Archive for October, 2009
The Yankees are on the field stretching and Joe Girardi – who seems to be battling a pretty bad cold – met with the media a short time ago. While Charlie Manuel has announced Joe Blanton as his Game 4 starter, Girardi said the Yankees will wait until after Game 3 to finalize their pitcher. CC Sabathia has been preparing himself to pitch that game “because it would be silly to not do that and then say, ‘Uh-oh, CC, you’re starting Game 4.” Girardi added that A.J. Burnett is also preparing to pitch on short rest for the same reason.
Audio coming shortly.
UPDATE, 4:53 p.m.: Girardi also said that Johnny Damon will start in LF, essentially ending the speculation about Hideki Matsui having to dig through boxes to find his glove. As for who starts in right, Girardi – of course – declined to say. For those looking at the all-important “match-ups,” Hairston is 2-for-10 vs. Hamels and neither Swisher or Hinske has ever faced him. So run that through your calculators and see what it says.
UPDATE, 5:11 p.m.: Chad here. The Yankees are taking batting practice right now, with some additions to the hitting groups. Group 1 was listed in the clubhouse as: Jeter, Damon, Posada, Cano, Pettitte. Group 4 was listed as: Guzman, Pena, Burnett, Sabathia, Gaudin.
If you’re interested in the non-pitcher groups. Groups 2 is Matsui, Rodriguez, Teixeira, Swisher and Cabrera. Group 3 is Gardner, Hinske, Hairston, Molina, Cervelli.
UPDATE, 5:14 p.m.: Here’s the audio from Andy Pettitte.
And here’s the audio from Joe Girardi.
UPDATE, 6:38 p.m.: For those who are interested, here’s some audio from Alex Rodriguez. Apparently the key to his success is only swinging at strikes (as he says repeatedly). Take a listen.
Philling up the notebooks on another off-day • 10.30.09
Greetings from Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. The Yankees rode the rails down to Philadelphia, jumping on a charter train instead of their usual flight. I drove, and let me take this opportunity to assure you that the New Jersey Turnpike is especially lovely this time of year.
The Phillies are on the field now and the Yankees will be working out in a little over an hour. We’ll have Joe Girardi and Andy Pettitte in the interview room shortly. Chad and I will be back with any news and notes throughout the afternoon.
Has Burnett changed the Game 5 plan? • 10.30.09
Joe Girardi isn’t ready to announce his Game 4 starter just yet, so he’s certainly not going to say much about Game 5. But after last night, you have to wonder if A.J. Burnett might have changed the Yankees plans.
The common theory seems to be that the Yankees will go with Chad Gaudin in Game 5, assuming it’s not an elimination game. But the way Burnett pitched on Thursday — dominant from start to finish, throwing strikes throughout — he made a strong case for a Game 5 start on short rest.
“If I’m called on to do that, I’ll do that,” he said. “I’ve thrown on three days in the past. I’m a big fan of it. It was midseason when I did it, not October, but I feel strong right now and I’m up for anything, absolutely.”
I’m not sure I would give Burnett the ball in Game 5, but I’m not as against to the idea as I was 24 hours ago. Especially if Games 3 and 4 go wrong, Burnett’s made a clear case that he should get the ball in a must-win situation. The Yankees are right to hold off on making a decision, but Burnett’s given them something to think about in the meantime.
How much can Mo take? • 10.30.09
There have been 23 postseason saves of at least two innings since 1996, and Mariano Rivera has recorded 14 of them. That includes his last three in the World Series and, most recently, Game 6 of this year’s ALCS against the Angels.
It is not hard to see why Rivera is asked to do so much – now, in particular, the Yankees options in the eighth inning aren’t nearly as comfortable as simply giving the ball to Rivera a little sooner, and so that’s what Joe Girardi has been doing. The question is, will it ultimately hurt him?
Rivera is 39 years old and threw 39 pitches last night, most he’s ever thrown in a World Series game. He says he’s ready to go again in Game 3 and beyond, but he also didn’t look untouchable on the mound; he walked Jimmy Rollins and put two men on in the eighth, then gave up a double in the ninth before getting out if it.
Could the work be affecting Rivera’s effectiveness? Rivera says no and says he’ll be ready when needed.
“You know what you have and what you can do,” Rivera said. “It’s always difficult to pitch in those situations, but you have to do your job.”
He has done it, maybe even a little too well. It’s understandably hard for Girardi to trust Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain right now, so the best way to get to Rivera is to have him setup for himself. Can he do it for three more wins? That remains to be seen.
