Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Jorge Posada C
Hideki Matsui DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Melky Cabrera CF
Pitching: LHP CC Sabathia (2-0, 1.23 ERA)
Chone Figgins 3B
Bobby Abreu RF
Torii Hunter CF
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Juan Rivera LF
Howie Kendrick 2B
Kendry Morales 1B
Mike Napoli C
Erick Aybar SS
Pitching: LHP Scott Kazmir (0-0, 7.50 ERA)
TIME/TV: 7:57 p.m., FOX
WEATHER: It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood – clear skies, temps in the 60s and 70s and plenty of sun. Check out the full forecast here.
STATE OF THE STRIPES: The Yankees remain two wins from the World Series after losing a heartbreaker in 11 innings yesterday. Weird fact? All seven of the Angels postseason wins over the Yankees (three in the 2002 ALDS, three in the 2005 ALDS and one so far this year) have been of the come-from-behind variety.
CC ON SHORT REST: CC Sabathia threw 114 pitches in his Game 1 start and is pitching tonight on three days rest. Sabathia didn’t pitch on short rest this year, but did it in his final four starts last year for the Brewers and went 2-1 with a 0.83 ERA before getting roughed up in his one playoff start for Milwaukee. Joe Girardi says the short rest won’t give him a quick hook with Sabathia. “As far as the pitch count, I would have no problem letting him go 110, 115 if that’s what it took,” Girardi said.
THREE DAYS HISTORY: According to the Elias Sports Bureau, there have been 85 instances since 1995 in which a team has started a pitcher on short rest in the playoffs. In those games, the starters have gone 20-34, throwing 458 1/3 innings and compiling a 4.65 ERA.
A-PLUS: Alex Rodriguez hit his fourth homer of the postseason in Game 3, and he’s got a career-high nine RBI. In his previous 39 career playoff games before this year, he had a combined seven home runs and 17 RBI.
TEX TURNAROUND: Mark Teixeira has been struggling at the plate, taking a .120 batting average into today’s game. Could facing Kazmir be what gets him going? Texieira is 7-for-11 with four doubles in his career against the lefty.
YANKEE KILLER: Howie Kendrick continued to torment the Yankees yesterday, finishing a double shy of the cycle and hitting an 11th inning single off Alfredo Aceves that led to him scoring the winning run. History would indicate tonight might be more of the same: Kendrick is 8-for-12 lifetime off Sabathia.
RANDOM QUESTION OF THE DAY: If you’re stuck in a traffic jam, is it worse to drive along the shoulder or go solo in the HOV lane?
IF THERE WERE WALK-TO-THE-PLATE MUSIC IN REAL LIFE, TODAY’S WOULD BE: California Love by Tupac
UPDATE, 5:09 p.m.: Chad here. Mike Scioscia on the Mariano Rivera “spitball” video: “I’d be shocked if there was anything to that.”
UPDATE, 5:38 p.m.: As you can see, the lineup is up and the only switch is Posada batting ahead of Matsui now. Girardi said that was based on Posada’s past success against Kazmir (11-for-25, 5 RBI). When he was asked about sticking with Swisher, Girardi said, “You just don’t give up on a guy because they’re struggling.” That said, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Brett Gardner get a start in Game 5 against Lackey.
Girardi also laughed off the Rivera/spitter story, pointing out that the spitball is designed to dart and move unpredictably – or the exact opposite of what Rivera’s cutter does, which is bite consistently. “To me, it’s a dead story,” Girardi said.
Audio coming shortly.
UPDATE, 5:54 p.m.: Here’s the audio from Girardi’s press conference. In addition to talking about his bullpen decisions and the Rivera video, he also touches on the Yankees struggles with Howie Kendrick, the approach to facing Vladimir Guerrero, Teixeira’s defense, Swisher’s struggles and a few other assorted topics.
