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 Andy Pettitte (1-0, 2.84 ERA in postseason)
Chone Figgins 3B
Bobby Abreu RF
Torii Hunter CF
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Kendry Morales 1B
Howie Kendrick 2B
Juan Rivera LF
Jeff Mathis C
Erick Aybar SS
Pitching: LHP Joe Saunders (0-0, 2.57 ERA in postseason)
TIME/TV: 7:57 p.m., FOX
WEATHER: Gray, gloomy, wet and awful. Let’s play two! The full forecast is here.
STATE OF THE STRIPES: The Yankees remain one win from a 40th pennant and first World Series trip since 2003. They were nine outs away from it on Thursday in Anaheim after a thrilling six-run rally, but could not hold a two-run lead and now have to win one of the next two games at Yankee Stadium to advance. The odds are certainly in their favor; 19 of the 28 teams to hold a 3-2 lead since 1985 have gone on to win the series.
HOME SWEET HOME: Poor as the conditions may be in the Bronx, the Yankees are always happy to be home. They were a major-league best 57-24 record at home this season, including a 36-10 mark since June 30. They lost consecutive home games only once in that stretch and have won all four postseason games there so far this year.
LEAKY PEN: The Yankees bullpen was supposed to be a strength in the postseason but it hasn’t felt that way lately. Phil Hughes has allowed three earned runs, nine hits and has a WHIP of 2.36 in 4 2/3 innings during the playoffs while Joba Chamberlain has a 3.38 ERA and has seen opponents hit. 500 off him over 2 2/3 innings. Should Joe Girardi use Dave Robertson more often? He’s thrown three scoreless innings during the postseason.
BOTTOM TO THE TOP: Melky Cabrera has five hits in the past two games and has upped his ALCS average to .381 (8-for-21). Cabrera also has three walks and four RBI, meaning that he might be flip-flopped in the lineup with …
STRUGGLING SWISH: Nick Swisher continues to be a black hole in the lineup during the postseason. Joe Girardi has said he may sit Swisher tonight, but if he doesn’t, look for him to at least be dropped even lower in the batting order. Swisher is 2-for-17 with 16 LOB in the ALCS and 3-for-29 in the playoffs with only one RBI.
SLOW STARTERS: The Angels four first-inning runs in Game 5 marked the first time they’d scored in any of the opening three innings of any postseason game this year. The four runs also equaled the total runs they scored in all of Games 1 and 2 combined.
CAPTAIN JUSTICE: Derek Jeter will play in his 47th LCS game tonight, moving him past David Justice and into second place on the all-time list (Manny Ramirez has 49). Jeter isn’t just showing up either; he’s on a nine-game postseason hitting streak that dates back to 2007.
LIGHTNING ROD: Alex Rodriguez had a down night, relatively, in Game 5, since he didn’t drive in a run for the first time in eight postseason games this year. He did go 1-for-3, though, with a double and run scored as well as two walks (one intentional). A-Rod has a hit in 10 straight playoff games.
RANDOM QUESTION OF THE DAY: Is there anything more annoying than remembering to take your umbrella with you and then having the wind blow it inside-out almost immediately?
IF THERE WERE WALK-TO-THE-PLATE MUSIC IN REAL LIFE, TODAY’S WOULD BE: Welcome to The Jungle by Guns N’ Roses
Back with much, much more later.
UPDATE, 4:01 p.m.: Hey everyone, it’s Chad. The weather at the stadium is not bad right now. Slight mist, but nothing overwhelming. The forecast still looks bad — it’s supposed to get worse hour by hour — but right now it’s promising.
UPDATE, 4:25 p.m.: Josh here. It’s raining pretty darn hard now and the sky is darkening. Not good. Not good at all.
We just met with Joe Girardi, who said there remains hope the storm will push through and they’ll get the game in. Hopefully for all of us the storm doesn’t push through at midnight.
I’m uploading the Girardi audio at the moment. I’ll have the file and a few bullet points in a bit.
UPDATE, 4:40 p.m.: Chad here with some notes from Girardi’s session with the beat writers.
• Had the Yankees decided not to play Nick Swisher, it would have been Jerry Hairston Jr. – not Brett Gardner –who was inserted into the lineup.
• Freddy Guzman was the first pinch runner in Game 5 because Girardi knew Guzman was coming out of the game for Hairston to play third. He saved Gardner to pinch run for Matsui so that Gardner could stay in the game as the DH.
• Damaso Marte has not replaced Phil Coke as the top lefty in the bullpen. Girardi said he prefers Marte against certain Angels hitters and prefers Coke against other Angels hitters. That’s why Marte pitched ahead of Coke in Game 5. As always, it had to do with matchups.
• No surprise, Girardi said the Yankees would prefer to play this game rather than wait for Sunday. He’s heard anything is possible: The game could be played as planned, it could start in a delay, it could be delayed midway through or it could be postponed altogether. It is, quite literally, up in the air.
UPDATE, 5:08 p.m.: Josh here. Sorry for the delay on the Girardi audio. I left the recorder running in my pocket and needed to edit it. Don’t want you folks hearing me huff and puff coming up the stairs to the press box.
Anyway, the rain has pretty much stopped for the time being and rays of light can be seen beyond the right-field side of the stadium. CC Sabathia is throwing out in right field. The lights are slowly coming on around the stadium.
Chad covered most of the news from Girardi, but one quick note: If the game is played tonight, expect another long one, rainstorm or no rainstorm. Girardi was asked if we could see Dave Robertson tonight considering the struggles of Joba and Hughes. The answer? We could see ‘em all.
“Joba has probably the most experience down there. Hughesy has a lot of experience,” Girardi said. “But we have matchups that we like, that we favor, and that’s what we’ll go to. You could see David possibly depending on how the game goes, but I can’t tell you I’d use one guy over the other. Situation dictates a lot what you’re going to do.”
Here’s the entire press conference:
UPDATE, Who’s Your Daddy Edition, 5:15 p.m.: Josh again. I forgot to mention that — if the Yankees reach the World Series — Pedro wants the ball in Game 2 of the World Series at Yankee Stadium. Discuss.
UPDATE, 5:17 p.m.: Ominous clouds overhead but several players are out on the field playing catch, including Phil Hughes and Chad Gaudin.
UPDATE, 5:19 p.m.: And, as I say that, it starts raining very hard.
UPDATE, 5:29 p.m.: Like, very hard. Ark hard.
UPDATE, 5:32 p.m.: The Angels lineup is out and, not surprisingly, Jeff Mathis is in there. Mathis, who was a .211 hitter during the season, is 6-for-10 with four doubles, all of which seem to have been to the gap in left-center.
UPDATE, 5:38 p.m.: I know some Yankees fans were upset by some of the comments Torii Hunter has made in the press about an Angles comeback, but Mike Scioscia just defended him, saying he didn’t have a problem with anything Hunter has said during the season or the playoffs. “He’s just speaking his mind,” Scioscia said. I should add that in all of my interactions with Hunter, I’ve always found him to be refreshingly honest and a genuinely good guy. You may not like his confidence in the Angels if you’re a Yankees fan, but you’ve got to at least respect him for saying what he’s thinking.