Pitching: RHP A.J. Burnett (12-9, 4.10)
Pitching: RHP Wade Davis (2-1, 3.45)
TIME/TV: 1:38 p.m., YES.
STATE OF THE STRIPES: The Yankees aim for win No. 103, which would match their most since 2002. They also seek an ALDS opponent, as the Twins and Tigers begin the day deadlocked in the AL Central lead.
NO. 34 FOR NO. 100: A.J. Burnett goes for career win No. 100 today and will look to continue his turnaround. He has struck out 25, walked nine and allowed 17 hits over his last three starts (19 IP). Burnett is 3-0 with a 2.00 ERA vs. the Rays this year, and 10-4 with a 2.80 ERA vs. them in his career.
THEY’RE YOUR HOMERS: Elias Sports Bureau says the Yankees haven’t ended a season as MLB’s outright home run champ since 1961. They will do so today regardless — unless Texas hits 19 HRs. The Yanks went homerless on Saturday and still need one more to surpass their franchise record of 242. Teixeira still needs one more to pass injured Ray Carlos Pena for the AL lead.
EYEING THE LEADERBOARD: It’s always fun to look at the leaderboards after 162. Here’s a look at which Yankees stand in the Top 10 among AL stat leaders heading into the final game:
AVG — Jeter (.333), third; Cano (.322), fifth
HR — Teixeira (39), T-first; RBI — Teixeira (122), first
R — Jeter (107), fourth; Damon (106), fifth; Cano (103), T-sixth; Teixeira (102), ninth
H — Jeter (210), second; Cano (204), third
2B — Cano (48), T-third; Teixeira (43), T-eighth
OBP — Jeter (.405), third; Rodriguez (.399), fifth
SLG — Teixeira (.567), third
OPS — Teixeira (.949), third; Rodriguez (.915), ninth
UPDATE: Here’s ESPN’s AL batting leaderboard
W — Sabathia (19), first
ERA — Sabathia (3.37), fourth
K — Sabathia (197), seventh; Burnett (192), eighth
IP — Sabathia (230), fourth
SAVES — Rivera (44), third
K/BB — Rivera (5.92), fifth
K/9 — Robertson (13.08), fourth
WHIP — Sabathia (1.15), third
UPDATE: Here is ESPN’s AL pitching leaderboard
CENTRAL DIVISION CROWN STILL ON IDLE: In the Who-Plays-The-Yankees race, reeling Detroit sends ace Justin Verlander (18-9, 3.45) against Chicago’s Jon Danks (13-10, 3.69), while the Twins, who evened the division race yesterday, send one Carl Anthony Pavano (13-12, 5.07) to the bump on three-days rest against Kansas City’s Luke Hochevar (7-12, 6.24). Unfortunately, no fresh Pavano quotes to be found on the enormity of his situation.
OK, much more later from the clubhouse.
UPDATE, 12:13 p.m.: I have added links to the complete leaderboards so you can see which Yankees can rise or fall today.
I’ll have Girardi audio posted in a few minutes. Today’s cavalcade of relievers will include: Rivera, Chamberlain, Hughes, Coke, Robertson, and Marte. Girardi has yet to discuss managing the game with Posada.
I also forgot to mention last night that Sergio Mitre has biceps tendonitis. He won’t pitch today. Girardi admitted it may be a factor in whether or not he is considered for the postseason roster.
Stay tuned for the audio.
UPDATE, 12:20 p.m.: As I mentioned on Twitter, the Yankees still have until one hour after their opponent is determined to decide if they will play the Wednesday series or the Thursday series — and that’s even if this thing isn’t decided until Tuesday night.
UPDATE, 12:23 p.m.: Here is the pregame audio from Girardi:
UPDATE, 12:43 p.m.: Here’s a recap of what Girardi had to say…
— Burnett will throw around 85-90 pitches, followed by the relief corps I mentioned above. If Burnett pitches economically, the Yanks may be forced to shuffle relievers in and out a batter at a time.
