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: 8:20 p.m., FOX
WEATHER: Clear and cool with a dry outlook for the rest of the night. Let’s play some baseball. 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: The Yankees 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.
STRUGGLING SWISH: Nick Swisher continues to be a black hole in the lineup during the postseason. 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: Ice cream sundae in a mini-helmet: Mess-waiting-to-happen or classy culinary collectible?
IF THERE WERE WALK-TO-THE-PLATE MUSIC IN REAL LIFE, TODAY’S WOULD BE: Phenomenon by LL Cool J
Back with as much new information as we can find off a game that was supposed to be played yesterday shortly. Joe Girardi is meeting with the media in about 10 minutes.
UPDATE, 4:46 p.m.: Here’s the Girardi audio. As you might expect, there isn’t a whole lot new from him since we’ve played exactly one game since last Wednesday. He did talk a little about Mariano reaching out to Phil Hughes and having a chat, which Girardi believes could help Hughes get over whatever problems he’s been having this postseason. Have a listen.
UPDATE, 5:01 p.m.: As you can see (or, more likely, as you can’t since I have the camera skills of a writer), that’s Alex Rodriguez taking some early grounders. It’s cool and crisp with clear skies here now. Should be a little nippy tonight but otherwise lovely for a game.
UPDATE, 5:22 p.m.: Yankees are on the field and doing their stretching.
UPDATE, 5:26 p.m.: Chad here with some highlights of Girardi’s session with the beat writers.
• On A.J. Burnett’s role out of the bullpen: “We might ask him to get one hitter out. We might ask him to pitch a couple of innings. We could ask him to do a lot of different things. Today, we could probably ask him to give you two or three hitters.”
• Burnett could pitch to more hitters tomorrow night, but it’s unlikely he’ll pitch both tonight and tomorrow. Girardi said he would prefer not to use Burnett tonight and have him available for a possible Game 7.
• The Yankees had Andy Pettitte skip a start in September because of shoulder fatigue, but Girardi said it’s no longer an issue.
• Phil Coke, David Robertson and Alfredo Aceves have done some side work to stay sharp the past few days.
• Someone asked Girardi how a manager learns to deal with increased scrutiny. His answer was not what I expected: “I think as a catcher you get a little bit of it when people talk about pitch selection. I think you go through experiences in life that help you deal with tough situations. For me, watching my mom die. There’s nothing that gets tougher than that that I’ve had to deal with so far in life.”
UPDATE, 6 p.m.: In one of the more disappointing developments out here at the Stadium, I’ve now learned that Carl’s Cheesteaks does NOT have chicken cheesesteaks during the postseason. The two places I went to – the stands on the main level and the one near section 107 – both had blacked out the chicken option on their menus. Very frustrating.
UPDATE, 6:50 p.m.: Josh here on a great night for October baseball. The Angels are on the field now as I write.
I just wanted to check in with audio from Mike Scioscia’s press conference. He talks about the excitement of a big game and how he will manage the pitching staff tonight. Scioscia said he’d be more inclined to let a reliever clean up an inning, but he will not hesitate calling on one of his top arms — i.e. Weaver, Kazmir and Lackey — to start a clean inning. As for saving Lackey for a Game 7: “We wouldn’t rule him out tonight,” Scioscia said.
The Angels skipper also stood firmly behind his statement that the postseason has too many off-days. He said it should be remedied in the future. Although he didn’t say it specifically, Scioscia is unhappy the Yankees have not had to dip deep into their pitching staff this ALCS because of additional rest.
UPDATE, 8:00 p.m.: Josh again. They are announcing lineups at the moment. Andy Pettitte and Dave Eiland just walked to the bullpen to applause a couple minutes ago. Pettitte is now on the field in right-center field getting loose. He’ll move into the pen in a few.
The Yonkers Fire Department Color Guard just fell into position on the outfield grass behind second base. There are about 40 firefighters behind home plate dressed in uniform. They are all here to honor Patrick Joyce, who was fatally injured in a fire on Oct. 2. The father of two will be honored with a pregame moment of silence. Two brothers, his wife and two children are in attendance.
UPDATE, 8:11 p.m.: Biggest ovation of the series for Bernie Williams, who just threw out the first pitch. We’re minutes away from getting going.
UPDATE, 8:19 p.m.: Andy warming up to “Welcome to the Jungle,” which – as blog readers would remember – happened to be the official music of the LoHud Yankees blog during yesterday’s rainout.
UPDATE, 8:21 p.m.: And we’re off. Clear skies and 58 degrees at first pitch. Enjoy the game.
UPDATE, 8:26 p.m.: Smooth first for Andy. It’s very, very loud here tonight. After waiting six weeks for this game, the crowd is juiced.
UPDATE, 8:34 p.m.: Early action for the Yankees after two straight hits. That’s an 11-game postseason hit streak for A-Rod.
UPDATE, 8:36 p.m.: Nothing doing. Posada flies out weakly to right.
UPDATE, 8:40 p.m.: Awful play by Guerrero there. Swisher had an easy double play at first and the “fundamentally sound” Angels have made yet another un-fundamental play in this series. I thought they were supposed to be savvy?
UPDATE, 8:46 p.m.: Pettitte looks good tonight. He’s at 24 pitches through two and looks to have his fastball and cutter working well.
UPDATE, 8:54 p.m.: The national nightmare that is Nick Swisher’s postseason slump continues. Lazy fly to left and Swisher is for 3-for-30.
UPDATE, 8:59 p.m.: First conference on the mound of the night as Captain Jeter works a walk and it’s bases loaded, two outs for Johnny Damon, who hit .254 with RISP and two outs this season.
UPDATE, 9:01 p.m.: And Damon grounds to first. Saunders has worked in and out of trouble twice in two innings so far tonight. He’s at 38 pitches.
UPDATE, 9:05 p.m.: All Jeff Mathis does is hit doubles. Like, seriously. He’s 7-for-11 with five doubles in this series.
UPDATE, 9:11 p.m.: There are still times when Cano’s defense can make you crazy – like when he get a little too casual with a flip throw – but he’s absolutely improved his range. That was a nice spin-and-throw on Figgins to save a run.
UPDATE, 9:12 p.m.: Just heard some scattered boos after Abreu bounced a single to right to score Mathis and make it 1-0. Were the fans booing Pettitte? That’s pretty harsh if they were. Long way to go tonight.
UPDATE, 9:20 p.m.: I have a feeling we’re going to see a lot of that tonight – the Angels pitching around A-Rod. He takes his walk and Posada is up. Scioscia seems determined to do whatever he can not to let Rodriguez beat him.
UPDATE, 9:23 p.m.: Apparently the soothing California winds have helped Bobby Abreu get over his fear of the right field wall. He’s like a new man out there.
UPDATE, 9:38 p.m.: First loudest cheer of the night: Bernie Williams throwing out first pitch. Second biggest cheer of the night: Nick Swisher getting a single to left. That’s 4-for-31 and climbing now for Swish.
UPDATE, 9:39 p.m.: Nice sac bunt from Melky. Another RISP shot for Jeter and another long conference at the mound for the Angels.
UPDATE, 9:45 p.m.: Big chance to blow it open for the Yankees here. Damon up, bases loaded again. Saunders has lost his command.
UPDATE, 9:49 p.m.: Nice swing by Damon to take it the other way and drive in two runs. Swisher came across home plate with both arms up, clearly fired up. It’s 2-1 Yankees and the Angels have Oliver and Jepsen up in the bullpen.