Friday, September 30, 2011

Yankees Finalize Playoff Roster

The Yankees finalized their playoff roster this morning.  Here is the roster for the first round, if the Yankees advance they can adjust the roster before the ALCS begins. 

Starting Pitchers:CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia

Bullpen:Mariano Rivera, Dave Robertson, Rafael Soriano, Boone Logan, Luis Ayala, Cory Wade, Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett

Cathers:Russell Martin, Jesus Montero

First Base:Mark Teixeira

Second Base:Robinson Cano

Shortstop:Derek Jeter

Third Base:Alex Rodriguez

Left Field:Brett Gardner

Center Field:Curtis Granderson

Right Field:Nick Swisher

Bench:Eduardo Nunez, Eric Chavez, Andruw Jones, Chris Dickerson

DH:Jorge Posada

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Yankees Notes prior to the start of the Postseason on Friday

Here are some notes from today's workout at Yankee Stadium with the postseason beginning tomorrow night.  ALDS Game One at Yankee Stadium will begin at 8:37PM with a marquee matchup of two aces in Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia, Game Two will be the same time on Saturday night.  The teams will have off Sunday and then shift to Game Three on Monday and Game Four if necessary on Tuesday.  The start times for the games in Detroit haven't been announced yet but I am sure they will also be at 8:37PM.  The games in the first round will be broadcast on TBS. 

The Yankees were in Tampa last night to finish their season.  It was a crazy night in baseball with a lot of emotion.  The Yankees didn't get home until the wee hours of this morning and that’s why Joe Girardi opened this afternoon’s press conference by saying up front that he wouldn’t be answering one of the most basic questions.

“Let me just start out by saying, and I’m sure this question is going to be asked, we do have the roster put together, but I have not had a chance to talk to everyone,” Girardi said. “So as soon as I get a chance, I will share it with all of you. Most of us got to our homes about 5 in the morning. You can understand why a few players aren’t here yet.”

Before you get too upset at Girardi, it’s worth noting that Jim Leyland also refused to announce his roster. So, for now we’re stuck waiting for an official group of 25 Yankees will be active for tomorrow’s division series.  I understand when Girardi protects his team but the fans and media can't stand it. 

“Just because people weren’t picking us to win the World Series (in spring training), doesn’t mean we didn’t believe it,” Mark Teixeira said. “At the same time, it’s nice to say, ‘Hey guys, told you so. Told you we had a good team.’ We don’t go out there trying to disprove people’s theories or hypothesis of what’s going to happen in the season. What we do is try to win every single game, and at the end of the year, it worked out for us.”  I don't think the Yankees can every really be a true underdog but it is crazy that basically no one picked them and there were some that said they wouldn't even reach the postseason. 

 Girardi confirmed what was suspected: That Jorge Posada will be his everyday designated hitter this series. All of the Tigers starters are right-handed. “I don’t live in the past,” Posada said. “I live in the future. I live day-by-day, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”  This is good to see with Posada as it should be his swan song, if he has a good postseason and the Yankees go deep what a way to finish his career. 

 Girardi on Alex Rodriguez: “If last night was a postseason game, I’m playing him. That’s the bottom line. As I said, the time of year, we had to be somewhat cautious with some of our players, because I would hate to lose a player on the last day of the season… I have no doubt that he’s healthy enough to play every day.”

 Jesus Montero is also healthy enough to play. “I saw him today,” Girardi said. “He’s fine. He got hit on the outside of the last two fingers. He’ll have a bruise, but I saw it. There wasn’t really any swelling. He’s okay.

 Because Girardi wouldn’t announce a roster, he wouldn’t announce whether Austin Romine is going to make the team as a backup catcher. With Montero healthy enough to play, and not expected to get any DH starts, he could serve as the backup catcher this series.

 Obviously A.J. Burnett hasn’t officially made the roster, but it’s clear he’ll be an active part of the division series bullpen. “You want to see how quickly he can warm up,” Girardi said. “That’s something we got an idea about (last night), and I feel that he can do it if he has to do it.”