“He’s special. Nobody does what he does,” Derek Jeter said. “He wants to win, and he’ll do whatever it takes. If someone wanted him to start, he’d go out there and start. He’s unique, once-in-a-lifetime.”
Today in The Journal News • 10.30.09
One night after doom and gloom in the opener, the Yankees came back to level the World Series with a tight Game 2 victory over the Phillies. Chad Jennings has the details.
In my column, I focused on A.J. Burnett, who was not only pitching his first World Series game but was doing it on a night when a win was an absolute must. Whatever you want to say about Burnett’s inconsistency during the season, you have to give it up for him last night: He was an ace.
Hideki Matsui has had big hits against Pedro Martinez before (Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS comes to mind) and he did it again, hitting the go-ahead homer in the sixth inning of Game 2. Rick Carpiniello takes a look at the growing history between Matsui and Martinez.
Of course, Matsui wouldn’t have had the chance to give the Yankees the lead if not for Mark Teixeira, who homered to tie the game two innings earlier. Josh Thomson wrote about the uneven postseason Teixeira has had, though he has shown an ability to get big hits in important situations.
Meanwhile, Alex Rodriguez has already struck out more in the first two games of the World Series than he had in both previous rounds combined, but no one is panicking about where A-Rod’s power has gone. The notebook also has news on a lineup change, an honor for Derek Jeter, some thoughts from Bud Selig on replay and more.
From the Philly side, Martin Frank from the News-Journal writes about the Phillies struggling slugger – Ryan Howard, like A-Rod, had a rough night at the plate and struck out three times against Burnett.
Wrapping up a game that went right • 10.30.09
Hideki Matsui said his 2003 ALCS double off Pedro Martinez never crossed his mind when he hit his go-ahead home run tonight at Yankee Stadium. At the time, he was down in the count, 1-2, and needed to do something to simply keep the inning alive. He got a curveball and he hammered it.
“Because I was at two strikes, I was just ready for pretty much anything and just trying to make adjustments,” Matsui said. “Particularly for that pitch, I tihnk the location was fine. It was low. But I think it caught part of the plate.”
Matsui and Mark Teixeira came up with the big home runs that finally sparked something in this Yankees offense that was never there against Cliff Lee in Game 1. All indications were that this would be an offensive World Series, but after two games, it’s been all about pitching. Taking advantage of mistakes — whether by Chase Utley in Game 1, or Teixeira and Matsui in Game 2 — has been the key.
Tonight, A.J. Burnett didn’t make many mistakes. He had a hard, tight curveball tonight that he was able to throw for strikes. His stuff was pretty electric in Game 1 of the Division Series as well, but that came with five walks and two hit batters. There were no such problems tonight, and Burnett served as his own bridge to Mariano Rivera. In a game that felt a lot like a must-win, the Yankees did what they had to do.
“You know, I actually sat and watched (Cliff Lee’s) interview when he was on the field (after Game 1),” Burnett said. “He talked about confidence and he talked about belief in his stuff, and all I told myself last night and today was the same thing. I went out tonight with confidence and I just, you know, the game just rolled by.”
It’s a lot easier to have confidence with the series tied at 1 game apiece. The alternative… well… there’s no reason to think about the alternative now. And that’s a good thing.
By the way, here’s the audio from Derek Jeter in the postgame clubhouse. The Captain was – not surprisingly – pretty upbeat about a big win for the Yankees.
Burnett to Mo and the Yankees are level • 10.29.09
A terrific night from A.J. Burnett and another big hit by Hideki Matsui off Pedro Martinez gives the Yankees a 3-1 win and a split of the two games against the Phillies in New York. Back with more from the clubhouse soon.
UPDATE, 12:09 a.m.: Initially, the bench told Derek Jeter to bunt in the seventh, “but I would have done it anyway,” he said. With two strikes, though, Jeter made the decision to attempt another bunt. “That was me,” he said. “I was stupid.”
UPDATE, 12:11 a.m.: Here’s the audio from Girardi, who talks quite a bit about Burnett, Matsui and Teixeira. He also said that Jeter’s decision to bunt with two strikes was “on his own” but that “if he feels he can get the job done, I’m not going to bark at him.”
As for A-Rod, Girardi said, “I know he’ll bounce back. Obviously you want him to continue on the torrid pace he’s been on but I know he’ll bounce back.”
