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 (3-0, 1.19 ERA in postseason)
Jimmy Rollins SS
Shane Victorino CF
Chase Utley 2B
Ryan Howard 1B
Jayson Werth RF
Raul Ibanez DH
Ben Francisco LF
Pedro Feliz 3B
Carlos Ruiz C
Pitching: LHP Cliff Lee (2-0, 0.74 ERA in postseason)
TIME/TV: 7:57 p.m., FOX
WEATHER: Chilly and wet, with rain possible during the afternoon but (supposedly) tapering off tonight. We should get the game in, even if it’s not ideal conditions. Check out the forecast here.
STATE OF THE STRIPES: The Yankees have seven postseason wins down with four to go to reach their goal of claiming a 27th World Series title. They’re undefeated at home during the playoffs, having won two games at Yankee Stadium in the Division Series and three more in the ALCS. They are 33-13 in the 46 best-of-seven series in franchise history.
ACES, PART II: This marks just the second time in history, according to Elias Sports Bureau, that two former Cy Young award winners will face off in Game 1 of the World Series (Maddux vs. Hersheiser in 1995 was the other). Lee and Sabathia have already met once at Yankee Stadium this season, locking up on Opening Day when Lee was still with the Indians. The two are friends from their time together in Cleveland and had dinner at Sabathia’s house that night back in April. The Indians won that game, 10-2.
BLAST OFF: The Yankees have hit 14 home runs already this postseason, just two shy of their franchise record of 16, which was set in 1996 (and tied in 2001 and 2003).
NEW DIGS: If the Yankees win the World Series, they would be the third team to take the title in their first season in their current stadium (the 2006 Cardinals and 1912 Red Sox – wow Fenway is old – are the other two). By the way, the Yankees won the World Series in their first season at the original Yankee Stadium (1923) and made it to the World Seris – but lost to the Reds – in the first season of the remodeled Stadium (1976).
DRAMA KINGS: The Yankees have comeback wins in five of their seven postseason victories this year, including three in the seventh inning or later.
ALEX THE GREAT: A-Rod enters his first World Series batting .438 (14-for-32) in the postseason with five homers, 12 RBI and nine walks. He’s hit safely in all nine playoff games and 11 straight dating back to the 2007 ALDS. According to Elias, his three game-tying homers in the seventh inning or later are the most such homers for any player in a postseason.
CONGRATULATIONS: Kudos to WCBS’s Suzyn Waldman, who becomes the first woman radio announcer to call World Series action.
RANDOM QUESTION OF THE DAY: Philly cheesesteak: Awesome or overrated?
IF THERE WERE WALK-TO-THE-PLATE MUSIC IN REAL LIFE, TODAY’S WOULD BE: Beware of the Boys by Punjabi MC feat. Jay-Z
Heading down for Joe Girardi’s press conference. Back with much more later on.
UPDATE, 4:08 p.m.: Getting better …
Yes, that’s sunshine. Gates open at 5 p.m. and the Yankees will be on the field hitting at that time.
UPDATE, 4:13 p.m.: Here’s the Girardi audio off his pre-game press conference. When asked when he might reveal his Game 4 starting pitcher, he demurred, saying, “The focus is Game 1 tonight, and that’s what we’ll worry about.” Take a listen.
UPDATE, 4:27 p.m.: Chad here with some notes from Girardi’s session with the beat writers. But first, this quick story: Outside of Girardi’s office is a blue wall with a big NY logo in the center. Yankee players sign the wall in white ink, and the area within the NY is reserved for Hall of Famers. As the beat writers were walking into Girardi’s office this afternoon, we saw Wade Boggs add his signature to the Hall of Fame zone. Pretty neat to watch. Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Goose Gossage, Reggie Jackson and Dave Winfield are the other Hall of Famers to have signed the wall. Winfield’s name is way up high, where surely only he could reach.
• Girardi said he hasn’t ruled out using Posada to catch Burnett, but it sounds like he’s leaning more toward sticking with Molina. “It’s something that we’ll discuss,” he said. “But as I’ve said all along, it’s worked pretty well. And in the course of the season you go with two catchers all the time. I’m still comfortable using Molina, and if I have to, pinch hit Jorge.”