 If the Yankees carry Burnett and Phil Hughes with Mariano Rivera, Dave Robertson, Rafael Soriano, Cory Wade and Boone Logan, that’s already a seven-man bullpen. Hard to imagine they’d carry more than eight, which would leave room for only one of Luis Ayala, Hector Noesi and Bartolo Colon.  I would be on Luis Ayala with Noesi and Colon being left off the roster.  I don't think Colon has anything left to offer them at this point.  Colon was a huge plus on this team for the whole first half, he was a suprise and gave the team everything that he had. 

 Girardi on his conversation with Burnett about moving to the bullpen for at least this round: “He was good about it. We talked about it, and I gave him the option, because he had just thrown about 100 pitches on Sunday, and it would have been his throw day, his bullpen day anyway. He said, ‘Yeah, I want to give it a shot.’ I said, ‘I’m going to have you face one hitter, that’s it. I can’t tell you exactly when it’s going to be, but I’ll try to give you sufficient time to warm up.’ He was great about it.”

 Leyland announced only his first three starters: Justin Verlander, Doug Fister and Max Scherzer. He didn’t say whether Verlander will pitch Game 4 on short rest. Girardi has committed to Sabathia pitching that game.

Remember Josh Hamilton in last year’s ALCS? Given that context, Girardi was asked how he’ll approach pitching to Miguel Cabrera. “We understand the type of hitter Miguel Cabrera is and how you have to be careful with him,” Girardi said. “I think the biggest difference between this lineup with Detroit this year and maybe last year was the addition of Victor Martinez and how Avila has arrived. But in saying that, we will be careful with Miguel Cabrera.”  There is no way they can let Cabrera beat them, they had to learn from last year. 

It should be a good series, I would give the slight edge to the Yankees and say they are going to win the series in four games.  I know it is going out on a limb a little, I think most will probably say five games.  If the Yankees beat Verlander though, that makes it awfully tough on the Tigers.  The thing about the Yankees this year is they have the speed to go with the power which is a great combination, they can hit homers but also manufacture runs which you need to do in the postseason.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Yankees postgame notes from Monday night

The Yankees held rookie hazing night on Monday night and these were the costumes: Andrew Brackman and Dellin Betances are towering versions of Milli Vanilli. George Kontos is George Michael. Jesus Montero is MC Hammer. Brandon Laird is Slash, complete with a guitar and black vest and Austin Romine is Madonna.  I always get a kick out of this stuff and you can see pictures on the Associated press and also

The story that had people laughing even before the costumes came from Russell Martin, who actually went into detail about his ejection in the fifth inning. He’d just gone to the mound to calm down Phil Hughes, who was upset about some borderline pitches, and when he got to the plate, Martin started talking to home plate umpire Paul Schrieber. Here’s Martin’s version of conversation.

Martin: “Did you stretch before the game?”

Schrieber: “What?” (said while walking in front of Martin)

Martin: “Did you stretch before the game?”

Schrieber: (gave Martin a puzzled look)

Martin: “I feel like you’re kinda tight right now.”

“I didn’t say it in a way that was condescending,” Martin said. “I was trying to loosen things up a little bit because I felt like he wasn’t really having a good time, and so he threw me out. I didn’t say he sucked. I didn’t say he was the worst umpire in the league. I didn’t say any of that stuff. I just made a joke and he then threw me out, no warning, nothing. Gone.”

Someone suggested that perhaps Schrieber didn’t get the joke.

“I think he got it,” Martin said. “I think he just didn’t like it.”

 Obviously Girardi didn’t go to his top relievers tonight. He said that’s because he wants to use all of his top guys on Tuesday. Using them tomorrow gives them a chance to stay fresh, but it still gives them two days off before the division series opener.

The plan is still to have Phil Hughes pitch again on Wednesday. “We need to get him back out there,” Girardi said. “He hasn’t pitched in two weeks, so I wasn’t sure what I’d get today. It’s important that he comes out feeling okay tomorrow and that his back is okay.”