Also, here’s Burnett’s interview. He sat at the table with his sons on either side of him and said this was the most fun “I’ve ever had on a baseball field. ”
UPDATE, 12:47 p.m.: Have to give credit where it’s due. Pedro Martinez pitched well tonight, but the Yankees got to him. Mark Teixeira had been awful at the plate this postseason, but his home run tied the game in the fourth. Hideki Matsui had two hits in his past 15 at-bats but went 2-for-2 with a go-ahead home run off Martinez. Jerry Hairston Jr. had two at-bats this postseason, but his seventh-inning single opened the rally that chased Martinez from the game.
“Location, spotting everything down, right at the knees,” Hairston said. “He doesn’t throw 97, 98 any more but his location is excellent. His location might be a little bit better. I went back and looked at film. Perfect pitches inner half. Perfect down at the knees. Balls you really don’t want to hit.”
UPDATE, 12:52 p.m.: Girardi on whether Marianio Rivera will be available Saturday after throwing 40 pitches tonight. “Well, I would think so. I won’t know that until Saturday, I’ll check with him Saturday, but I think he threw 34 pitches against the Angles and he would have been available with a day off if we had to play again, or he probably would have been available the next day. So, I think he’ll be fine.”
UPDATE, 1:08 a.m.: Josh here with audio from Teixeira, who snapped a 25-inning streak at home for the Yankees in World Series play without scoring an earned run. He also delivered his third big hit of the playoffs. They’ve been few and far between for Tex, but this was another important one. He said it meant more because he hit it in victory.
I also wanted to post the postgame chat with Pedro, who, among other things, said: 1) Yankee fans want to root for him, deep-down; 2) If he played here, he’d be a king at Yankee Stadium; and 3) He thought a man sitting in the front row, holding his daughter in one hand and a beer in the other was disgusting. He’s a father, after all, he said.
I also crammed into the scrum for Alex Rodriguez, who dropped to 0 for 8 with six strikeouts this World Series. He remained confident he will turn his fortunes around. “It’s just eight at-bats,” Rodriguez said. “I’m not concerned at all.”
UPDATE, 10:32 p.m.: Probably won’t be a ton of updates as I try to write for the paper’s first deadline, but wanted to give you guys a fresh thread for the final few innings. Yankees trying to close it out and draw level in the series.
UPDATE, 10:38 p.m.: I know we all love the Captain and everything, but that was among the silliest plays I’ve seen in a long while. Sometimes it just feels like Jeter refuses to acknowledge that he’s, you know, a really good hitter and pretty much shouldn’t be bunting in a big situation ever, let alone with two strikes. Just crazy.
UPDATE, 10:45 p.m.: That was very strange. It sure looked like Howard didn’t make the catch on Damon’s liner, but the umpire called it a catch and then Howard doubled off Cabrera at second base for a double play. After a huddle, the umps upheld the original call. To me, replays looked like it took a short-hop into Howard’s glove. Either way, Mo is on now for six outs.
UPDATE, 8:46 p.m.: It’s 1-0 Phillies as we go to the third inning. Pedro has thrown 43 pitches and Burnett is at 37.
UPDATE, 9:02 p.m.: Suddenly it’s a bit hairy for Burnett – first and second, facing Howard and he’s up at 56 pitches already.
UPDATE, 9:05 p.m.: Another power curve from Burnett to get Howard swinging and it’s still 1-0 Phillies. Nice tidbit by Josh over on Twitter – on the AB to Victorino, A.J. had 13 throws: Seven pitches and six pickoff attempts. Remember that John Flaherty said he expects the Phillies to do anything they can on the bases to distract Burnett.
UPDATE, 9:11 p.m.: Clearly afraid of Jose Molina, Pedro walks him to get to Derek Jeter.
UPDATE, 9:15 p.m.: Apparently Pedro is no fool. Fastball right down the middle and Jeter can’t pull the trigger. Then Damon flies to right.
UPDATE, 9:23 p.m.: Great play by Molina to catch Werth, who made pretty much the most awkward looking attempt to get back to first I’ve ever seen. Apparently he doesn’t like sliding much. Then Burnett strikes out Ibanez with some heat.
UPDATE, 9:28 p.m.: That was Teixeira’s first World Series home run, his second home run of the postseason and it came on a 1-0 change-up that ended up rolling around the Yankees bullpen. 1-1.