— He still won’t say whether Molina will catch Burnett in the playoffs or not. “We’ll see when we move forward. Jorgie has caught the last two. It’s just something we’ll look at. Obviously, we still have to construct a roster here. We still don’t know who we’re playing and we may not know till Tuesday.”
— The club will keep a taxi squad, either down here, in Tampa, or up in New York. There’s a mini-camp at Legends Field this week, which would allow guys in consideration for the ALCS roster an opportunity to see game-like action.
— Girardi intended to meet with coaches tomorrow morning. Now, that may not be possibly, thanks to the prolonged AL Central race. The players will work out Tuesday afternoon at the Stadium.
— On Pavano: “I’m sure it means a lot and I’m sure it would really mean a lot if he pitched well. In the playoffs, he pitched well in 2003, he pitched extremely well for the Marlins. It’s an exciting time for him and I’m sure there are some butterflies, too.”
UPDATE, 1:52 p.m.: The game is underway and the Yanks stranded three in the first, but not before Wade Davis backed Swisher off the plate.
I don’t tend to believe the Rays threw at the Yankees this weekend, but it’ll be interesting to see if Burnett responds. First, Teixeira on Friday, then Hairston was hit twice yesterday.
UPDATE, 2:02 p.m.: That’s 23 pitches in the first for Burnett, who continued that trend this series of Yankee pitchers throwing too many pitches.
UPDATE, 2:19 p.m.: You wonder after that second at-bat if Teixeira will have the chance to go for No. 40 or if he’s done for the day.
UPDATE, 2:21 p.m.: Yup, all the regulars still out there.
In AL Central news, Detroit leads 4-0 behind Ryan Rayburn and a one-hitter from Verlander. And Pavano not only made it to the mound, he pitched a scoreless first.
UPDATE, 2:32 p.m.: Apparently, George Steinbrenner was at the ballpark today, although we didn’t see him. Thanks to Erica for the link.
UPDATE, 3:02 p.m.: Well, give Carl Pavano credit: He hasn’t gotten in the way of his offense obliterating Luke Hochevar. The Idle has a shutout and has been staked to a 7-0 lead. In Detroit, Verlander just gave up three runs in the eighth. It’s 5-3 Tigers, but still within reach.
UPDATE, 3:15 p.m.: That’s the record-setter from A-Rod. Home run No. 243 in ’09 for the Yanks, who set a new franchise record.
UPDATE, 3:35 p.m.: So the Tigers win, 5-3, meaning the Yankees must wait until Tuesday night for their opponent — unless the Twins collapse here.
UPDATE, 3:38 p.m.: With that walk, Carlos Pena will finish the season tied with Teixeira for first in the AL in home runs. Hmm…
UPDATE, 3:41 p.m.: A-Rod repays them with his 30th homer and second of the game. He also (somewhat remarkably) reached 100 RBI after picking up seven today alone.
Despite playing just 124 games, A-Rod reached 30 HR and 100 RBI for the 12th straight season and for the 13th time in his career.
UPDATE, 3:44 p.m.: A-Rod hit his 583rd career HR also. It ties Mark McGwire for eighth all-time.
UPDATE, 3:48 p.m.: Despite a poor start, Burnett wasn’t plagued by whatever ailed Sabathia and Pettitte. He finished with the following: 5 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (84 pitches/55 strikes).
UPDATE, 3:52 p.m.: Let the history flow like water: A-Rod’s seven RBI in the sixth set new AL record for RBI in an inning. He had been the last Yankee to hit two HR in one inning (9/5/07 vs. SEA). It had been 30 years before that when a Yankee last pulled off the feat.
UPDATE, 3:59 p.m.: Chamberlain takes the mound. Very interesting.
UPDATE, 4:04 p.m.: Here’s the final analysis on Joba’s quick inning: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 7 pitches (5 strikes). He hit 95 on the Trop gun and also threw one or two sliders.
Not sure. Can you make anything out of that outing?
UPDATE, 4:35 p.m.: Yanks win 10-2 behind Rivera’s scoreless ninth. They finish the regular season 103-59. It matches their win total from 2002 and matches their most since 1998 (114-48).