Girardi wasn’t worried about Austin Romine getting back behind the plate after catching 14 innings last night. “He’s young,” Girardi said. “I don’t worry about that.”  I would agree with that, at this point he can do it and is more then willing. 

 Girardi also said using Romine wasn’t necessarily an indication that he’s planning to carry Romine on the postseason roster. Girardi also wanted to save Montero for a pinch hitting opportunity, because he knows Montero might be asked to pinch hit in the playoffs.  I just don't see Montero catching in the postseason unless it is an emergency. 

Jorge Posada was involved in two double plays that ended with plays at the plate. “He made a good double play on the bullet, then the other double play on the stolen base attempt by Johnny,” Girardi said. “He did OK over there.”  I thought it was strange using the word ok, I thought he did better then that, those were two very good plays from a non first baseman. 

 Hector Noesi has allowed five runs on nine hits and three walked in 4.2 innings as a starter. He has a 6.84 ERA in 16 road appearances this season. His ERA is 2.59 in 14 appearances at home.

 Robinson Cano now has 81 extra-base hits, tied with Roger Maris for the third-most by a Yankees left-handed hitter since 1950. Don Mattingly had 86 in both 1985 and 1986.

Cano has 14 home runs in 8 career games at Tropicana Field. That’s his most at any visiting ballpark. In his past nine games at the Trop, Cano is hitting .417 with three homers and 10 RBI.  He made his major league debut in the ballpark so maybe that has something to do with it, but he definitely is comfortable in Tampa. 

Yankees lose to the Rays as a triple play is the turning point of the game

The New York Yankees were defeated by the Tampa Bay Rays by the score of 5-3 on Tuesday night. Bartolo Colon started and was much better then his previous two outings. He wasn’t great but he wasn’t bad at all. The bullpen gave up the lead, well actually Rafael Soriano gave up the lead. The rest of the bullpen did it’s job. The Yankees lineup was reshuffled to how it probably will be in the postseason and really didn’t have much of an impact. It is hard to judge the Yankees on these games, because they are just getting their work in, they really aren’t trying to win the games. The Yankees second season will begin on Friday and that is what their focus is on.
Colon pitched 5 1/3 innings giving up two runs on seven hits. He walked two and struck out three. Cory Wade pitched 2/3 of an inning giving up a hit, Soriano pitched one inning giving up a hit and three runs with two walks and a strikeout. Soriano got charged with a blown save, his third and the loss putting his record at 2-3 on the season. Dave Robertson faced two batters, retiring them both and striking out one and Mariano Rivera faced one batter and struck him out.

Eduardo Nunez had two hits, Robinson Cano had a walk and Alex Rodriguez had two walks. Mark Teixeira had two hits, Nick Swisher had a hit and an RBI and Jorge Posada had a walk. Russell Martin had a hit and an RBI and Brett Gardner had a hit and a walk. Teixeira and Swisher each had a double. Martin had a homerun. The Yankees were 1-5 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base. Gardner had a stolen base. Nunez and Colon each made an error. Colon had a pickoff.

In the second inning Ben Zobrist hit a two run homerun to give the Rays a 2-0 lead. In the third Martin hit a solo homerun to cut the lead in half. In the fifth inning Granderson hit into a double play and a run scored making it a 2-2 game. In the sixth Swisher had an RBI double and the Yankees lead was 3-2. In the seventh Matt Joyce hit a three run homerun to give the Rays a 5-3 lead and that was how the game would end.

The Yankees have lost the first two out of three in this three game series. The Yankees have nothing to play for and that is how they are playing. They aren’t going all out and their pitchers especially, in this game they wanted to get a bunch of their relievers work and in the first game and Wednesdays game they didn’t really have a starter. The Rays and Red Sox are tied for the wild card with one game to play. If they both win or both lose their will be a one game playoff in St. Petersburg to determine the wild card winner on Thursday afternoon at 4:00PM. The Rays have David Price pitching on Wednesday and the Red Sox have Jon Lester so I don’t know who would be pitching in a one game playoff. It makes the final day very interesting, and I am sure all baseball fans will be locked in on Wednesday night.

