Game 61: Time to go on a roll

The Royals are in town. David Ortiz, Dice-K, Manny and Jacoby Ellsbury are banged up. Did I mention the Royals – a team that has been outscored by 63 runs thanks to a 4.58 team ERA and a MLB-low .311 team OBP – are in town?

Thaaaaaaa Yankees’ lineup!

1. Damon, LF
2. Jeter, SS
3. Abreu, RF
4. A-Rod, 3B
5. Matsui, DH
6. Walk-off, 1B
7. Cano, 2B
8. Molina, C
9. Cabrera, CF

On the mound, he of the rotation high 154 ERA+, Darrell Rasner.

Notes: LaTroy Hawkins’ suspension was upheld, so he’s out for 3 games (that’s a good thing) … Chris Britton strained his ribcage while warming up yesterday, and has been placed on the 15-day DL, Dan Giese has been summoned from Scranton to take his spot (I say it’s 50/50 that the Yanks were just looking for an injury so they could recall Giese) … Mariano Rivera has a 1185 ERA+ this year … if you’ve missed any of my draft coverage, go here.

Game 60: Hip, hip…

…Jorge!

It’s the return of Jorge Posada, and for once, the Yanks have their opening day lineup on the field. Wait. What’s that? They don’t? Oh no. Now what?

Well, Jason Giambi is out for the second straight day with a foot problem. If this develops into another bout of plantar fasciitis, I’d probably write a serious post suggesting that the Yanks sign Barry Bonds. For now, we’re just holding our collective breaths.

Meanwhile, on the mound today is Chien-Ming Wang, and he really needs a good start. After starting the season with a 6-0 record, a 3.00 ERA and 32 strike outs in 45 innings, Wang had an alarming May. He went 0-2 with a 5.67 ERA and did not nail down a win in five starts for the first time in his career. In 33.1 innings, he has walked 16 while striking out just 13, and his mechanics seem a bit out of whack. Hopefully, he can start June off on the right note.

Game time is 1:05 p.m., and Mike will have draft coverage above this post as it unfolds later this afternoon.

Damon DH
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
Rodriguez 3B
Matsui LF
Posada C
Cano 2B
Betemit 1B
Cabrera CF

Wang P

Site Notes: Even though it’s relatively early, we’ve got a lot of content up on site so far today. Be sure to check out Mike’s early draft coverage, my thoughts on a Steve Goldman article and news concerning Brian Cashman’s future.

Game 59: If we don’t give up 9 runs, we just might win

Just a couple of notes on the lineup. Posada has been activated, replacing Dan Giese on the roster. Which is a shame, considering LaTroy Hawkins is still around (and yeah, a bunch of other guys in the bullpen who could have been optioned out — at least it wasn’t Chris Britton.

Giambi tweaked his foot last night — not a good sign, considering the time he missed and was ineffective with plantar fasciitis. Apparently, he’s undergoing treatment, and it’s not clear whether he’ll be available to pinch hit tonight.

We’re counting on Moose for some innings tonight, mostly because it’s not advisable to go deep into the bullpen. It’s scary out there.

Your lineup:

1. Johnny Damon, LF
2. Derek Jeter, SS
3. Bobby Abreu, RF
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Hideki Matsui, DH
6. Wilson Betemit, 1B
7. Robinson Cano, 2B
8. Jose Molina, C
9. Melky Cabrera, CF

Game 57: Just another night game in June

I was under the impression that tonight’s Yankees-Blue Jays game was some sort of momentous game. But when I went to look at MLB.com, ESPN.com and all the New York news outlets, I couldn’t find anything out of the ordinary about today. It is yet another game in which the Yankees will aim to finish the day at .500. That’s getting old.

In real news, today’s a big day in Yankeeland for the 65-70 pitches that Joba throws will forever set the course of the universe. Will Hillary Clinton drop out of the Democratic race for president this week? Will gas prices continue to rise throughout the summer? Will the new Coen Brothers movie be as funny as it looks? All of these questions — and more — will be answered after Joba throws the Most Important 65 Pitches Ever Thrown.

Okay, okay. So maybe it’s not that big a deal. Maybe that is just step one in what is bound to be a process, but that’s the same as expecting Yankee fans to one day accept the fact that no team will go 162-0, that A-Rod won’t hit 1.000 with a 4.000 slugging and that no pitcher — outside of Mariano Rivera — is going to be perfect every time out.