UPDATE, 9:35 p.m.: Tough call on strike three to Hairston, but on a close pitch it’s sort of tough to imagine any ump giving Hairston the benefit of the doubt. It’s not right, but it’s the way it is. Anyway, Pedro is at 75 pitches through four. Burnett is at 73.
UPDATE, 9:45 p.m.: That’s a solid inning from Burnett, who is showing an ability to avoid getting too worked up. Ruiz’s double was crushed to the left-center field wall, but Burnett dug in and struck out Rollins in a tight, diving curveball then got Victorino to pop up to A-Rod. His fastball has been on point and the curveball has serious bite. He’s at 86 pitches through five.
UPDATE, 10 p.m.: Another tight curve, this one to Howard. Seven strikeouts for Burnett.
UPDATE, 10:05 p.m.: OK, that “Who’s your daddy?” chant was better. It sort of loses a little luster though when the guy then gets Tex to wave at a 71 mph bender for his seventh strikeout.
UPDATE, 10:11 p.m.: Matsui comes through with the second World Series home run of his career. Big homer by Teixeira and a big homer by Matsui. It helps to have those two swinging the bat well.
UPDATE, 10:14 p.m.: Joba Chamberlain getting loose. So is Chan Ho Park. Seriously.
UPDATE, 10:16 p.m.: That was pitch No. 101 to get Ibanez on another breaking ball. This is a serious outing by Burnett. Eight strikeouts is the real deal.
UPDATE, 10:17 p.m.: That was an almost identical pitch on strike three to Stairs. Nine strikeouts.
UPDATE, 10:24 p.m.: Great job by A.J. tonight and he kept himself under control emotionally all night. Rivera – yes, Rivera – up warming in the bullpen. Six outs? Don’t forget the Series has an off day tomorrow.
UPDATE, 10:29 p.m.: Joe Girardi is clearly a genius – first Hairston singles, then pinch-runner Gardner goes first to third on a hit-and-run with Melky (!) smacking a liner to right. Now, Charlie Manuel is on his way to the mound to call for Chan-Ho Park as Jorge Posada comes up to pinch-hit. Pedro took a long, slow walk to the dugout and seemed to enjoy the boos he got – he stopped at the top step and grinned at the fans behind the dugout.
World Series Game 2: Phillies at Yankees • 10.29.09
Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Hideki Matsui DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Jerry Hairston RF
Melky Cabrera CF
Jose Molina C
Pitching: RHP A.J. Burnett (0-0, 4.42 ERA in postseason)
Jimmy Rollins SS
Shane Victorino CF
Chase Utley 2B
Ryan Howard 1B
Jayson Werth RF
Raul Ibanez LF
Matt Stairs DH
Pedro Feliz 3B
Carlos Ruiz C
Pitching: RHP Pedro Martinez (0-0, 0.00 ERA in postseason)
TIME/TV: 7:57 p.m., FOX
WEATHER: Looking good. Maybe some clouds and there will be a chill in the air, but it’s dry and (hopefully) not too windy. Perfect October baseball weather. Check out the forecast here.
STATE OF THE STRIPES: The Yankees remain four wins away from their 27th World Series after dropping Game 1 to the Phillies, 6-1, last night at the Stadium. The Yankees are now 24-16 all-time in World Series openers, but the good news for Yankees fans is that eight of the 15 previous losses came in years when the Yankees came back to win the World Series anyway.
UNUSUAL WHIFF: Alex Rodriguez went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts last night, snapping a nine-game postseason hitting streak from this year and an 11-game run that dated back to 2007. The three strikeouts were particularly unusual, since the last time A-Rod had struck out more than once in a game was over a month ago – Sept. 22 against the Angels.
BURN-ING UP: Controlling his emotions, particularly at the start of the game, will be critical for Burnett: During the first 15 pitches of his regular-season starts, opposing hitters had a .797 OPS against him – the highest OPS of any 15-pitch increment up to 75 pitches. They also hit the most home runs (eight) off him during that first increment. Burnett allowed one run in the first and two in the second to the Phillies when he faced them back on May 22.
FINALLY: When the Yankees scored an unearned run in the ninth inning last night, it snapped a 17-inning scoreless drought for them in the World Series, the third-longest stretch in franchise history. The longest was 21 innings 1921-22, followed by an 18-inning streak from Games 1-3 of the 2001 World Series.