Yankees lose in Tampa as Tampa evens up the wild card

The New York Yankees lost to the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night by the score of 5-2. Hector Noesi started for the Yankees and only was able to pitch a couple of innings. Noesi has been a reliever with the Yankees all season, the Yankees used a bunch of pitchers after him that did ok. The offense was basically Robinson Cano and that was it. James Shields pitched for the Rays and continued to do what he has been doing, pitching well and getting the victory. The Yankees have nothing to play for but they will give a representative effort. The Yankees aren’t going to kill themselves out there though as they have everything wrapped up.
Noesi pitched two innings giving up five hits and three runs. He walked two and struck out one. Noesi took the loss and is 2-2 on the season. Raul Valdes pitched two innings giving up two hits and one run with a couple of strikeouts, Phil Hughes pitched 1 2/3 innings giving up one hit and two walks. He did strike out one batter and George Kontos pitched 2/3 of an inning giving up a run and two walks. He struck out one batter. Hughes was pitching out of the bullpen as that will be his role in the postseason, he will pitch again out of the pen on Wednesday to see if he will be ready for Friday and Saturday. Luis Ayala pitched an inning giving up a hit and a walk with a strikeout and Andrew Brackman pitched 2/3 of an inning giving up a walk. Noesi threw one wild pitch in the game.

Derek Jeter had a walk and got robbed of an extra base hit. Cano had two hits and two RBI, Alex Rodriguez had a hit and Eric Chavez had a walk. Russell Martin had a hit, Eduardo Nunez had a hit and a walk and Brett Gardner had a hit. Nunez had a double, Cano had a homerun. The Yankees were 1-6 with runners in scoring position and they left five men on base. Nunez was picked off of first base by Shields.

In the first Cano hit a solo homerun to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. In the third Cano had an RBI single to make it 2-0 Yankees. In the bottom of the third B.J. Upton hit a two run double to tie the game at two. Johnny Damon had an RBI single to give the Rays the 3-2 lead. In the fourth Kelly Shoppach hit a solo homerun to give the Rays a 4-2 lead. In the seventh Damon hit a sacrifice fly to make it a 5-2 lead. That would be the final runs in the game.

The Yankees keep saying they are playing to win these games but they aren’t going to go all out to win. The Yankees have wrapped everything up and have nothing to play for other then to respect the game. The Yankees aren’t going to go out there and roll over but they aren’t going to push any of their pitchers, they are using their bullpen to pitch games and they aren’t going to play their regulars every game all game. The Yankees will send Bartolo Colon to the mound on Tuesday night against Hellickson for the Rays. The Yankees will probably use a bunch of guys out of the bullpen in the final regular season game on Wednesday. It could be a wild couple of days as the Rays and Red Sox are tied for the wild card. If the wild card is tied there will be a one game playoff on Thursday at Tropicana Field between the two teams. The Yankees still don’t know who their opponent will be in the first round even though they will play Game One on Friday night in the Bronx, they will play Game Two Saturday night in the Bronx.

Mets lose to the Reds at home

The New York Mets lost to the Cincinatti Reds by the score of 6-5 on Monday night. Chris Schwinden started for the Mets and pitched pretty well but got a no decision. The bullpen used six relievers and the results were mixed. The majority pitched well but a couple of them didn’t. The offense had a good night with 13 hits and five runs scored. Jose Reyes and Ruben Tejada led the offensive charge with three hits each.
Schwinden pitched five innings giving up five hits and three runs with two of them being earned. He walked one and struck out five. Daniel Herrera gave up two hits without recording an out, Ryota Igarashi pitched 1 1/3 perfect innings with a strikeout and Tim Byrdak took the loss giving up two hits and two runs without recording an out. Byrdak is 2-1 on the season, Josh Stinson got charged with a blown save which was his first. Stinson pitched 2/3 of an inning giving up a hit, run and a walk. Dale Thayer pitched one perfect inning striking out one and Bobby Parnell pitched a perfect inning striking out one.

