Today, the Yanks left the Bronx to embark on the final road trip of the season. As is tradition, the rookies had to dress up at the veterans’ orders. I have no idea who picked The Wizard of Oz, but Joba Chamberlain (Cowardly Lion) and Ian Kennedy (Dorothy) have never looked better.
As the pictures after the jump amusingly illustrate, Phil Hughes as the Tin Man and Shelley Duncan as the Scarecrow rounded out the quartet. I have no idea if Kyle Farnsworth, perennially in the Yankee doghouse, played the part of Toto.
When the Yanks lost a lackluster game to the Blue Jays this afternoon, they wrapped up the regular season portion of their home schedule. At the end of their 81st game, the Yanks could claim a gate total of 4,271,356. That’s a new franchise record, shattering the old mark by just under 71,000 fans. The Yanks averaged 52,732 per home game this year and should see this number increase in 2008, the team’s last year at the iconic Yankee Stadium. · (0) ·
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.
Matsui LF – Why is he hitting fifth? Why? I’d rather see Giambi hitting than Hideki right now.
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.
Oh, boy. Right on the precipice of the playoffs, this whole A-Rod/Cubs business is sure to rile more than a few feathers. So as I rub my hands together in glee and anticipation, let’s jump in.
First up is the backstory: In the issue of New York Magazine due to hit newsstands later today, the inestimable Will Leitch pens a piece on Alex Rodriguez. The first 1100 words rehash familiar territory: A-Rod’s contract history; the near-trade to Boston; his playoff flame-outs; his 52-home run, 146-RBI season; the Yankees power structure; and the inevitable use of the opt-out clause.
It’s on the second page where things get really good. Allow me to quote at length:
The team that observers believe has the best shot is the Cubs. They’re up for sale, but a source with knowledge of the situation says Boras knows which group is most likely to be awarded the team. (That’s not loudmouth Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, by the way; he has no chance.) The source says Boras has already been in touch with that group about the possibility of a contract that could reach $30 million a year over the next ten years while deferring a certain portion of money toward an eventual stake in the franchise.
The good stuff continues though. Leitch claims that the left shoulder tic — possibly a source of A-Rod’s recent power outage — and subsequent ribbing aren’t good natured. The teasing is supposedly “the kind of thing that does not speak to an undying attachment between player and team.”
So take a deep breath; suck it all; and let’s tear it apart.
ESPN reports on a story in New York Magazine that says A-Rod could wind up owning and playing for the Cubs. I don’t see that happening at all, as the article states. I’ll have more on this story later tonight.
Update: Since I’m now home and off of my Blackberry, here’s a link to the non-mobile version of this article. Scott Boras is already denying it. · (6) ·
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.
Moose is on the mound, and the ‘pen could use a rest, generally not a good mix. Comment away.
After tonight’s meltdown, D-Rays’ closer Al Reyes is now 0-3 with 12.00 ERA & 3.00 WHIP vs the Red Sox this year. Three of his 4 blown saves have come against the Sawx.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised really; Reyes has been released 5 times in the last 6 years, after all. · (15) ·
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:
9/26: Wang (last start of season)
9/27: Pettitte (last start of season)
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.
Joe Torre and Ron Guidry are engaged in the old American dance called the pitching rotation shuffle. Good thing for the Yanks they have pitching depth.
Shortly before tonight’s game — which I’ve decided to chalk up to the “Yanks shouldn’t have won anyway” column — we learned that Ian Patrick Kennedy would be missing his start due to what the AP is calling a strained muscle in his upper back. For what it’s worth, the guys on My9 were saying that Kennedy was, by and large, all right, but the Yanks are being cautious with their young arms. Some sources are calling what Kennedy experienced simply tightness.
But now comes the news that Roger Clemens, he of the $20 million and two September starts, will be pushed back until at least Monday because his left hamstring is giving him some issues. In his stead, Mike Mussina will start on Sunday, and Phil Hughes will toss the game that begins at 1:05 p.m. today. (That means I get to witness yet another Mike Mussina start this year. Save me.)
As the season winds down, the Yanks will try to line up their rotation for their opening playoff series. I think we’ll see Wang, Pettitte, and Clemens, if healthy. The last spot will go to whomever is more effective: Hughes or Mussina. Right now, Mussina is winning the battle. But for now, the Yanks can afford to rest their aching pitchers.
Meanwhile, let’s do some quick notes on tonight’s disappointing game: