As the uproar over yesterday’s performance starts to calm down, another issue comes to the forefront. Mark Teixeira will not be in the Yankees lineup for the third straight game. The Yankees continue to claim that it’s just soreness, but one can’t help but be at least a little worried at this point. Thankfully, his MRI has come back negative and there’s hope that he’ll play tomorrow. Then again, they said that on Friday, so there’s no reason to believe it right now.
Even without the team’s two best hitters, the lineup doesn’t look all that bad tonight. There isn’t a major power threat in there, but it’s pretty solid one through seven. The last two spots are going to be black holes for the time being, at least until A-Rod gets back and bumps Ransom out and everyone else down a spot. Perhaps that will even spur some production from Gardner. For now, though, the Yanks will have to settle for seven solid hitters and no real superstar.
I’m a bit surprised that Girardi didn’t move Cano up in the order. Matsui’s down batting seventh, but Cano remains in the sixth spot. Sliding Cano into the cleanup spot would not only take advantage of his hot bat, but it would set the order nicely: R, L, S, L, S, R, L, R, S. Melky, despite his two double plays yesterday, gets the start in center. With Kazmir on the mound it seems like a good a day as any to sit Gardner, though I suspect he’d fare no worse than Melky despite the platoon advantage.
On the pitching side, Chien-Ming Wang looks to rebound from his shaky start to 2009. In 13 appearances against the Rays in his career, Wang has held them to a .255/.303/.350 line, going 7-4 with a 3.35 ERA. In two stars last year Wang pitched 13 innings and allowed just one run. That’s the kind of performance the Yanks are going to need out of him tonight. He’s opposed by Scott Kazmir, who has a 2.51 career ERA against the Yanks in 68 innings. Last year he held the Yanks to two runs in 17 innings over three appearances. Maybe we’ll get an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel tonight.
We end today’s game thread on a sad note. Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas passed away while preparing for his job today. What a way to go. He was 73. Even those not in the Philadelphia area probably know Kalas’s voice. He did the voiceovers for NFL Films and the Campbell’s Chunky Soup commercials. RIP, Harry. Broadcasting just lost a great talent.
And as if that’s not sad enough Mark Fydrich was found dead at his home today. He was 53. Many of us are too young to remember The Bird, who retired from baseball in 1980 at age 25. He made his mark on the league by pitching 250 innings of 2.34 ERA ball at age 21 in 1976. Alas, he managed just 27 starts for the rest of his career. Fydrich will always have a special place in my heart; I did a biography report on him in the first grade…I believe my parents still have a photo of me in my homemade Tigers jersey.
And on the mound, number forty, Chien-Ming Wang.