For those interested in an in-game chin-wag tonight, be sure to head over to Vanessa’s open thread at Flair For The Dramatic, an excellent blog with a link on the right side. I unfortunately cannot since I’m hosting a friend in from out-of-town. Below is the Yankees’ lineup for tonight’s game to kick off the big four-game series versus the Superfluous Acronyms. Note that, not unexpectedly, Pudge is starting and batting eighth. Note as well how much better the bottom of the lineup looks with him and Nady in it. While part of me would rather see the lineup have Cano between Nady and Pudge in order to prevent bullpen match-ups for consecutive batters in later innings, this matters considerably less to me than just having the bottom of the lineup hit. Plus, Pudge has hit lefties (.293) and righties (.295) at about the same clip this year.
Also, according to Lisa Kennelly of The Star-Ledger, the Yanks have designated Chad Moeller for assignment and have called up Chris Britton, who has done well everywhere this year but has been banished under the stairs ala Harry Potter when in The Bronx, and kept in SWB despite very good numbers (3-1, 1.80 ERA, 23 K/25 IP, 1.24 WHIP). Some of this is understandable since Edwar, Veras, Robertson, and Giese have done they job. They’ve also had the chance to do so. Maybe Britton will actually get to pitch this stint, presuming he didn’t inflate Girardi’s Aunt Marge.
A. Rodriguez 3B
I. Rodriguez C
Pettite (12-7, 3.76 ERA, 1.288 WHIP) goes tonight against Jon Garland (9-6, 4.30 ERA, 1.455 WHIP, 60 K/44 BB/132 IP). Lefties are batting .285 against Garland, and righties at an even better clip at .294. He’s yielded 14 homers this year and historically has been somewhat prone to coughing up the long ball–26 in both 2005 and 2006. He throws fairly hard but cannot afford to leave his stuff up. He’s most effective when getting ground balls.
The Yankees would do well to get an early lead. Why? In the twelve games since the All-Star break, the Yankees are 9-3, doing quite well. But I’d contend a good reason for their success isn’t just that they’re scoring lots in wins, but when they score, that matters. In the 9 wins, the Yankees have scored 60 runs–23 in innings 1-3, 23 in innings 4-6, and 14 from the seventh inning onward. In their wins, they’ve often held early leads, forcing Minnesota, Oakland, and to a degree Boston to play from behind. Conversely, in the three losses, the Yankees have scored 12 runs–half in Tuesday’s 7-6 loss to Baltimore. Worse, they scored all of one run in the first six innings of their two losses to Baltimore, and only three during the first six innings in the three losses combined. Score often, but score early as well I say.