Reyes had three hits and two RBI, Tejada had three hits and Willie Harris had two hits and a walk. David Wright had a hit and an RBI, Nick Evans had two hits and two RBI and Josh Thole had a hit. Jason Pridie had a hit, Schwinden had a walk and Mike Baxter also drew a walk. Evans, Reyes and Harris each had a double and Pridie had a triple. The Mets were 2-11 with runners in scoring position and they left 10 men on base. Reyes had a stolen base and Tejada was caught stealing. Schwinden had an error.

The Reds grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first on a Joey Votto sacrifice fly. In the second Devin Mesoraco hit an RBI double to give the Reds a 2-0 lead. In the bottom of the third Wright hit an RBI single and Evans hit a two run double to give the Mets a 3-2 lead. Dave Sappelt had an RBI single in the fourth inning to tie the game at three. In the bottom of the fourth Reyes hit a sacrifice fly to give the Mets a 4-3 lead. Chris Heisey hit a three run homerun in the seventh to give the Reds a 6-4 lead. The Mets would score one more run in the bottom of the eighth. Reyes hit an RBI double and the final score would be 6-5 in favor of the Reds.

The New York Mets will finish with a losing record but they would like to get a couple of wins and take the final series. The Mets record is 76-84 on the season. They were playing so well for so long, it wasn’t like they were legitimate contenders but they were hanging in there being right around 500. They got to September and just disappeared. It is possible they just got worn out, this is a good learning experience for the young guys though. The Mets did a lot of good things this season and they are headed in the right direction. They really need to straighten out their money situation with the owners and hope that they could get some pitching. The Mets would like to see Johan Santana back next season, he is an ace but what capacity will he be at. The Mets have a pretty good lineup especially if Jason Bay has found something in the last month and continues it into next season. The Mets biggest problem is winning at home and they are going to move the fences in at Citi Field to try and help with this problem. It seems that a lot of the problem is mental with the Mets and maybe even moving the fences in a little will get them thinking good thoughts and it isn’t so bad anymore. When you aren’t winning you will try anything to get it turned around.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Yankees split a doubleheader with the Sox as the Sox win the nightcap in 14 innings

The New York Yankees split two games with the Boston Red Sox on Sunday afternoon and night. They won the first game in the afternoon by the score of 6-2 and lost the night game by the score of 7-4 in 14 innings. A.J. Burnett started the day game and pitched very well, Ivan Nova pitched on in the night game but not his best. The Yankees offense in both games was pretty good. The bullpen wasn’t bad either in either of the games. Scott Proctor gave up the runs in the night cap to lose the game but everyone else pitched well.
Burnett pitched 7 2/3 innings in the day game giving up five hits and two runs. He walked two and struck out six. Burnett is 11-11 on the season. Dave Robertson pitched 1 1/3 innings giving up one hit and he struck out three. Nova pitched 6 1/3 innings giving up eight hits and four runs in the night game. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out three. Boone Logan faced two batters and retired them both, one with a strikeout, Rafael Soriano pitched an inning giving up a hit and Mariano Rivera pitched an inning giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one. Raul Valdes gave up a hit and retired one batter, Cory Wade pitched two innings without giving up a hit and he struck out two and Aaron Laffey pitched two inning giving up two hits and he struck out one. Proctor took the loss giving up 2/3 of an inning giving up two hits and three runs with a walk and a strikeout.

In the first game Brett Gardner had a hit, Derek Jeter had three hits and an RBI and Alex Rodriguez had a hit, RBI and a walk. Jorge Posada had two hits, two RBI and a walk, Andruw Jones had a walk and Russell Martin had two walks. Brandon Laird had a hit and a walk and Ramiro Pena had a walk. Jeter had a double and Posada had a homerun. The Yankees were 3-10 with runners in scoring position and they left seven men on base. Gardner and Jeter had a stolen base and Martin was caught stealing.

In the first game the Yankees scored two runs in the first inning. Gardner scored on an error by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. A wild pitch by Tim Wakefield scored the second run. In the third Posada hit a two run homerun to give the Yankees a 4-0 lead. Ellsbury hit a solo homerun for the Red Sox to make it 4-1 in the fourth inning. In the fifth Rodriguez hit an RBI single to increase the Yankees lead to 5-1. In the sixth Ellsbury hit another solo homerun to make it a 5-2 game. Jeter hit an RBI double in the sixth to make it 6-2 and complete the scoring in the game.

In the night game Teixeira hit a two run double and he scored on an error in the same play to make it 3-0. That was in the first inning and in the fifth J.D. Drew had an RBI single to make it 3-1. In the sixth Adrian Gonzalez hit a ground out and a run scored making it a 3-2 game. In the seventh the Red Sox took the lead with two runs. Marco Scutaro hit an RBI double and Jason Varitek hit an RBI single to make it 4-3 Red Sox. In the bottom of the seventh Dickerson hit a sac fly to tie the game at four. The game would remain tied until the 14th inning when Ellsbury hit a three run homerun to give the Red Sox a 7-4 lead that they would hold onto.

The Red Sox desperately needed the win as they were only ½ a game ahead of the Rays for the wild card. The two teams would have been tied if the Yankees won. The Red Sox now have a game lead with three to play. The Red Sox will head to Baltimore for three games and the Yankees will play at Tampa for three games. The Yankees have clinched everything so they will probably treat these last three games like spring training games. Hector Noesi will pitch on Monday, Bartolo Colon on Tuesday and TBA on Wednesday. I am sure the regulars will get some at bats but probably not play full games or rotate them where they won’t play all three games. I am not exactly sure how long Noesi could go but he did start the other day in a doubleheader so maybe he can give them four or five innings. James Shields will start for the Rays. It should be an interesting final three days of the regular season. The Yankees know they will play on Friday and Saturday at home and most likely at 8:30PM but the time isn’t set yet and the opponent is yet to be determined. The Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers are the two possible opponents. The Rangers have a one game lead. The Rangers will play at Anaheim and the Tigers will play at home against the Indians.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mets lose to the Phillies and fail to sweep them

The New York Mets lost to the Philadelphia Phillies by the score of 9-4 on Sunday afternoon. The Phillies had lost eight games in a row coming into this one. The Mets swept a doubleheader from them on Saturday. Mike Pelfrey made the start and was awful and D.J. Carrasco came in to relieve him and was bad also. The rest of the bullpen did a good job. The offense was led by Jason Pridie and also saw Jose Reyes and Justin Turner have good days.
Pelfrey pitched three innings giving up nine hits and five runs. He walked one and struck out one. Pelfrey took the loss and he finished the season with a disappointing 7-13 record. Carrasco pitched one inning giving up four hits and four runs with a walk and two strikeouts. Dale Thayer pitched two innings giving up three hits and struck out two, Ryota Igarashi pitched one inning giving up one hit and one walk and Pedro Beato pitched one inning giving up a hit. Josh Stinson pitched an inning giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one batter.

Reyes had two hits, Ruben Tejada had a hit and Willie Harris had a walk. Nick Evans had a walk, Turner had two hits and an RBI and Mike Baxter had a walk. Ronny Paulino had a hit and two RBI, Pridie had three hits and a walk and Valentino Pascucci had a hit and an RBI. Turner had two doubles and Pridie had one. Pridie also had a triple and Paulino hit a homerun. The Mets were 2-15 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base. Baxter had an outfield assist.

