Hello once again from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, where the Yankees will go up against Cliff Lee and try to earn a split of this very quick two-game series. It just doesn’t seem like Lee has his stuff tonight. How can you tell? His first pitch was outside of the strike zone.
Derek Jeter got to Lee with a sinking line drive to right that led off the game, Jeter’s 2,877th hit, surpassing Mel Ott for sole possession of 38th place on baseball’s all-time list and giving Jeter the most hits of any player in a New York uniform – Ott, of course, having played his entire Hall of Fame career in a Giants uniform.
The Yankees could use a good performance here tonight from Javier Vazquez, who is still fighting a little case of “dead arm.” The difference from earlier in the season is that Vazquez seems to have learned how to pitch with decreased velocity a little more effectively, but it will be a tall order to go head-to-head with Lee.
Joe Girardi had nothing but glowing things to say about Lee, before noting that the Yankees have their own star innings-eater – CC Sabathia. Girardi said Lee is a luxury for any manager, and you’d have to imagine, somewhere in the back of his mind he was pondering how different his rotation might look if the Yankees had pulled off that trade with the Mariners (or, some would argue, how it’ll look with Lee near the top in 2011).
Here are tonight’s lineups:
Derek Jeter SS, Nick Swisher RF, Marcus Thames DH, Alex Rodriguez 3B, Robinson Cano 2B, Jorge Posada C, Austin Kearns LF, Lance Berkman 1B, Brett Gardner CF
RHP Javier Vazquez (9-8, 4.63)
Elvis Andrus SS, Michael Young 3B, Josh Hamilton CF, Vladimir Guerrero DH, Nelson Cruz RF, David Murphy LF, Bengie Molina C, Mitch Moreland 1B, Cristian Guzman 2B
LHP Cliff Lee (10-5, 2.44)