Then there was one

The Tigers lost to the Twins tonight 2-0. The Yanks’ magic number for a playoff spot is down to one. Somehow, I think the Yanks will win one game between now and next Sunday. What a comeback.

And starring Kei Igawa as a Flying Monkey…

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.

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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.

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.

Should we trust Will Leitch’s ‘sources’? And other sundry questions about The A-Rod Article

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.

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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.