9/18 – Yankees at Mariners

Getting ready for baseball here at Safeco Field, where A.J. Burnett will be trying to reverse his recent skid that has seen him go 1-5 with a 6.14 ERA since the beginning of August.

At the root of his problems have been an inability to avoid the big inning, and this is a very good test – facing a guy in Felix Hernandez who traditionally is not about to give up a lot of runs.

As Joe Girardi said, it’s not like they can expect to win this game 10-8 tonight. But they certainly would like to win it, no matter the score.

“It would be a nice way to start the road trip,” Girardi said.

Interesting topics pre-game as Girardi said that the Yankees might just celebrate a little when they clinch a playoff spot – the magic number for that is four. The big celebration will be for the American League East, which has a magic number of 10 coming into play tonight.

There has been some discussion about which AL Division Series the Yankees would prefer to play, and the effectiveness of Burnett and Joba Chamberlain comes into that.

Girardi said that you can probably figure out “22 or 23” of the guys on the playoff roster and the rest will have to be hammered out based on the ALDS schedule and – of course – the opponent. We’ve all got hotels booked in both Detroit and Minneapolis for the ALDS. Never can be too careful.

Brian Bruney has switched to No. 99 because he “never much cared for 38,” according to Jason Zillo. According to YankeeNumbers.com, Bruney will become just the second Yankee to wear No. 99. Charlie Keller did it for part of the 1952 season. Naturally it is the highest number ever worn in Major League Baseball.

Here are the lineups:

YANKEES (94-53)
Jeter SS
Damon LF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Matsui DH
Swisher RF
Cano 2B
Cabrera CF
Molina C

Pitching: RHP A.J. Burnett (11-9, 4.33).

MARINERS (76-71)
Ichiro RF
Gutierrez CF
Lopez 2B
Griffey Jr. DH
Beltre 3B
Hall LF
Hannahan 1B
Johnson C
Wilson SS

Pitching: RHP Felix Hernandez (15-5, 2.52).

Update from Arlington — the Angels have beaten the Rangers, 2-0. The magic number for the Yankees to celebrate clinching a playoff spot is now 3.


M’s fan here…why do you think Felix wasnt at his best? Id say a 9 inning outing with only giving up 1 earned run vs the best lineup in the majors is pretty sharp, even in the playoffs that would be outstanding. He only threw around 100 pitches too iirc, usually he throws closer to 120. If you mean the Yankees didnt hit in key situations, yeah i guess, but they didnt have a ton of runners in scoring position, there was maybe 3 rough innings for Felix at most?


What concerns me is not that Mo blew a save-–it’s gonna happen-–it’s that once again a great opposing pitcher–-remember the most recent Halladay game?-–wasn’t at his best and the Yankees failed to capitalize. So, for those wondering about facing Verlander in the playoffs, Fri night was a perfect example of how it can go wrong. And letting Molina hit in the 7th, under the circumstances of this particular game, was far from helpful. Even if Mo saves the game. Just a bad move on Girardi’s part.

Oh, and props to AJ for a job well done. Maybe next time, buddy.


One of the rare occasions where Rivera blows a save. Pity it cost Burnett the win today, but if AJ can pitch like this in the playoffs then all is well. His curveball was just stunning.


Next time walk Suzuki, Girardi.


The game rests in the hands of Mariano.


AJ pitched very well tonight, a good sign for the playoffs.


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