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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Game 154: Rays at Yankees

Posted by: vmercogliano - Posted in Misc on Sep 21, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

YANKEES (93-60)
Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Robinson Cano DH
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Nick Swisher RF
Jorge Posada 1B
Andruw Jones LF
Eduardo Nunez 2B
Austin Romine C

RHP Hector Noesi (2-1, 4.01)
Noesi vs. Rays

RAYS (85-68)
Desmond Jennings LF
B.J. Upton CF
Evan Longoria 3B
Matt Joyce RF
Johnny Damon DH
Casey Kotchman 1B
Jose Lobaton C
Elliot Johnson 2B
Reid Brignac SS

RHP James Shields (15-11, 2.78)
Shields vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 1:08 p.m., YES Network

WEATHER: It’s a bit chilly and cloudy, but there hasn’t been any rain yet. The forecast calls for showers later, so we should be O.K. for the first game. The second may be another story.

UMPIRES: HP Scott Barry, 1B Wally Bell, 2B Fieldin Culbreth, 3B John Hirschbeck

CLINCHER?: With a win in the first game of today’s doubleheader, the Yankees will clinch a postseason berth. With two wins and a Boston loss, they clinch the division. A celebration is coming…

DOUBLE TROUBLE: This is will be the Yankees fourth doubleheader of the season. They’ve swept one, and split twice so far. They’ve gone 12-1-14 in doubleheaders since 2000, only getting swept by Boston in 2006.

A-ROD NEARING JUNIOR: Alex Rodriguez currently has 629 career home runs, one away from former teammate Ken Griffey, Jr.’s mark of 630. Could today be the day? He’s a career .281 hitter against Shields with three HR in 32 at-bats.

UPDATE, 1:11PM: Easy 1-2-3 inning for Noesi to get things started. Struck out Jennings to lead off the game, then got Upton and Longoria to fly out. Let’s not forget that Noesi is a guy who Girardi has said will compete for a rotation spot next season. He’s been impressive since getting called up.

UPDATE, 1:21PM: A-Rod doubles to the warning track in center with two outs, scoring Jeter and giving the Yanks a 1-0 lead. For a second it looked like it might have a chance to get out, but he’ll take the RBI double. The thumb looked pretty good right there.

UPDATE, 1:32PM: Romine blocks a ball in the dirt, recovers and guns out Joyce on the steal attempt. I guess you can see why Girardi prefers him over Jesus Montero.

UPDATE, 1:40PM: After allowing the first two batters of the second inning to reach base safely, Noesi strikes out Lobaton looking to end the inning. He’s at 33 pitches.

UPDATE, 1:52PM: Jennings launches his 10th homer of the season over the State Farm sign in left field. The two-run shot gives the Rays a 2-1 lead. LHP Raul Valdes is warming in the Yankee pen.

UPDATE, 1:57PM: After an infield single from Longoria on a shaky play from Posada, Valdes is in to face the lefty Joyce with two outs.

UPDATE, 2:01PM: Valdes gives up a single to Joyce, but gets Damon swinging to end the inning. 2-1 Rays going into the bottom of the third.

UPDATE, 2:20PM: Not a bad outing for Valdes, who goes 1.1 innings while striking out three. The guess is that he’s done, but you never know with the lefty Jennings leading off next inning. He’s thrown 30 pitches.

UPDATE, 2:29PM: Posada looks bad on a swinging strikeout to end the fourth. Since A-Rod’s first inning RBI double, the Yanks have only one hit. George Kontos is in to start the fifth for the Yankees. It’s still 2-1 Rays.

UPDATE, 2:36PM: And another call to the bullpen. We may be mixing and matching all the way through in this one. Aaron Laffey is in to replace Kontos with two outs in the fifth. I know the Yanks have an expanded roster, but I doubt Girardi wants to use any relievers twice in one day. He has to be careful not to keep switching pitchers every other batter.

UPDATE, 2:55PM: Nunez lines a single to left, then steals back-to-back bases to get to third. He’s been having trouble on steals recently, but looks like a one-man show right now. Romine has a chance to drive him in with one out.

UPDATE, 2:57PM: Romine hits a hard liner right at Longoria at third, who promptly steps on the bag for the double play before Nunez can retreat back. Big opportunity to tie the game down the drain.

UPDATE, 3:05PM: Here’s Cory Wade in relief of Laffey. Kotchman is on second with one out after a leadoff double. Sean Rodriguez is in to pinch hit for Johnson.

UPDATE, 3:10PM: Nice play by Jeter, ranging to the other side of second base to get Brignac and end the threat. Say what you will about his diminishing defense, but he still makes plays like that.

UPDATE, 3:29PM: Onto the sixth reliever of the day for the Yanks. Wade gets two outs in the sixth, and here comes Boone Logan to face Matt Joyce. This is the spot where the Rays have three straight lefties in the lineup. What’s your guess on how many arms Girardi burns in this first game?

UPDATE, 3:41PM: Shields issues his first walk of the game to Posada, who is pinch run for by Chris Dickerson. Then, Curtis Granderson comes in to pinch hit for Jones. With all of the pitching changes and now these moves, it’s pretty clear that Girardi is trying to win this game.

UPDATE, 3:44PM: Granderson stays in the game to play CF, moving Gardner to LF. Swisher takes Posada’s place at 1B, and Dickerson will play RF.

UPDATE, 3:50PM: Here comes pitcher No. 7 for the Yanks, Luis Ayala. Logan got Damon to fly to left, before hitting Kotchman and allowing a hard single to Lobaton. Runners on 1st and 2nd with one out.

UPDATE, 3:58PM: Ayala does it again. He’s been so reliable this season. He just struck out Ben Zobrist and Brignac back-to-back to end the top of the eighth. Nunez coming up for the Yanks.

UPDATE, 4:02PM: Nunez comes out swinging, lining a home run over the left field fence that makes it over the wall by about an inch. It counts nonetheless, and the score is tied at 2-2 here in the eighth.

UPDATE, 4:10PM: That’s it for Shields after a single by Gardner and a walk to Jeter. Lefty JP Howell is coming in to face Cano, who is a .294 career hitter off of Howell.

UPDATE, 4:17PM: What else did you expect? Cano is hitting .315 with runners in scoring position this season, and he just raised that average with a double over the outfielder’s heads into the left-center field gap. Gardner and Jeter score, and now the Yankees have a 4-2 lead. Brandon Gomes is in to face A-Rod.

UPDATE, 4:22PM: Here comes Mo. Girardi puts A-team defense out there, moving Cano to 2B and bringing in Mark Teixeira to play 1B and Russell Martin to catch.

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