Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Hideki Matsui DH
Jorge Posada C
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Brett Gardner CF
Pitching: LHP Andy Pettitte (3-0, 3.24 ERA in postseason)
Jimmy Rollins SS
Shane Victorino CF
Chase Utley 2B
Ryan Howard 1B
Jayson Werth RF
Raul Ibanez DH
Pedro Feliz 3B
Ben Francisco LF
Carlos Ruiz C
Pitching: RHP Pedro Martinez (0-1, 2.08 ERA in postseason)
TIME/TV: 7:57 p.m., FOX
WEATHER: Cloudy and cold, with temperatures in the low 40s and maybe even dropping into the 30s. Light winds. Rain unlikely until after midnight, if at all. Check out the full forecast here.
STATE OF THE STRIPES: The Yankees remain one win away from their 27th World Series title after the Phillies stayed alive with a win in Game 5. This is the first World Series to go six games since 2003 when … well, you know. Of the 60 previous teams that have held 3-2 leads in the World Series, 40 have gone on to win the series but only 23 did it in Game 6.
HISTORY LESSON: This is only the second time in World Series history that a team has led 3-2 in the World Series after losing Game 1 and winning Game 2 at home, then winning Games 3 and 4 and losing Game 5 on the road. The only other team to do it was the 1935 Tigers, who – take a guess – beat the Cubs in Game 6 at home to win the World Series.
TEAM OF THE DECADE?: If the Yankees win this World Series, they will have won two titles, been to the World Series two other times, lost in the ALCS once, lost in the first round four times and missed the playoffs once during the 2000’s. The Red Sox, who would be the closest competitor, will have won two titles, lost in the ALCS twice, lost in the first round twice and missed the playoffs four times.
SHORT TRACK RECORD: Andy Pettitte starts on three days rest tonight after allowing four runs in six innings and throwing 103 pitches in Game 3. Pettitte has made four previous postseason starts on three days rest, with varying success. They are:
• 2003 World Series: 8 1/3 innings, 1 R (unearned), 6 H; he threw 92 pitches in last start.
• 2000 ALDS: 3 2/3 IP, 5 R, 10 H; he threw 108 pitches in last start.
• 1997 ALDS: 6 2/3 IP, 4 R, 6 H; he pitched five innings in last start (pitch count unavailable)
• 1996 ALCS: 8 2/3 IP, 2 R, 3 H; he threw 121 pitches in last start
CHASE HIM AWAY: A reporter jokingly asked Johnny Damon the other day about kidnapping Chase Utely, and Damon paused, as if considering the idea. Maybe the Yankees should. Utley has hit five home runs during the World Series, four of which have come off left-handed pitchers (three off CC Sabathia, one off Phil Coke). Overall, Utley is 4-for-7 with a double, 3 homers, and 6 RBI in the last two games.
BIG AL: Alex Rodriguez has 18 RBI during the playoffs, fourth most all-time in any given postseason behind the record of 19, which is held by Sandy Alomar Jr., Scott Spiezio and David Ortiz. Of those 18 RBI, eight have tied the game or put the Yankees ahead.
HOT YANKS: Johnny Damon is 6-for-9 with four runs scored in the last two games after going 2-for-12 in the first three. Jorge Posada has a hit in all five World Series games and each of his last eight World Series games going back to 2003. Hideki Matsui, who returns to the lineup tonight, is 5-of-his-last-9 with two home runs.
RANDOM QUESTION OF THE DAY?: What kind of pie would you want slammed in your face if you had the World Series-winning walkoff? (Official LoHud Blogger answer: Chocolate Cream Pie)
IF THERE WERE WALK-TO-THE-PLATE-MUSIC IN REAL LIFE, TODAY’S WOULD BE: (Boys are) Back in Town by The BusBoys (check out this clip if you don’t know it – and who doesn’t love the movie “48 Hours”?)
Back with more later. Joe Girardi is scheduled to be in the interview room at 3:45 p.m.
UPDATE, 4:52 p.m.: Welcome to Game 6 everyone. Chad here with some notes from Girardi’s session with the beat writers.
• Mariano Rivera is available for two innings. In theory, that’s the max, but Girardi wouldn’t completely rule out more. If the Yankees have a lead in the eighth — any lead — is Rivera going to pitch? “Probably,” Girardi said.
• David Robertson gets ready faster than Alfredo Aceves, that’s part of the reason Robertson pitched before Aceves in Game 5. He didn’t got to Chad Gaudin because he wanted Gaudin still available if the Yankees tied the game it went extras.