In the first inning Hunter Pence hit a two run homerun to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. Raul Ibanez hit a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0. In the second Chase Utley hit an RBI single to give the Phillies a 4-0 lead. Placido Polanco hit an RBI double in the third to extend the lead to 5-0 Phillies. In the fourth Pence hit an RBI single, Ryan Howard had an RBI single and Carlos Ruiz hit a two run single to make it 9-0. In the seventh Paulino hit a two run homerun and Pascucci hit an RBI single to make it 9-3. In the eighth Turner hit an RBI double to make it 9-4 and that would be the final score.

The Mets won two out of three from the Phillies in this series. The Phillies clinched over a week ago and lost eight in a row since then. They haven’t looked like they wanted to play until today. The Mets are continuing to go hard and are making manager Terry Collins look good. The Mets will finish the season with three home games against the Cincinnati Reds. The Mets will finish under 500 for the season. They stayed in it for so long this season but then feel apart at the end of the season. The Mets seem like they are headed in the right direction though and their fans should have something to look forward to next season.

Yankees news and notes before the doubleheader against Boston

If there were any doubt about Jesus Montero’s roster status, it’s surely gone at this point.

“I can’t envision a scenario where he won’t be on our postseason roster,” Joe Girardi said.  I really can't myself, it is hard to keep him off the roster the way he has played.  He is a very dangerous hitter who won't be affected by the moment.

The lingering question has more to do with playing time rather than a spot in the clubhouse. Montero seems to have locked up regular against bats against left-handed starters, Girardi wouldn’t commit to using Montero as his regular designated hitter against right-handers.

If the Yankees play the Tigers in the first round, they won’t see an left-handed starter the entire series.

“It very well could (affect his playing time,” Girardi said. “But every team does have left-handed relievers.”

Montero seemed happy to hear the news. He said he won’t fully believe it until Girardi makes it official — “I don’t want to say, ‘Yes!’” he said — but it’s clear that Montero’s hit enough to feel confident.

“I’ve been doing a good job, thank God,” he said. “Just trying to do my best. I’m helping and doing whatever they want me to do to help the team to win. I don’t decide anything else.”

 CC Sabathia threw four simulated innings this morning, a total of 65 pitches. “Able to work on some things and not be as intense, but get my work in,” he said.

Sabathia faced Ramiro Pena, Greg Golson and — after an inning — Chris Dickerson. He said he’ll throw a bullpen on Tuesday and be ready for Friday’s postseason opener. He hasn’t started studying scouting reports for either possible opponent. “I faced both teams a bunch of times, so we just have to wait and see,” he said.

Sabathia on the possibility of pitching Game 4 on short rest: “That’s up to them. I’ve done it before.”  The great thing about Sabathia is he will do whatever the team wants and he is big and strong and could handle that.

Girardi said he had not yet talked to Phil Hughes about how he feels a day after yesterday’s bullpen. The Yankees are still hoping to have him pitch in some capacity during these last three games, but they don’t have a game picked for him.

All of the regulars not in the Game 1 lineup will be in the Game 2 lineup. No one is sitting out hurt. “There might be one guy that I use in both games today,” Girardi said. “That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t bring in someone late, but I think you have to be smart about it at this point.”

On using Jorge Posada as the cleanup hitter: “He has a lot of experience against Wakefield,” Girardi said.  That is true they have faced each other many times over the last 15 years or so.  The Yankees are also playing a doubleheader and don't have a lot of the regulars in there for game one so why not.

The Yankees have locked up home field advantage because Detroit lost last night, so these last five games are all about getting ready for the playoffs. “It’s something that we worked very hard for during the course of the season,” Girardi said. “And it’s nice because I’ve always said that our club is built around our ballpark. We’ll still going to go out and play hard. It’s not going to change my approach, in a sense, but we’ll be smart with guys these last four days.”

Yankees postgame notes after a blowout victory over Boston

Even before Freddy Garcia walked out to the mound and stepped on the rubber, the Yankees had already wrapped up a spot the postseason. But Garcia hadn’t secured a spot in the postseason rotation. He might have done that this afternoon.  We will see which way the Yankees go but he looks like a good bet to get the ball in Game three of the divisional series.