For tonight, expect about four or five innings. Expect some Blue Jays hitters to be more patient than usual. Expect to see how Joba adjusts to pitching a game instead of pitching on adrenaline. Expect to see some secondary pitches. And expect — as Mike does — no less than two fist-pumps. Anything else would just be disappointing.

Damon LF
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
Rodriguez 3B
Matsui DH
Giambi 1B – His OPS of .910. Who saw that coming?
Cano 2B – Just take some pitches. Jeez.
Molina C
Cabrera CF

Number 62, Joba Chamberlain P

Game Notes: Dan Giese is up to fill in that long reliever role. A confused Chris Britton doesn’t understand why Scott Patterson is heading back to Scranton this time around.

Game 57: Breaking even

The .500 refrain is getting old. Let’s just start a winning streak and break this stranglehold on that .500 plateau. The Yanks are 28-28 on the season and 3-3 on their current mini-road trip. They face Roy Halladay tomorrow, and a win today would be fantastic.

Other than that now-daily refrain, there’s not much to say. Andy Pettitte, coming off a strong start, faces Livan Hernandez who’s been better than expected for the Twins this year. Livan faced the Yanks last year and got lit up. A repeat of that performance would be great.

Expect a lot of roster moves this week and a win tonight. I hope. Game starts at 7 p.m. Apparently, the Twins can’t start two consecutive games at the same time.

Damon LF
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
Rodriguez 3B
Matsui DH
Giambi 1B
Cano 2B
Moeller C
Cabrera CF

Pettitte P

Game 56: Morgan Ensberg, we hardly knew ye

So the Yanks ended May on a strong note and begin June with a slew of roster moves, both rumored and confirmed. We’ll start with the confirmed.

Morgan Ensberg has been DFA’d to make way for none other than Scott Patterson. After the Yanks’ last few games, the team decided they’d had enough of the ineffective Ensberg and needed some bullpen relief. In 80 plate appearances, Ensberg hit .203/.263/.243, and his term on the Yanks is over.

Meanwhile, as Mark Feinsand notes, Patterson may be up for only a few days. The plan seems to be to move Dan Giese into the long relief role to shadow Joba Chamberlain‘s first few starts. The Yanks were going to opt for Jeff Karstens, but the oft-injured pitcher hurt his groin last night.

Finally, Jorge Posada will be back on the active roster on Wednesday it seems, and the Yanks plan to keep both Jose Molina and Chad Moeller around for a little while. The bench therefore is going to look a little weak for a few days with Molina, Moeller, Wilson Betemit and Shelley Duncan, increasingly looking overmatched in the Majors, filling out the final sports. The Yanks will have to do something soon to beef up that bench, and I don’t think replacing anyone with Alberto Gonzalez is the answer.

Darrell Rasner faces Nick Blackburn this afternoon in a 2 p.m. game. Let’s start June on a winning note.

Damon LF
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
Rodriguez 3B
Matsui DH
Betemit 1B
Cano 2B
Moeller C
Cabrera CF

Rasner P

Game 55: Ending May on a good note

The Yanks came into May after a sub-par April. They were 14-15 to start the month and were facing questions about the team. Phil Hughes had gone down; A-Rod had gone down; Jorge Posada had gone down. Things were not looking good.

With all of that baggage, May was a bit of a rocky month for the Yankees, and as recently as nine days ago, the Yanks were facing a very bad month. They were 20-25, and the season was on the precipice of slipping away. But the tide has seemingly turned, and the Yanks find themselves 7-2 over their last nine games.

So here we are on the last day of May, and the Yanks are looking to improve on their April record. They sit at 27-27 and, obviously, need a win tonight to move over .500 for the first time since the end of play on May 5.

The man on the mound is the one you want pitching in search of that win. Chien-Ming Wang, 6-2 with a 3.82 ERA, gets the ball today. He is winless since May 2 and could really use a solid start today. In his career on artificial turf, Wang is 7-3 with a 4.52 ERA. He’s allowed 90 hits in 75.2 innings, a product of his extreme ground ball tendencies. Opponents slug .059 higher off Wang on turf than on grass.

Damon LF
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
Rodriguez 3B
Matsui DH
Giambi 1B
Cano 2B
Molina C
Cabrera CF

Wang P

Game Notes: I hate Saturday evening games. They should be outlawed. What’s wrong with playing a regular afternoon game?…The Yanks will call up a long reliever on Tuesday to shadow Joba’s first few starts. As PeteAbe speculates, Jeff Karstens will probably get the call because he’s on the 40-man roster and is a better option than Kei Igawa.