• The Yankees gave serious consideration to starting Jerry Hairston Jr. in right field, but they gave no thought to starting him in center. Hairston is the backup center fielder, but Brett Gardner’s defense made him an obvious choice, Girardi said.
• Not that we needed confirmation, but it was asked anyway. Is CC Sabathia the Game 7 starter? “I’ll see how he feels today,” Girardi said. “But it’s probably a pretty good bet.”
Here’s the Girardi audio from the press conference.
UPDATE, 4:54 p.m.: Scott Brosius is throwing out the first pitch. Bernie Williams has also thrown one this postseason, as have David Cone, Paul O’Neill and Tino Martinez. Does it make Girardi feel old to have his former teammates throwing out first pitches?
“I don’t need those guys to make me feel old,” he said.
UPDATE, 5:06 p.m.: Cloud cover has made the temp here drop quickly. It’s going to be chilly tonight. Yanks are hitting on the field now and everyone is wearing sweatshirts or fleeces.
UPDATE, 5:36 p.m.: The Yankees have Mariano Rivera. The Phillies have … um … something else. Here’s Charlie Manuel on the Phillies’ ninth inning situation: “I definitely will be talking to (pitching coach Rich) Dubee a lot. It’s kind of how we feel, and it even could be kind of like the match-ups that we like.”
Translation: I have no earthly idea.
UPDATE, 6:24 p.m.: Before every home playoff game, I believe the Yankees have shown on the video board the same YES segment about all the walk-off wins. It’s a nice montage, but it was clearly put together before Juan Miranda added his name to the list. The video segment ends after walk-off number 14, the Francisco Cervelli game-winner. No mention of Miranda. The LoHud blog hasn’t forgotten you Juan!
UPDATE, 7:32 p.m.: Jorge Posada is doing a few sprints in the outfield by himself. Looks like he’s waiting for Pettitte to come on out and start loosening up. The Yankees are playing their highlight montage set to the Black-Eye Peas song “I Gotta Feeling” — something which every team, everywhere, probably has done. The Phillies had one, too. The Yankees did a nice job with theirs.
UPDATE, 7:48 p.m.: Mary J. did the “extended remix” of the national anthem. That was long. Pretty good, though.
UPDATE, 7:50 p.m.: My favorite part of the pre-game: The starting pitcher (in this case, Pettitte), making the long walk from the bullpen in to the dugout. Pitching coach by his side but usually no conversation. Just alone with his thoughts before he goes to work. Gives me chills each time.
UPDATE, 7:58 p.m.: And we’re off. It’s cloudy and 47 degrees at first pitch. Big night in the Bronx tonight. Enjoy the game everybody.
UPDATE, 8:02 p.m.: How about that? Not only did Utley not hit a home run, he made two outs in one at-bat. Guess that’s better than hitting him and giving him first base for free.
UPDATE, 8:08 p.m.: So far, so good on the crowd. We’ve already got a “Who’s your Daddy?” chant and everyone started screaming as soon as Jeter made contact (which led to the “ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh” in unison when Francisco made the catch. The “ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh” is one of my favorite parts of covering pro sports. No one does an “ohhhhhhhhhhhhh” like Yankee Stadium.)
UPDATE, 8:20 p.m.: Pettitte has some nice break on the few curveballs I’ve seen so far. That’s a good sign.
UPDATE, 8:21 p.m.: Blog jinx? That was his first wild pitch.
UPDATE, 8:27 p.m.: Nothing close for Alex. Can’t blame Martinez for that.
UPDATE, 8:34 p.m.: Now the “Who’s Your Daddy?” chants are coming hard and fast, after Matsui goes deep again. That’s his third homer of the World Series and second off Pedro. Great at-bat, too – eight pitches. It’s 2-0 Yankees.
UPDATE, 8:37 p.m.: Matsui has three homers in his last six ABs. Could a guy who didn’t start three games of the series be the MVP?
UPDATE, 8:45 p.m.: That was a good break and a bad break for the Yankees: Good in that if Ruiz hits that to any other part of the park, it’s a home run. Bad in that it hit the top of the Dunkin’ Donuts sign and bounced away from Gardner, allowing Ruiz to reach third instead of stopping at second. Either way, it leads to a sac fly from Rollins and it’s 2-1.
UPDATE, 8:53 p.m.: Good job by second base ump Jeff Nelson seeing Victorino short-hopped that. Victorino started back on the ball and couldn’t recover. Looked like maybe he lost it for a moment and found it too late.