Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Jorge Posada DH
Curtis Granderson CF
Francisco Cervelli C
Brett Gardner LF
A.J. Burnett RHP
Ben Zobrist RF
Carl Crawford LF
Evan Longoria 3B
Carlos Pena 1B
Matt Joyce DH
John Jaso C
B.J. Upton CF
Jason Bartlett SS
Reid Brignac 2B
Jeff Niemann RHP
TIME/TV: 4:10 p.m. EDT/FOX
UMPIRES: HP D.J. Reyburn, 1B Marvin Hudson, 2B Jim Wolf, 3B Derryl Cousins (crew chief).
WEATHER: It’s a balmy 94 degrees and partly sunny. The PA just played a song about it being a beautiful day for baseball. I’m not sure about that, but it probably looks nice on TV. Anyway, there’s a heat advisory in effect until 6 p.m. as well as a slight chance of a thunderstorm this evening.
IN THE MICK OF TIME: With his team down a run and time running out, Mickey Rivers ripped a two-hopper off the wall in right-center for a two-run double. His Bombers beat the Clippers 3-2 on the walk-off hit at the 64th annual Old-Timers’ Day. Ron Guidry was the winner; Al Downing was the loser. More importantly, it looked like everyone had a good time.
PADDING THEIR LEAD: As for the current Yankees, they moved three games up on the Rays in the AL East race after last night’s thrilling 5-4 walk-off win. They also lead the Red Sox by 6 1/2 games. Of course, the Yankees still own the best record in baseball, but just as impressively they are a superb 21-11 against division opponents this season.
A.J. IN THE EI-LAND OF THE BEHOLDER: Depending on the month, you’ve probably had very different feelings about A.J. Burnett this season. With pitching coach Dave Eiland away dealing with an undisclosed personal matter, Burnett flopped in June, going 0-5 with an 11.35 ERA. He lost all five starts and didn’t make it past four innings in three of them. But Burnett’s fortunes turned once Eiland returned to the club. He is 1-0 with a 1.32 ERA in his last two starts. Just as importantly, Burnett has regained his command; he has allowed just 14 baserunners in 13.2 IP.
HONORING SHEPPARD: The Yankees played a video tribute to Bob Sheppard, who died on Sunday at 99, prior to the Old-Timers’ Day introductions. His widow, Mary, was announced last and presented with a bouquet of flowers. The club will have a special presentation during the seventh-inning stretch of today’s game to honor Sheppard as well.
Update, 4:12 p.m.: The game is underway. Question: Has A-Rod worn tape lately on his right thumb? I haven’t noticed it. It’s on there now.
Update, 4:17 p.m.: Rays lead 1-0 on an RBI double by Carlos Pena. Evan Longoria scored from first after he singled to left with one out.
Pena’s double was poorly played in RF by Swisher. He failed to cut off the ball before it reached the wall and then overthrew cutoff man Robinson Cano. Pena was trotting into second and did not take advantage. A faster or more alert runner may have advanced to third.
Update, 4:35 p.m.: Bad A.J.? Maybe. He hasn’t been that wild, but he already trails 3-0 after that two-run homer by Brignac. A fan in the RF seats made a nice toss back onto the field that nearly caught 2B ump Jim Wolf napping.
The Yank bats will have work to do against Niemann.
Update, 4:53 p.m.: And they’ve begun in earnest. Gardner just slashed a two-run single to make it 3-2. Jeter is now at the plate with two on and one out. Gardner’s single came on a two-strike pitch.
Update, 4:54 p.m.: Something wrong with Burnett? Dustin Moseley is warming in the pen.
Update, 4:57 p.m.: Burnett will pitch the third. The bullpen is quiet for now.
Update, 5:01 p.m.: HBP of Longoria by Burnett, who followed it up by bouncing a wild pitch to Pena. A.J. has lost it faster than Dustin Johnson at this year’s U.S. Open. (Golf joke.)
Update, 5:04 p.m.: After an RBI single by Pena, Joe Girardi came to the mound with Gene Monahan to get Burnett. He leaves trailing 4-2 after two-plus innings pitched. Because Monahan came to the mound, I’m sure Moseley will get some time to warm up here due to an injury.
Update, 5:12 p.m.: The bat you want? The bat you need? MLB.com says the Yanks are showing interest in Wes Helms: http://mlb.mlblogs.com/archives/2010/07/yankees_show_interest_in_helms.html
Update, 5:17 p.m.: Yanks just played a Yogi video between innings followed with “We miss you Yogi” written on the screen. Nice touch.
Update, 5:18 p.m.: The line for bad A.J.: 2+ IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 2 HP, 1 WP. Still no word on his injury.
Update, 5:41 p.m.: Credit Mosely for escaping a two-on, no-out jam there. He retired Crawford, Longoria and Pena consecutively to keep the score 4-2. Yanks will now come to bat here in the last of the fourth. Like yesterday, it feels bleak here but they are right in the game.
Update, 5:52 p.m.: Big spot here for Jeter. Two on, two out, Yanks down two.
Update, 5:53 p.m.: Well, that was quick. Jeter went first-pitch swinging. He hit it hard, but grounded out to Brignac at second.
Update, 5:56 p.m.: * INJURY UPDATE * Per Yankees media relations, Burnett left today’s game with lacerations on his right hand. No word as to how he developed the lacerations.
Update, 6:09 p.m.: The mighty Brignac strikes again. This time it’s a three-run homer to RCF. The Rays now lead 8-2 going into the bottom of the fifth
In other news, Joe West would not enjoy this game.
Update, 6:17 p.m.: A Teixeira HR cut the deficit to 8-3. Chad Gaudin is now on to pitch for the Yankees.
Update, 6:33 p.m.: So a homer by Posada has now cut it to 9-4. It’s still sleepy in here, but Niemann has hardly been Strasburgian. There’s plenty of time.
Update, 6:34 p.m.: Kim Jones is reporting that Cashman said A.J. tripped walking up the stairs and cut his hand bracing his fall.
Of course, this happens to all of us. We just don’t rake in $18 mil a year based on what we do with said hand.
Update, 6:45 p.m.: Encore presentation of Bob Sheppard singing Mother’s Day staple “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.” The video replaces “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” for the day. Naturally, the moment was met with applause from the crowd.
Update, 6:50 p.m.: Jeter’s leadoff single in the seventh snapped an 0-for-10 skid.
Update, 7:03 p.m.: The Yankees actually had an excellent chance that inning to close the gap but the score remains 9-4. Cano grounded out with two on to end the inning.
Update, 7:08 p.m.: Pena just hit home run No. 19 on the season and the cavalcade to the exits began. Rays lead 10-4. Pena now has a season-high four hits today. That is not a surprise considering the egregious .201 average.
Update, 7:30 p.m.: Another narrow escape for the Rays, as Jeter is retired on the very rare 4-U. His ground ball to the right side just evaded Pena, but Brignac, who has played a terrific game, speared it and beat Jeter to the bag by half a step. So the Rays head to the ninth up 10-4.
Update, 7:47 p.m.: Yanks fall, 10-5. The game took 3:35. We’ll talk here in a bit.