit safely in 25 consecutive games.
ON THE iPOD RIGHT NOW: Stars and Boulevards by Augustana.
Back later with more.
UPDATE, 10:04 a.m.: Yes, I am aware that it is raining. There are no windows in the press box. But it’s a 1 p.m. start and they’ll stick around as long as it takes to get the game. So if you have tickets, be advised that there will be no BP but they’ll eventually play.
We will, as always, keep you posted.
UPDATE, 12:07 p.m.: Here’s the deal … The gates are open, the tarp is down, it’s drizzling and they plan to play eventually. I wouldn’t be in a rush to get here, but if you have tickets be advised that they’ll wait to play as long as it takes.
Posada is feeling better today but they’re being cautious. Just a regular day off Molina. … Phil Hughes was rocking a new Rey Maualuga No. 58 Bengals jersey today. The Franchise is a big USC fan.
UPDATE, 12:16 p.m.: The tarp is coming off the field. If things hold up, we could have an on-time start or close to it.
UPDATE, 12:46 p.m.: Spoke too soon. Tarp back down now. We will not start on time.
UPDATE, 1:13 p.m.: The Yanks are showing the Giants game during the rain delay.
UPDATE, 1:36 p.m.: Tarp coming off. 2:05 approximate start time.
UPDATE, 2:09 p.m.: We are underway after a delay of 63 minutes. It’s still a little misty.
UPDATE, 2:44 p.m.: Anthony McCarron of the News hates bunting as much as I do. Atta boy, A-Mac.
UPDATE, 2:47 p.m.: Meantime, Paul Byrd’s pitches aren’t registering on the scoreboard radar gun. The gun is either broken or the pitches are too slow.
UPDATE, 2:50 p.m.: What part of “Robbie Cano can’t run” isn’t clear? He is 17 of 38 in his career. That’s 45 percent. That means he should not run.
Byrd started this game praying he could get 15 outs. The Yankees have handed him two of them. Makes no sense.
UPDATE, 2:58 p.m.: Pettitte has so far put nine runners on base in three innings and is closing in on 60 pitches due to a lack of command. Either he has a temporary case of the stinks or his shoulder is bothering him again.
That cutter he was getting so many swings and misses on the last few weeks is missing so far.
UPDATE, 3:03 p.m.: Melky homers to make it 2-1. Good thing Cano ran last inning.
UPDATE, 3:07 p.m.: Jose Molina is 0 for his last 17. Did they send Francisco Cerveli home and I missed it?
UPDATE, 3:27 p.m.: Usain Bolt, the word’s fastest man, is at the game. He’s just lucky Brett Gardner took up baseball and not track.
UPDATE, 3:31 p.m.: Pettitte has retired eight straight. He has his groove back. Yanks trail 2-1 in the fifth.
UPDATE, 3:36 p.m.: Red Sox will appeal at second. Swisher might be out. Looked like he left early.
UPDATE, 3:37 p.m.: Yep, he’s out. Yankees continue to hand cheap outs to Byrd.
UPDATE, 3:38 p.m.: Swisher is very agitated in the dugout. It would not be a shock if he said something to umpire Tim Welke on his way out to right field and got tossed. Swish can be a hothead. This is where a coach needs to calm him down.
Replays showed he left on time. Bad call.
UPDATE, 3:44 p.m.: Swish gets a warm reception from the Bleacher Creatures. They love him.
UPDATE, 3:58 p.m.: Paul Byrd did his job. Saito to face Matsui with runners on first and second and no outs.
UPDATE, 4:07 p.m.: Matsui does it again. What a season he is having. That two-run single gives him 90 RBI and it gives the Yankees a 3-2 lead. Came back from 0-2. A-Rod’s at-bat was the key to the inning.
UPDATE, 4:15 p.m.: I hate to tell you this, I really do. But Brian Bruney is coming in to pitch.
UPDATE, 4:22 p.m.: Bruney gets it done, 1-2-3. Yankees six outs away from a clinch.
UPDATE, 4:30 p.m.: The sun has broken through here at the Stadium.
UPDATE, 4:37 p.m.: Wow, more Bruney. Girardi will not use Hughes three days in a row. That makes sense. This is where they could use Dave Robertson.
But if Bruney can get through this, he’ll improve his odds of making the postseason roster.
UPDATE, 4:40 p.m.: Five up and five down for Bruney and he gets a nice hand from the crowd. Phil Coke to face David Ortiz.
Two things here: Coke has allowed six homers against lefty hitters this season and Ortiz has homered in three of his last four games.
UPDATE, 4:48 p.m.: Tex drops one over the fence in right for his 38th home run, one behind Carlos Pena with six games left to play. Yankees give Mo an insurance run to work with.
UPDATE, 4:56 p.m.: The Yankees hand a 4-2 lead to the Sandman in the ninth inning. Three outs from clinching at home and against their rivals.