Game 160: Trotting out the “A” lineup

Betcha can’t guess who’s not in the lineup. You’ll know after the leadoff slot.

1. Johnny Damon, CF
2. Derek Jeter, SS
3. Bobby Abreu, RF
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Hideki Matsui, LF
6. Jorge Posada, C
7. Jason Giambi, DH
8. Robinson Cano, 2B
9. Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B

And on the mound, No. 35, Mike Mussina.

I’ll now be accepting any and all complaints about my (relative) dislike of Melky.

Game 159: Scrubs day!

Gotta love the lineup tonight. Not much else to say. Enjoy watching some of the irregulars.

1. Johnny Damon, CF
2. Wilson Betemit, 3B
3. Hideki Matsui, LF
4. Jason Giambi, DH
5. Shelley Duncan, 1B
6. Robinson Cano, 2B
7. Jose Molina, C
8. Bronson Sardinha, RF — first major league start for him, and for…
9. Alberto Gonzalez, SS

And on the mound, the reason I’m watching this game, No. 65, Phil Hughes.

Game 158: Seriously, just win

We’ll all feel a whole lot better when the Yanks win a game. Tonight could be the night. Chien-Ming Wang is facing J.P. Howell, and Brian Bruney and Edwar Ramirez are unavailable.

There’s a long, on-going discussion in last night’s game thread about the Devil Rays and the fact that they are not a very good team. Some folks feel we’re too harsh on the Devil Rays. Supposedly, we aren’t willing to give this young and very flawed team enough credit when they beat the Yankees, and we’re too harsh on them when they blow 8-1 leads against the Red Sox.

The truth is, as always, somewhere in between. The Devil Rays, perennially bad, perennially rewarded with early-round draft choices, have shown an uncanny inability to put together anything resembling a decent bullpen. The Yankees, perennially great and very rich, have shown an uncanny inability to rise to the occasion and win.

Maybe the Devil Rays do deserve some more credit. For some reason, whatever that is, they play harder and better against the Yanks. Maybe it’s a question of motivating the youngster to play hard all the time. Maybe the Yanks think they can sleepwalk through these games. Who knows?

Whatever the case may be, the Yankees are 15-16 against the fourth and fifth place teams in the AL East this year. Look no further than that record when you try to figure out why the Yanks aren’t winning the division. Going 20-11, hardly a tall order against two teams destined for more than 90 losses this season is fairly inexcusable.

For the Yanks, the same truth remains from last night: Win, and they’re in. That’s much more satisfying than the likely Detroit loss tonight at the hands of Johan Santana. Let’s get in on a good note.

Damon LF – Ending the year strong. That could be huge for October.
Jeter SS – 19 for his last 47 but with just 1 BB in ten games.
Abreu RF – Stuck on 98 RBI since Sept. 17
Rodriguez 3B
Posada C – The New York Observer thinks Posada deserves more respect this year.
Cano 2B
Duncan DH – Finally, Hit-less-deki got the night off.
Mientkiewicz 1B
Cabrera CF

Wang P – Going for second straight 19-win season

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for your fix of Minor League news, Mike threw up a post about to get buried by this one featuring some quick Minor League hits. Check it out.

Game 157: Win and in

The Yanks are 5.5 games up in the Wild Card with 6 games left this season. Against the odds, they’ve climbed back from a dreadful start to the season, and if they win tonight, it’s as easy as that.

Now, raise your hands: Who among you had Kei Igawa tabbed as the starter who could clinch the Yanks’ postseason berth? In a way, it’s fitting that Igawa is going for redemption and the playoffs for the Yanks tonight. His numbers, in a word, terrible. He’s 2-3 with a 6.75 ERA in 62.2 IP this year. He’s allowed 74 hits and 15 HR while striking out 51 and walking 32.

Meanwhile, the Yanks will once again go without Jason Giambi. Who knows why? Maybe Giambi’s foot is still hurting from his injury last week. Maybe Joe Torre wants to get Hideki Matsui or Melky Cabrera out of their respective slumps through perseverance. Giambi should be in. He needs to get a chance to swing the bat before October.

Anyway, while a Detroit loss could deliver the Yanks to October, it’s much more fun to go in winning. So a win and the Yanks are in. It’s that simple.

Johnny Damon LF
Derek Jeter SS
Bob Abreu RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Hideki Matsui DH
Jorge Posada C
Robinson Cano 2B
Doug Mientkiewicz 1B
Melky Cabrera CF

Kei “Flying Monkey” Igawa LHP

Game 156: Division hopes and dreams

This is easy: If the Yankees are going to have a shot at winning the AL East, they have to win today.