UNPLEASANT DEJA VU: Cliff Lee’s 10 strikeouts in Game 1 were the most by a pitcher in the World Series since Josh Beckett also struck out 10 Yankees in Game 3 of the 2003 World Series vs. the Marlins. Beckett, of course, then went on to pitch the clincher for Florida in Game 6, shutting down the Yankees at the old Stadium.
CAPTAIN WONDERFUL: Derek Jeter was the only Yankee to have any success off Lee, and his three hits gave him 42 in the World Series, tying him (with Elston Howard, Babe Ruth and Eddie Collins) for 10th on the all-time list. It was Jeter’s fourth career three-hit game in the Fall Classic, and third in his last five World Series games.
WHO’S YOUR DADDY?: The Yankees vs. Pedro battle has been plenty dramatic over the years, but it’s also played out to be mostly a draw. Martinez is 11-11 with a 3.20 ERA lifetime in the regular season against the Yankees, and was 8-5 with a 3.21 ERA in 18 career starts at the old Yankee Stadium. That includes an 0-1, 5.40 ERA in two ALCS starts. Then again, Martinez also had one of career best days at the Stadium, when he allowed one hit and struck out 17 on Sept. 10, 1999.
RANDOM QUESTION OF THE DAY: Is sitting under a mango tree actually a thing people do? Like, is it similar to lounging under a palm tree when you’re on vacation? Can there be hammocks?
IF THERE WERE WALK-TO-THE-PLATE MUSIC IN REAL LIFE, TODAY’S WOULD BE: Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes
Heading down for Joe Girardi’s press conference. Back with much more later on.
UPDATE, 4:05 p.m.: Josh here. I just updated the Yankee lineup, which includes Jerry Hairston in right for the struggling Nick Swisher, as well as Jose Molina behind the plate.
Girardi liked Hairston’s history of success against Pedro. He has eight hits in 24 ABs and a .907 OPS. Here’s their head-to-head.
UPDATE, 4:31 p.m.: While I was not surprised – how could you be? – to see Swisher’s .114 average out of the lineup in Game 2, I was slightly surprised that Girardi elected to go with Hairston as his replacement over Eric Hinske. Hairston has 10 hits in 27 ABs against Pedro; Hinske has eight in 30. To me, that’s not nearly enough of a difference to make up for the fact that if Hinske gets a hittable pitch, he can turn it into runs right away while Hairston is a mostly singles hitter. Either way, I think we can all agree that Swisher needed a break.
UPDATE, 4:35 p.m.: Yanks are out and stretching. For those coming to the game tonight and interested in the precise timing of the pregame stuff, here are the highlights (notice Derek Jeter getting the Clemente Award for commitment to community):
4:50 – 6 p.m.: Yankees hit
5 p.m.: Gates open
6 – 6:40 p.m.: Phillies hit
7:31 p.m.: Jay-Z and Alicia Keys performance
7:36 p.m.: Lineups announced
7:40 p.m.: Roberto Clemente Award presentation to Derek Jeter
7:47 p.m.: John Legend sings the national anthem
7:50 p.m.: Paul O’Neill throws out ceremonial first pitch
7:52 p.m.: Game ball delivered to mound by Boys & Girls Clubs of America
7:55 p.m.: Yankees take field
7:57 p.m.: First pitch
UPDATE, 5:01 p.m.: Standing in right field right now during batting practice? CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes … and Jerry Hairston. He’s been out there the whole time. Obviously trying to get as many looks at the perspective of the ball coming in that direction from home plate. Hairston has played 72 of his 1,010 regular-season games in right field. He last played there on Sept. 7, coming in for an inning at the end of the first game of a doubleheader against the Rays.
UPDATE, 5:09 p.m.: Chad here with some notes from Girardi’s session with the beat writers.
• This is from the press conference, but it’s worth noting. “Would I use (Hughes) in the eighth inning tonight?” Girardi said. “Yes I would.” My own opinion, I think he’ll got to Chamberlain with a lead in the eighth.
• Girardi went to Brian Bruney last night partially because he thought Bruney matched up well, and partially because sticking with Dave Robertson would have left Robertson unavailable tonight.
• On sticking with Jose Molina to catch A.J. Burnett: “It’s never easy when it involves taking Jorge out, but I felt it’s worked pretty well.”
• Girardi said he would not hesitate to pinch hit Posada for Molina, even without a third catcher. The emergency catcher is Hairston.
• There was some discussion of starting Brett Gardner in place of Swisher, but the Yankees decided to go with Hairston because of his numbers against Martinez.