UPDATE, 6:05 p.m.: For those who can’t listen to the audio, here’s Girardi on being second-guessed: “If every move you made as a manager was 100 % foolproof, then you’d probably win 162 games, but that’s not going to happen either. … We prepare. We talk about things (on the bench). I felt in my gut and in my heart and in my mind that it was the right move.”
UPDATE, 6:27 p.m.: It’s Chad again. Mariano Rivera just talked about the spit controversy. “I laughed about the whole thing,” he said. “What would I get mad for? I care about what the fans think about me, but if somebody has followed my career for all of those years, I would have to have a lot of spit to spit for a lot of years.”
The audio’s not great, but we’re going to try to get it posted to the blog in a minute or two. Rivera was actually really funny. He put in a piece of gum just before talking to us, and at one point he actually had to turn away from the group of reporters. “Excuse me,” he said. “I have to spit.”
UPDATE, 6:42 p.m.: Here’s the audio from Rivera.
UPDATE, 6:54 p.m.: Chad here again with a few notes from Girardi’s session with the beat writers.
• As expected, Girardi wouldn’t go into detail about why he wanted Aceves over Robertston last night, he said only that he thought Robertson matched up better against the first two batters that inning and that Aceves matched up better against the Kendrick and the batters who followed. “I figured I was bringing Ace in anyway an inning later,” Girardi said. “Because you’re only going an inning with Robby.”
• If I may put two and two together, Aceves told us last night that he was attacking Kendrick with cutters and changeups. Robertson is a fastball/curveball pitcher. That must be the matchup difference the Yankees liked.
• Girardi on whether he would have used Rivera in the bottom of the 11th had the Yankees taken the lead in the top of the inning: “Mo told me he was going back out if we scored.”
• As for his mid-at-bat convesation on the mound about Vladimir Guerrero — after which Guerrero hit a two-run bomb — Girardi said he went out only after Jorge Posada first went to talk to Andy Pettitte: “They were talking and I wanted to make sure that everyone was on the same page. They knew exactly what they were doing and it was what we wanted, we just didn’t execute.”
UPDATE, 7:34 p.m.: Sabathia is out on the warning track, playing catch before heading into the bullpen to warm up. The grounds crew is working on the field and the fans are filing in. We’re about 25 minutes from first pitch on a beautiful night here in Orange County.
UPDATE, 7:59 p.m.: And we’re off. Jeter drops a single to right and it’s 73 degrees at game time.
UPDATE, 8:01 p.m.: So much for that. Jeter was going on first move there and Kazmir picked him clean.
UPDATE, 8:05 p.m.: Great slider from Kazmir to get Teixeira, who knew it right away. Now CC goes to the mound.
UPDATE, 8:15 p.m.: Girardi said that pitch count wouldn’t be an issue with Sabathia tonight, but even so, it’s nice for the Yankees to get a relatively quick one from CC to start. He finishes the first at 10 pitches; Kazmir threw 13.
UPDATE, 8:23 p.m.: Good patience from A-Rod and Posada. Making Kazmir work, instead of chasing, is critical for the Yankees tonight.
UPDATE, 8:34 p.m.: Again the bottom of the order fails to come through. Two pop-ups and then Swisher flies to right to strand two more runners. Swisher is now 3-for-23 with one RBI in the postseason.
UPDATE, 8:40 p.m.: Whatever else happens tonight, at least Sabathia can say he retired Howie Kendrick. So that’s something.
UPDATE, 8:42 p.m.: CC is being economical. That was a nine-pitch inning to give him 19. Kazmir is at 38 going to the third.
UPDATE, 8:47 p.m.: Any of you happen to catch the Phillies rally against the Dodgers in the ninth inning yesterday? If you did, you’re a better teammate than Manny Ramirez. He was, apparently, in the shower at the time. Check out the ridiculous story here.
UPDATE, 8:55 p.m.: Teixeira goes down swinging again. He’s in a brutal slide and is 1-for-15 in the ALCS.
UPDATE, 9:00 p.m.: It’s only the third inning and we’re headed to a second thread. Come on over.