If they win today, they’ll be one game out with six to play. To win the division, they would simply have to outplay Boston by one game. A tie goes to the Yanks. But if they lose, overcoming a two-game deficit in six games, while not impossible, is rather unlikely. But no matter; the playoff ticket wheel is already turning.

Meanwhile, in the Struggling Yankees Department, we have Melky Cabrera (6 for his last 48) and Hideki Matsui (.179/.325/.358 in September). Getting these two players started would do wonders for the Yankees’ upcoming October appearance.

Furthermore, if the Yanks make one more pitching change this season, they’ll break the AL record for pitching changes in a season. Take that piece of information for what you will, but it speaks volumes about both the quality of the Yankee bullpen and Joe Torre’s bullpen tendencies.

So as we ponder questionable stories about A-Rod and the Cubs, let’s sit back and enjoy the last day of regular season baseball at Yankee Stadium for the 2007 season. It’s a beautiful day in New York. Good day for a win, some might say. Let’s bring this one home.

Here is the lineup.

Damon DH
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
Rodriguez 3B
Matsui LF – Why is he hitting fifth? Why? I’d rather see Giambi hitting than Hideki right now.
Posada C
Cano 2B
Mientkiewicz 1B
Cabrera CF

Pettitte P

Update 11:58 a.m. A.J. Burnett was a late scratch from the game today. Jesse Litsch (6-9, 4.16) takes his place. Litsch shut down Boston last week, giving up 1 run on 2 hits in 6.2 innings. He faced the Yanks in August, and the Bombers hit him for 3 runs on 6 hits in 5 innings. So who knows what to expect? Any time A.J. Burnett misses a start against the Yanks, I’m happy.

Game 155: We play today, we win today, das it

The Yanks are having a nice little tribute to the late Phil Rizzuto pregame, but otherwise there’s not much going on.

Oh, Joba turns 22 today, so I guess that’s something. Happy Birthday big guy.

Damon, LF
Jeter, SS
Abreu, RF
A-Rod, 3B
Matsui, DH
Cano, 2B
Melk, CF
Mink, 1B
Molina, C

Moose is on the mound, and the ‘pen could use a rest, generally not a good mix. Comment away. 

Game 154: Just imagine playing today

It’s dark and rainy. The Yanks just played a marathon of a game and lost last night. The only guy I can imagine wanting to be here today is Phil Hughes, who was announced as the starter some time in the past 12 hours. Honestly, I think it’s for the best. I’m concerned about IPK surely, but Hughes should be going every fifth day. He’s the one who’s short on innings; Moose, Rocket, and Pettitte are the ones who could stand for an extra day off over the next week. The Yanks magic number is 5, and I’d imagine that over the next nine games there will be a combination of five Yankees wins or Detroit losses.

We’re in a rain delay right now. According to Pete Abraham, Rocket will be able to go Monday. That should help, since he can go again on Saturday, lining him up with plenty of rest to pitch Game 3 of the ALDS. Indulge me while I go through a projected/ideal rotation, assuming IPK can go on Tuesday:

9/22: Hughes
9/23: Moose
9/24: Rocket
9/25: IPK
9/26: Wang (last start of season)
9/27: Pettitte (last start of season)
9/28: Hughes
9/29: Rocket
9/30: IPK

The ALDS begins on October 3 or 4, so here’s what we’d have:

Game 1: Wang (6 or 7 days’ rest)
Game 2: Pettitte (7 or 8 days’ rest)
Game 3: Rocket (7 or 8 days’ rest, with the off-day)

We’re still in a rain delay. No word on a start time. Here’s the lineup:

1. Melky Cabrera, CF — I despise him in the leadoff spot
2. Derek Jeter, SS
3. Bobby Abreu, RF
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Hideki Matsui, LF
6. Jorge Posada, C
7. Jason Giambi, DH
8. Robinson Cano, 2B
9. Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B

And on the mound, No. 65, Phil Hughes.

P.S. So I’m at a recording studio right now with my roommate, who is working on new album with his band. It feels appropriate to then post this picture of a guitar I really want to own:

If you want to check out his band’s music, you can check out this YouTube video. Yes, someone created a Guitar Hero track of one of their songs:

The things that amuse us during rain delays.

Update: 2:30 is the word on the street.