• The Yankees are not likely to announce a Game 4 starter until after Game 3.
UPDATE, 6:20 p.m.: Here’s the audio from Girardi’s pre-game press conference.
UPDATE, 6:36 p.m.: Derek Jeter is receiving the Roberto Clemente award right now at a press conference downstairs. The award is for commitment to community service.
UPDATE, 6:39 p.m.: Just as a reminder that if you’re interested in getting original Tweets from me, Chad and (mostly) Josh, check us out on Twitter right here. Also, during the World Series, there’s a window on the side of the blog that will be updated in real time with Tweets from us as well as the guys from the News-Journal covering the Phillies.
UPDATE, 7:18 p.m.: They’re getting the stage ready for the Jay-Z/Alicia Keys performance. It’s quite the set-up for what is supposed to be a one-song set. Anyway, if you’re interested, check out this audio from Phil Hughes, who stopped briefly on his way off the field after BP. Hughes did not speak to the media after Game 1, so there was quite a crowd waiting for him.
UPDATE, 7:30 p.m.: Jay-Z and Alicia Keys came walking in from center field and are taking the stage now.
UPDATE, 7:34 p.m.: Let me just say this: There were more Yankees hanging on the rail for the Jay-Z/Alicia Keys performance than there are during the average inning of a game. They were into it. I also loved how A.J. Burnett and Pedro Martinez were behind the stage, warming up on the grass during the song.
UPDATE, 7:40 p.m.: Chad here. The thing that cracked me up during the Jay-Z performance was watching Ramiro Pena video recording the whole thing. He might not be on the roster, but Pena’s taking it all in. Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano ran out to the stage after the performance. They might simply have been getting loose, but it certainly looked like that they were going to say hello. Jeter had the head-bob going during the song.
UPDATE, 7:44 p.m.: Jeter was just presented the Roberto Clemente award. After the presentation, Jorge Posada — who was born in Puerto Rico, where Clemente is beyond a legend — went to hug Mrs. Clemente.
UPDATE, 7:53 p.m.: Nice ovation for O’Neill throwing out the first pitch. Nice, but not nearly as loud as for Bernie. Charlie Hayes made a surprise appearance walking out to the mound to “deliver” the game ball. Umps meeting at home plate and A.J. walking in from the pen. We’re minutes away. Great night for ball in the Bronx.
UPDATE, 7:56 p.m.: This seems like a bad sign to me. A.J. has changed his music from the movie “300” (which was scary) to Marilyn Manson (which is just creepy). Not sure what to make of this.
UPDATE, 7:59 p.m.: And we’re off. It’s 52 degrees at first pitch with clear skies in the Bronx. Enjoy the game.
UPDATE, 8:04 p.m.: Pedro just jumped over the foul line and is on his way to the mound. Good start from A.J. – curveball had nice bite and he spotted a fastball to catch Victorino looking. All good signs.
UPDATE, 8:08 p.m.: Fans here have to get on the same page. That was a very, very weak effort at the first “Who’s your daddy?” chant.
UPDATE, 8:10 p.m.: That was what you’re going to see from Pedro tonight: he set up Jeter with a 70 mph pitch, then came back with a 88 mph fastball that Jeter swung through for strike three.
UPDATE, 8:15 p.m.: That’s 17 pitches for Pedro through one. For a 1-2-3, that’s decent – the goal for the Yankees tonight has got to be to make Martinez work. The sooner they get into that meaty Phillies bullpen, the better off they’ll be.
UPDATE, 8:26 p.m.: Unfortunately for the Yankees, that isn’t Phil Cuzzi working the left-field line tonight. Cowboy Joe West actually made the right call there and now Burnett is in trouble.
UPDATE, 8:27 p.m.: Stairs ripped one that, if you’re being fair, A-Rod should have at least knocked down (if not glove cleanly). Instead, he barely deflects it and Damon has no chance to throw out Ibanez at home. 1-0 Phillies.
UPDATE, 8:36 p.m.: Even though he’s not throwing mid-90s anymore, Pedro still knows how to change speeds. That was a 72 mph curveball that A-Rod had no chance on. He just stared. Best thing you can say is that Rodriguez worked him – that was a nine-pitch AB.
UPDATE, 8:43 p.m.: Cano was just robbed by Ibanez on a diving play in the gap. Now Hairston is up. And this is where Martinez wants to make hay – the bottom of the Yankees order is about as weak as it comes when you’re talking about a $200 million team.