Pitching: RHP Chad Gaudin (1-0, 3.71).
Pitching: RHP Luke Hochevar (7-11, 5.98).
TIME/TV: 7:05, YES.
STATE OF THE STRIPES: The Yankees have clinched all there is to clinch in the regular season. They are the division champs, they have the best record in the league wrapped up and they’ll have the best record in baseball.
SO WHAT IS AT STAKE? For the next seven days the Yankees will work on getting the postseason roster in order. Chad Gaudin, who pitches tonight, could make his way on as a long reliever, emergency starter. Brian Bruney helped himself a lot on Sunday but he needs to stay sharp. They’ll also have to figure out the bench.
RETURN OF ROBERTSON: RHP Dave Robertson has been cleared to pitch and you can expect to see him in the game at some point. He has been out since Sept. 5 with a sore elbow. He has 61 strikeouts in 41 innings and could play a big role in the postseason.
CASHING IN: Andy Pettitte banked an additional $750,000 when he went over the 190-inning mark. He needs 8.2 innings to get to 200 and another $750,000, which won’t be happening.
HIGH WATER: The Yankees are 44 games over .500. They have not been 45 games over since finishing 2002 with a 103-58 record.
ON THE iPOD RIGHT NOW: Night (live on Dec. 30, 1980) by Bruce Springsteen and the mighty E Street Band.
Back later with more.
UPDATE, 3:58 p.m.: The clubhouse still smells of champagne. … Phil Hughes rocking a porn star mustache these days.
UPDATE, 4:13 p.m.: They are going to wait until tomorrow to pitch Robertson.
UPDATE, 5:27 p.m.: The Yankees do not have to pick a division series until an opponent is decided. But every indication is they’ll choose the longer series that starts Oct. 7 to take advantage of the extra day off. … The team had a late report today and optional batting practice. … The staff will meet tomorrow to discuss the postseason roster. … The players and staff were invited to a celebration reception at NYY Steak tomorrow after the game by the Steinbrenner family. … A.J. Burnett is expected back tomorrow. His father’s surgery went well. … Now the bad news: It just started to rain in the Bronx.
UPDATE, 5:59 p.m.: This is a bad sign. They’re weighing down the tarp with planks of wood. That only happens when there is a storm is on the way. Meanwhile the skies in the south Bronx are darkening.
If you have tickets for tonight’s game, take your time heading out here. I’ll keep you posted right here.
UPDATE, 6:10 p.m.: It is pouring now in the Bronx. The wind also is picking up.
UPDATE, 7:06 p.m.: Lineup change. Damon out, Duncan in. It’s because of the weather.
UPDATE, 7:07 p.m.: The game is officially delayed. We’ll keep you posted.
UPDATE, 8:22 p.m.: Tarp is coming off. Looks like we will have some baseball this evening.
UPDATE, 8:25 p.m.: First pitch at 8:55 p.m. Beats a doubleheader.
UPDATE, 8:59 p.m.: The Yankees’ bench tonight might have a higher payroll than all but a handful of complete teams.
UPDATE, 9:01 p.m.: We’re underway in the Bronx. Props to the Bleacher Creatures for knowing who these guys are. It’s not often you hear the “Juan Miranda” chant.
If you’re expecting blow-by-blow updates … well, I can’t promise that. But we’ll keep you apprised of what is going on here.
UPDATE, 9:33 p.m.: Bored fans doing the wave in a scoreless game in the second inning. This is going to be a long night. My story is done with the exception of the score.
UPDATE, 9:44 p.m.: Here is the audio from Girardi’s pre-game press conference. He talked about the celebration, the postseason roster and a few other topics:
UPDATE, 10:29 p.m.: The excitement is building here as the Yankees and Royals are tied 2-2 in the sixth inning. In the latest evidence that right field was meant for the Staten Island Little League team, Ramiro Pena jacked one out.
This would be the same Ramiro Pena who had five home runs in 1,518 previous at-bats as professional baseball player.
Here’s my question: If the Yankees win in a walk-off, who administers the pie?
UPDATE, 10:28 p.m.: Shelley Duncan with the RBI single. Yankees lead 3-2. The only thing better would have been had he jacked one out to see who he injured with the forearm smashes.
UPDATE, 10:46 p.m.: That was a “put me on the postseason roster” performance by Chad Gaudin. His line: 6.2 4 2 2 2 5.
UPDATE, 11:00 p.m.: Ramiro Pena is an RBI machine. Yankees lead 4-2.
UPDATE, 11:10 p.m.: Cano with a grand slam. That’ll help the RISP average. Yankees lead 8-2.