• As we already knew, Gaudin is not available in long relief tonight. Aceves is the most obvious long man in the pen, but Girardi said, “It might be a combination of two guys.” He wasn’t talking specifics, just meant he might use more than one guy to get through multiple late innings.
• Bruney threw to hitters yesterday “and looked good,” Girardi said.
• Girardi wouldn’t rule out using Matsui in the field, but said he doesn’t anticipate making such a move. Matsui still takes fly balls every day.
• Keeping Hinske was “an easy choice” because of his pinch hitting experience.
UPDATE, 4:40 p.m.: Here’s the audio from A.J. Burnett’s press conference. He’s close friends with Cliff Lee (they are from the same area and have the same agent), but when someone asked if he’d spoken to Lee about the series, he shook his head and said, “I’m not a talker” in the kind of tone that reminded many of us of the same line from the movie “Old School.” Classic line, classic flick.
UPDATE, 4:49 p.m.: The pregame ceremony plans for Game 1 have retired Army Captain Tony Odierno joined on the mound by Yogi Berra, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Odierno is a West Point graduate who was awarded a bronze star with valor and a purple heart for his bravery.
Former US Army Ranger Keni Thomas will perform the National Anthem. Sergeant First Class Kay Messenger will perform “God Bless America” in the seventh. Messenger, a West Point soloist, performed the national anthem at Yankee Stadium on Opening Day in 2007.
UPDATE, 5:30 p.m.: Yankees are approaching the end of BP and the Phillies are out stretching on the field. Just as a note, those of you who are following us on Twitter (@LoHudYankees) know that Josh has been Tweeting a ton during the postseason. We’ve added a box on the side of the blog that will update in real-time with his Tweets during the World Series games, as well as Phillies Tweets from our friends at the News-Journal. Check it out.
UPDATE, 5:35 p.m.: The Yankees have shown a “Win One For The Boss” screen on the big scoreboard a few times already. George Steinbrenner in the house for the first time since Opening Day tonight.
UPDATE, 5:39 p.m.: Judging by Josh’s Tweets from the Pedro presser, it sounds like he’s in rare form. Look for a full report from Josh shortly.
UPDATE, 5:45 p.m.: Man, those Phillies fans really do love their team. They’ll do ANYTHING (allegedly) to come out and support them.
UPDATE, 6:20 p.m.: As you’ve probably noticed or heard, Pedro put on a show earlier, taking the opportunity on the eve of Game 2 to discuss his relationship over the years with New York, how it became what it was and why it has both empowered him and deeply scarred him.
Say what you want about Pedro — and some of what you will say comes in four letters — but he is nothing if not thoughtful. He said his shoulder hurt on the famous 2003 pitch to Karim Garcia and he was desperately trying to gut through the game. He thought Don Zimmer wanted to deliver a few choice words at first. Instead, Zimmer “was trying to punch my mouth and told me a couple of bad words about my mom,” Martinez said. He never apologized publicly because he believed he did nothing wrong. That said, he deeply regrets the incident ever happened. “I don’t like to see it because I’m not a violent man,” Martinez said.
There’s almost too much to say, so I’ve added clips. You can judge for yourselves.
A few quick highlights:
• “It really reminds me that God is my daddy. It gives me strength,” on Who’s Your Daddy chants.
• “I might be at times the most influential player that ever stepped in Yankee Stadium. I can honestly say that,” on his place in Yankee lore. He later clarified it, saying he meant both opponents and Yankees.
• “At the end of the day, they’re just great fans that want to see the team win. I don’t have any problem with that,” on NY fans.
• “You guys have used and abused me,” on the New York media.
• “That’s probably the player I admire the most,” on his respect for Mariano Rivera.
• “One of your colleagues had me in the papers with horns and a tail, red horns and a tail. That’s the sign of the devil. I’m a Christian man. I don’t like those things. I take those things very seriously,” on a photoshopped picture of him that ran in a NY tabloid.
UPDATE, 7:18 p.m.: Cheers for CC as he emerges from the dugout and begins the walk out to the bullpen. We’re getting closer.
UPDATE, 7:41 p.m.: If you just heard a buzzing in White Plains, it’s because Mariano Rivera was just introduced at Yankee Stadium.
