LHP Pettitte (1-0, 0.75)
Career vs. Rangers
RHP Harden (0-0, 2.79)
Career vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 1:05 p.m./YES Network
UMPIRES: Mike DiMuro HP, Tim Welke 1B (crew chief), Tim Timmons 2B, D.J. Reyburn 3B
WEATHER: It’s already a beautiful, sunny day here at the park. However, today’s forecast calls for mostly cloudy skies with a 20 percent chance of isolated showers. Highs will be in the mid 50s. Winds are out of the NW at 10-15 MPH with gusts as high as 25 MPH.
I’m in for Chad today. More to come from the clubhouse in a bit…
A-NOTHER SPOT TO CLIMB: Alex Rodriguez hit his 584th home run yesterday, moving him past Mark McGwire and into sole possession of eighth place on MLB’s all-time home run list. A-Rod snapped a 41 at-bat homerless streak, the third-longest of his career and longest since 49 homerless at-bats in 1995. Now, Rodriguez needs just two more homers to tie Frank Robinson for seventh on baseball’s most storied list.
CAN’T CURB THIS CAPTAIN: Derek Jeter has hit safely in all 11 games this season and is batting .380 (19 for 50). The Elias Sports Bureau said it is Jeter’s highest average through 50 at-bats since 1999 when he batted .440. Jeter will not start today because of a head cold.
ON THIS DATE IN YANKEE HISTORY…: Yankee Stadium opened its doors for the first time ever. It was April 18, 1923, and the Yankees beat the Red Sox 4-1. The guy they say built the place, Babe Ruth, belted the park’s first home run, a three-run shot in the third inning. Ironically, 46 years and a day later the Yankees dedicated a monument at the Stadium to Ruth, who passed away the previous August.
UPDATE, 12:24 p.m.: I’m back with a few pregame notes —
• Jeter will not start for the first time in 2010. He is suffering from the same head cold that supposedly plagued him yesterday, although the captain picked up three more hits, including a homer. Joe Girardi said he held off on posting the lineup because he wanted to check on Jeter. Obviously, he didn’t like what he heard. (Girardi said he wouldn’t take the word of Jeter, who never wants to sit out, but judge if his shortstop felt better by the sound of his voice.) Ramiro Pena will start at short and bat ninth. He replace Jeter yesterday because Jeter was ill.
• Girardi expects a better start from Javier Vazquez on Tuesday in Oakland, saying he was encouraged by the improvement Vazquez showed in his second start. I’ll have more on this in the paper, online and on the blog tomorrow, but Vazquez said the issue is his mechanics. His arm’s been late, causing his ball to sail rather than sink. He’s not concerned about his velocity being a touch off. Last year he played winter ball and competed in the World Classic and said that made his arm stronger earlier in the season than it is currently.
That’s all for now. Time for lunch. Enjoy the game and let me know if you have any questions.
UPDATE, 1:03 p.m.: The Yankees take the field.
UPDATE, 1:09 p.m.: After watching Granderson fight the sun for that fly out by Elvis Andrus to start the game, I just want to mention something leftover from Friday. I wasn’t there for this, but Granderson told some reporters that the sun was tough during the day games last Tuesday and Wednesday. He said he discussed it with Torii Hunter of the Angels, who agreed that center was a tough sunfield at the new stadium.
Anyway, I found that interesting. We’ll see if it comes into play. This is one of those Sunday afternoons that gets John Sterling reaching for adjectives.
UPDATE, 1:24 p.m.: Gardner just stole his sixth base of the year. Texas could’ve had him, but Matt Treanor made a bad throw to second, one-hopping it on the first-base side of the bag. Gardy remains a perfect 6 for 6.
UPDATE, 1:32 p.m.: Yanks lead 1-0 after one thanks to two hit batsmen and a walk from Harden, who had this to say prior to today’s start. Uh oh, Rich.
UPDATE, 1:55 p.m.: That’s a one-out RBI double by Andrus, who pulled an inside pitch just past the glove of a diving A-Rod. The ball bounced around in the corner and slipped by Gardner, but Treanor would have scored no matter what. The game is tied 1-1.
UPDATE, 2:03 p.m.: The Rangers lead 2-1 in the middle of the third, but it could’ve been worse. The inning was on the brink until Teixeira snared that line drive off the bat of Hamilton, who pulled one that was born an RBI double. Pettitte escaped the inning on a pop out by Vlad, but credit Tex. Another outstanding play.
UPDATE, 2:05 p.m.: There is is, your first Teix message of 2010. It was a no-doubter into the second deck. Teixeira had gone 41 at-bats without a homer to start the year, the second-longest stretch of his career. The game is tied 2-2.
UPDATE, 2:09 p.m.: Correction on Tex. It was a 40 at-bat homerless streak, not 41.
UPDATE, 2:16 p.m.: The bases are juiced for Swisher. After the third conference already this game, Texas will stick with Harden. There’s been no serious activity in the pen yet.
UPDATE, 2:20 p.m.: The first hit of 2010 for Ramiro Pena is a big one, a two-out, two-run single to right. It’s 4-2 Yankees. Who needs Jeter? (kidding)
UPDATE, 2:40 p.m.: That as a rough start for Harden, who performed his finest Oliver Perez impression, looking unhittable occasionally but mostly just plain wild. The task now falls to Dustin Nippert. Yanks are just 5 for 19 against Nippert with zero extra-base hits.
UPDATE, 2:53 p.m.: They just showed Tanyon Sturtze on the big board. It should be noted that he raised his left arm to waive to the crowd. (Thanks, Joe.)
UPDATE, 3:01 p.m.: That’s just 82 pitches through six for Pettitte, who has now retired 11 of 12 beginning when Tex snared the line drive that would’ve scored a runner in the third.
UPDATE, 3:08 p.m.: Three more trips on base today for Gardner, who just easily picked up his seventh steal of the year. 7 for 7.
UPDATE, 3:26 p.m.: So far, so quietly, the old Yankee guard — who really will fall off, someday before they turn 50 — is off to another tremendous start. That solo homer by Posada was his third of the year. He’s nearing .400. As I mentioned earlier, Jeter is off to the second-fastest start of his career. And Pettitte is cruising along. In fact, the Yankee pen is quiet, so I think Andy’s coming out for the eighth.
UPDATE, 3:43 p.m.: Assuming it’s over, that was an outstanding in-game comeback by Andy Pettitte. He looked lost in the third inning, but rebounded to retire 17 of the last 19. In fact, the Rangers don’t have a hit in that span. Their last was a single by Michael Young with one out in the third. Yanks lead 5-2, middle of the eighth.
UPDATE, 3:46 p.m.: Gardner has now reached base seven times and stolen three bases in the last two games. That ground ball to second was ruled a single, perhaps because Joaquin Arias made such a bad play he never touched it.
UPDATE, 3:50 p.m.: Oops, make that 7 for 8 for No. 11, who was picked off at first base and will be credited with a caught stealing. Now that play was executed well by the Rangers in order to catch the speedy Gardner at second base.