Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher RF
Mark Teixeira !B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Jorge Posada C
Curtis Granderson CF
Juan Miranda DH
Brett Gardner LF
CC Sabathia LHP (12-3, 3.09)
B.J. Upton CF
Carl Crawford LF
Evan Longoria 3B
Carlos Pena 1B
Ben Zobrist 2B
Kelly Shoppach C
Willy Aybar DH
Gabe Kapler RF
Jason Bartlett SS
James Shields RHP (4-9, 4.87)
TIME/TV: 7:05 p.m. ET/MY9 and MLB Network
UMPIRES: HP Derryl Cousins (crew chief), 1B D.J. Reyburn, 2B Marvin Hudson, 3B Jim Wolf
WEATHER: 93 degrees and partly cloudy. It is hot and humid, but a good night for baseball. There is a slight chance (30 percent) of a thunderstorm tonight that could bring gusty winds.
Update, 7:10 p.m.: The picture above was taken by the Associated Press. It is of George Steinbrenner’s statue just inside Gate 2.
The game is underway. Enjoy it everyone…
Update, 7:38 p.m.: Sorry for the lack of updates guys and girls. I’m just trying to catch up because of the busy pregame.
The Rays just pulled ahead 1-0 on an infield single by Zobrist, who moved to first on a throwing error by A-Rod. Rodriguez tried to make a difficult play on the speedy Zobrist but his long throw got away from Mark Teixeira. Zobrist moved to third on a soft single by Kelly Shoppach and scored on Willy Aybar’s sac fly.
No worries about Sabathia. He still looks awfully sharp.
Update, 8:00 p.m.: It’s 2-0 Rays in the middle of the third. Longoria delivered an RBI double with two outs in the third.
Sabathia wasn’t very sharp in the third. Now, he has already thrown 46 pitches in three innings.
Update, 8:02 p.m.: Here’s a transcript of Jeter’s speech during the tribute to The Boss: “We gather here tonight to honor two men who were both shining stars in the Yankee universe. Both men, Mr. George Steinbrenner and Mr. Bob Sheppard, cared deeply about their responsibilities to this organization and to our fans, and for that, will forever be remembered in baseball history and in our hearts.
“Simply put, Mr. Steinbrenner and Mr. Sheppard both left this organization in a much better place than when they first arrived. They’ve set the example for all employees of the New York Yankees to strive to follow.
“So now I ask everyone to join us in a moment of silence.”
Update, 8:22 p.m.: Rays lead 2-1 heading into the bottom of the fourth. Swisher answered Longoria with a run-scoring hit of his own.
In other news, I ran into Chad before the game. He’s somewhere in right field watching the game with a friend. I got the impression he wasn’t exactly in the type of seats where he’ll catch many home-run balls. Anyway, hello to Chad.
Update, 8:44 p.m.: Yanks trail 3-1 but Sabathia did a good job to escape with just one run. The Rays loaded the bases with no one out and scored when Longoria grounded into a double play. Sabathia walked Pena before retiring Zobrist for the third out on a called third strike that kind of, maybe, possibly, looked a little low. Regardless, his pitch count isn’t great — 84 — but he should be able to pitch seven.
I know some of you think the Yanks look flat. They certainly haven’t squared up many of Shields pitches. It’s been a lot of lazy flies and weak ground balls to this point aside from Swisher’s RBI single to right.
Update, 8:51 p.m.: For those of you following along but not watching the game, you just missed two great plays by the Rays. Upton started the inning with a diving shoestring catch on a sinking liner to center by Gardner. Then, with two outs, Kapler robbed a possible home run from Swisher with a leaping catch at the top of the wall in right. Swisher hit a soaring fly ball that — judging by the replay — would’ve hit the top of the wall at the very least. Swish was understandably stunned when he saw Kapler had caught the ball.
Still 3-1 Rays. Shields still has a two-hitter, but it could be a tie game without those two gems.
Update, 8:54 p.m.: … and then there’s the Yankee defense.
It appeared Swisher just lost Shoppach’s high fly in the lights, but the ball did hit his glove. E9.
Update, 9:00 p.m.: Say what you want about Sabathia, but he has escaped several problems, including his own command issues and a potentially troublesome drop by Swisher. He’s through six now and it’s still 3-1.
For those of you at home, you’re missing out on a great part of the tribute to Steinbrenner. The videos in between innings of players talking about The Boss are a nice touch. They just showed Mariano Rivera. This may surprise you, but when he talked about Steinbrenner, he smiled. Such an unhappy guy.
Update, 9:07 p.m.: Cano had two terrible at-bats off Shields earlier in the game, but he smacked that homer, his 17th of the year. If you check the head-to-heads I posted above, Cano has thrived against Shields throughout his career.
Update, 9:11 p.m.: The Yanks struggled all day until those back-to-back homers. The game is now tied 3-3 and there’s finally a little life here in the ballpark.
You have to think that somewhere George just gave a nice fist pump.
Update, 9:23 p.m.: 4-3 Rays on an RBI groundout by Zobrist.
I had just started writing my story. Was I the only one who thought the Yanks had grabbed the momentum and were NOT going to lose this game?
Update, 9:44 p.m.: If the Yankee bullpen is holding auditions for important roles, David Robertson just delivered a nice reading. He struck out the side. Yanks still trail 4-3 going into the bottom of the eighth.
Update, 9:49 p.m.: Let’s go Yankees chants are heating up now after Swisher ties the game 4-4. Swisher will be a quote machine after this one of the Yankees win.
Update, 10:01 p.m.: Tie game after eight. Here’s Rivera to pitch the ninth.
So folks, who’s gonna be the hero?
Update, 10:15 p.m.: Yanks up here with a chance to win it in the ninth. Joba is warming in the pen.
Update, 10:27 p.m.: Two on, one out, Dan Wheeler in for Tampa. Jeter has a chance to be the hero after an 0-for-4 night.
Update, 10:33 p.m.: Good job by Wheeler. He nearly struck out Jeter looking and came back with a good pitch. I have no idea what’s behind this pitching change. A righty for a righty? Que?
Update, 10:40 p.m.: Swisher is the hero. He just ripped a two-out single to right. Yanks win 5-4.
Few have ever enjoyed the pie to the face like Swisher did there.