UPDATE, 7:45 p.m.: Big cheer for Alex Rodriguez. Not Jeter-big, but big.
UPDATE, 7:51 p.m.: I’ve only had this job for a few weeks — this is Chad, obviously — and there have been times when I’ve been too focused on the work to really take in the big picture, but that was a pretty amazing moment. Yankee Stadium. Flag in the outfield. National Anthem. Game 1 of the World Series. This is a pretty cool job.
UPDATE, 7:55 p.m.: Jeter out to catch the first pitch. They’re pulling out all the stops… And of course Jeter blows off Yogi Berra while shaking hands afterward. Hilarious.
UPDATE, 7:58 p.m.: Moments away now. Yankees ready to take the field.
UPDATE, 7:59 p.m.: LoHud blog favorite “Big Poppa” blasting for CC as he hits the mound. The place is absolutely packed. Swisher salute got huge cheers and everyone in the stands seems to be standing and taking a picture with their camera phone. It’s World Series time.
UPDATE, 8:01 p.m.: And we’re off. It’s 52 degrees at first pitch with clear skies in the Bronx. Enjoy the game everyone.
UPDATE, 8:06 p.m.: That’s the fourth walk in 23 1/3 playoff innings for Sabathia.
UPDATE, 8:11 p.m.: Early trouble for Sabathia. Two walks and a double and the bases are loaded. He’s already thrown 21 pitches.
UPDATE, 8:13 p.m.: No damage done though. Sabathia gets Ibanez to ground to second and he escapes. It took 25 pitches.
UPDATE, 8:16 p.m.: They just showed a montage of interviews with George Steinbrenner up on the big board, then flashed the “Win it for The Boss” screen again. Jeter coming to the plate.
UPDATE, 8:21 pm.: Lee ran out to the mound before the inning like he couldn’t wait to get started. Then he struck out Jeter, got an easy bunt comebacker from Damon and whiffed Teixeira on a 91 mph fastball. Twelve pitches total and he ran back to the dugout.
UPDATE, 8:30 p.m.: That was better from Sabathia. Only nine pitches in a 1-2-3.
UPDATE, 8:34 p.m.: How do you know Lee is on tonight? He’s getting A-Rod to swing and miss. Nasty cutter at 86 for strike three. He’s whiffed three of the first four hitters.
UPDATE, 8:35 p.m.: And, just like that, Posada gets the Yankees first hit, a broken-bat flare to right. By the way, it’s misting pretty hard right now.
UPDATE, 8:44 p.m.: Phillies strike first, Utley hitting a 3-2 pitch over the right-field fence for a solo homer. It’s 1-0 Phils and Sabathia is at 54 pitches before he’s even through the third inning. This could be a long night for the Yankees bullpen.
UPDATE, 8:53 p.m.: Sabathia is working hard tonight. It’s not coming as easily to him as it did the last three times out and the Phillies are making him sweat. Since Jimmy Rollins bunted the first pitch of the game, nine of the 12 Phillies hitters have had at-bats of four pitches or more.
UPDATE, 8:55 p.m.: That homer by Utley was the first home run Sabathia has given up to a lefthander at Yankee Stadium this season.
UPDATE, 8:58 p.m.: Among the bold-faced names in the house: Alec Baldwin, Matthew McConaughey and the (Rangers) Captain, Mark Messier. Meanwhile, the (Yankees) Captain just lashed a double past first.
UPDATE, 9:10 p.m.: Sabathia’s slider looked a ton better in that inning. Great pitch to Ibanez that had him just staring. He’s settled in and is at 71 pitches through four.
UPDATE, 9:15 p.m.: Teixeira just doesn’t look easy at the plate right now. Very out of sorts, almost lunging at pitches, which is the opposite of his usual smooth swing.
UPDATE, 9:19 p.m.: A-Rod swinging again. The last time he struck out twice in a game was over a month ago, on Sept. 22 vs. the Angels.
UPDATE, 9:20 p.m.: Lee is absolutely locked in. That was a curve to Posada that was just nasty; Posada had no chance. Let’s go to a new thread as we go to the fifth inning.