Derek Jeter DH
Curtis Granderson CF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Nick Swisher RF
Raul Ibanez LF
Russell Martin C
Jayson Nix SS
RHP Phil Hughes (2-4, 6.67)
Hughes vs. Mariners
Dustin Ackley 2B
John Jaso C
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Jesus Montero DH
Kyle Seager 3B
Mike Carp LF
Justin Smoak 1B
Michael Saunders CF
Munenori Kawasaki SS
RHP Hector Noesi (2-3, 6.30)
Noesi has not faced any current Yankees
TIME/TV: 4:05 p.m., YES Network
WEATHER: Simply gorgeous. A perfect day for baseball.
UMPIRES: HP Chris Conroy, 1B Scott Barry, 2B Jerry Meals, 3B Gary Darling (crew chief).
HAPPY BIRTHDAY YOGI!: Yankees legend Yogi Berra — who many consider to be the greatest living Yankee — turns 87 today. A three-time MVP and 10-time World Series champion, Berra was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1972. The Yankees will hold a ceremony to commemorate him prior to first pitch.
CANOTABLE: In his last five games, Robinson Cano is batting .600 (12 for 20) with eight RBI and at least one extra-base hit in each contest (three doubles, two home runs).
ROTATION SHAPING UP: With Andy Pettitte set to join the rotation tomorrow, things are starting to look up for the Yankees starters of late. Over the first four games of the current six-game homestand, the starters are 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA (26.2 IP, 22 H, 4 ER, 10 BB, 23 K, .222 opp. batting average).
(NOTE: I’ll be updating here every so often, but I’ll definitely be more active on Twitter. Follow me @vzmercogliano to join in the conversation.)
UPDATE, 4:19 p.m.: Quick first inning. Both teams go down 1-2-3, with loud outs from each 3-hole batter. Hughes got through the first on an efficient nine pitches, while A-Rod nearly muscled one out near the RF foul pole. He got under it, but is still strong enough that he was almost able to sneak it out of here.
UPDATE, 4:39 p.m.: The Yankees bats just exploded in the bottom of the second with four extra-base hits. Teixeira doubled down the RF line (despite the shift), and after Swisher flew out to LF, the Yankees strung together three straight two-out hits. RBI doubles from Ibanez and Martin were followed by a two-run homer from Nix. Martin in particular smoked a ball to the CF wall, busting a 1 for 16 slump. I heard him talking to Swish in the clubhouse pregame about taking extra BP. Nix’s opposite field HR broke an 0 for 20 slump dating back to last season. It’s 4-0 Yanks going into the third.
UPDATE, 5:12 p.m.: Hughes just had his first inning with multiple base-runners in the fourth, but he never allowed a Mariner to get past second. Ichiro singled and Montero walked, but Hughes struck out Carp looking to end the threat. He’s looked pretty sharp (albeit against a pretty meager Seattle lineup) through four innings. Most importantly, he’s at 63 pitches, which means he has a good chance to get deep into this game. It’s still 4-0 Yankees.
UPDATE, 5:20 p.m.: Ibanez’s solo shot in the bottom of the fourth gives the Yankees a 5-0 lead. He just passed Granderson for second on the team in RBI with 21. And that was no cheapie. Probably about 420 feet over the CF wall.
UPDATE, 5:55 p.m.: Hughes just gave up his first run of the game — a solo shot to Carp in the seventh — but that was his only hit allowed in the inning. The pitch was low, which Girardi stressed that Hughes needed to do before the game, so I would give Carp credit on that one. He hit it a long way. Hughes is through seven innings on 96 pitches. This start has been a big confidence booster, and I’d let him face a few batters in the eighth. It’s 5-1 Yankees.
UPDATE, 6:19 p.m.: Hughes has turned in his best performance of the season. He got two quick outs in the eighth before giving up an infield single and a bloop hit, but the Yankees couldn’t have asked for more. His final line: 7.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. And here in the bottom of the eighth, Jeter just tied Tony Gwynn for 17th all-time with his 1,141 career hit. It’s his second hit of the game.