After last night’s game, Joe Girardi made a point of saying Thursday’s off day would give him a chance to rest some guys two days in a row. Some would have tonight and tomorrow. Some would have Thursday and Friday. I’ll speak for myself and say I was expecting at least three everyday players to be out of the lineup tonight.
Instead, there was one. Curtis Granderson is getting the night off. Jorge Posada, Brett Gardner and Lance Berkman are out as well, but those three gets days off pretty regularly anyway.
“You see our lineup,” Girardi said. “We’re playing to win this division. We’ll be smart about it, but we’re still playing to win this division.”
Girardi said he asked around the clubhouse, and based on last night’s answers from players — nothing but a series of “I want to play” responses — I’m sure he heard nothing but positive reports. Girardi specifically said he talked to Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, two guys who recently had lower body injuries and might benefit from a day off of this turf.
“These guys know their bodies better than I do for sure, and I’ll listen to them,” Girardi said. “I talked to them and they feel good. When you’re trying to win the division, you want those guys in the lineup.”
Clearly tonight’s lineup doesn’t rule out the idea of a few guys getting some rest over the weekend, but the Yankees have built-in off days on Thursday, Monday and Tuesday. It’s quite possible that I’m one of several who underestimated how badly the Yankees want home-field advantage and overestimated how much rest their position players might need.
• The Yankees rotation this weekend: Andy Pettitte on Friday, A.J. Burnett on Saturday and TBA on Sunday. “Obviously depending on what happens over the weekend, that’s part of (choosing Sunday’s starter),” Girardi said. “I think you might (also) look at do your bullpen guys need to throw that are going to be on the playoff roster.”
• Girardi didn’t rule out the idea of Phil Hughes starting Sunday, but that seems unlikely. Girardi said Hughes will pitch one of the games in Boston, but it sounds like that will be in relief. Hughes said he’s been going through his usual routine as if he’s going to make his next scheduled start. He had a bullpen session today.
• CC Sabathia will not pitch in relief in Boston.
• Girardi said Sabathia pitching Game 1 is the only piece of his postseason rotation that’s set. Whether he uses three or four starters. Whether Pettitte pitches Game 2 or 3. All of that’s up in the air. “We don’t know who our opponent is,” Girardi said. “We don’t know where we’re going to be. There are a lot of factors that come into making the rotation.”
• Girardi said he’s not opposed to having back-to-back lefties in his postseason rotation. He said the fact Pettitte is starting Friday does not indicate he’s going to start Game 2.
• It’s not coincidence that Greg Golson is getting a start tonight. Girardi said Golson is “someone you possibly look at down the road.”
• Don’t forget, tonight’s game start a half hour later than scheduled. First pitch is at 7:33 p.m. But that’s Canadian time, so I have no idea what that means in New York.
UPDATE, 6:19 p.m.: Blue Jays lineup for Cito Gaston’s final game.
Travis Snider LF
Yunel Escobar SS
Jose Bautista RF
Vernon Wells CF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Aaron Hill 2B
Adam Lind DH
John Buck C
John McDonald 3B
Associated Press photos of Rodriguez and Teixeira — possibly taken just moments after convincing Girardi to let them play tonight — and Girardi clearly considering some sort of global takeover.