“What he did today is what he’s been doing most of the year for us,” Joe Girardi said. “… Freddy’s a guy that’s been there and done all that. As we move forward we’ll continue to look at all those things, but today he pitched great.”

Garcia struggled in his first two games this month, and a couple of bad pitches really hurt him last weekend in Toronto, but today was the way Garcia has pitched for most of the year. He gave up five hits, but all were singles. He struck out only three, but also walked just one. He gave the Yankees six innings, and he beat the Red Sox, and none of the other third-start candidates has been especially impressive lately.

“I needed to pitch good today because my last three starts I was a little bit struggling,” Garcia said. “I did it. I’m really happy about it, and now I’m looking forward to my next start. I don’t know when, but hopefully I’ll be in the playoffs.”

Girardi said he likes that Garcia mixes his pitches. He likes that Garcia gives a different look than the other Yankees starters. And he likes that Garcia’s been to the playoffs before. Garcia has a 3.11 ERA in 55 postseason innings.  I would think right now he will get the ball in Game Three but I also think if A.J. Burnett pitches well they could go with him since he has done it before with the Yankees and they seem to have a unflinching loyalty to him.

“I’ve been there before and I’ve been successful,” Garcia said. “Hopefully they give me the ball and I’ll be there to pitch. That’s what I do… I always like to prove people wrong. I like that. I like a challenge. If they give me a chance to start the game, I’ll be there.”

Jesus Montero’s first big league at-bat came with the bases loaded against Jon Lester, and he struck out. Montero’s first at-bat this afternoon was in the same situation, and Montero singled in the first run of the game. It was the start of a 3-for-4 day that included four RBI and Montero’s fourth home run of the season.

Girardi: “I actually thought he had a pretty good at-bat that day (in his debut). I thought he fouled off some pitches and just missed some pitches. He had the one swing that he swung at over his head, his first pitch. I can completely understand that. First day in the big leagues. At Fenway. Bases loaded. Against Jon Lester. I wouldn’t have thought anything if he swung at three balls over his head, I just wouldn’t have. As that day went on, I thought his at-bats were pretty good. We have seen consistent at-bats against left-handers, there’s no doubt about it.”

Montero: “I was remembering the first time, he was on the mound in Boston. I was like, wow, this is a movie again, or something like that? I have him again with three men on base? You get kind of nervous, I get a little nervous in that moment, but I got the base-hit, thank God.”  Montero has shown an ability to adjust to pitchers, he seems to have a very high hitting IQ and doesn't get rattled by situations.

This was the first time the Yankees had beaten the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium this season. They are 5-11 against Boston this season.  This season it didn't mean all that much as the Yankees will finish with the best record in the league and homefield advantage throughout the AL playoffs.

 After scoring eight runs in the first three innings, the Yankees had just one hit — Montero’s home run — from the fourth inning to the end of the game.  That isn't good but when you score so many early sometimes you just run out of gas or eventually you are going to be stopped from scoring.

 Today was Garcia’s first scoreless start since July 20. It was his fourth scoreless start of the season, and he’s allowed four earned runs or less in 22 of his 25 starts. He’s 6-2 with a 3.20 ERA in day games.

 Girardi said he’s not sure what Garcia will do next, but he could throw a sim game to keep himself on his routine and sharp for a playoff appearance.

 Girardi still has no next step for Phil Hughes, but Girardi is confident that Hughes came through today’s bullpen just fine. Girardi said it’s “possible” Hughes will start one of the games in Tampa. Earlier, it seemed like Hughes would definitely get one of those starts. Could be that the Yankees want him to work out of the bullpen if that’s going to be his postseason role, but Girardi didn’t commit one way or the other.

Derek Jeter has a hit in 18 of his past 20 games. He homered on a fastball and has now driven in a run in five of his past nine games against Boston. He’s hitting .332 since coming off the disabled list, and he’s hitting .400 against lefties since coming off the DL.

 Montero is the first Yankees rookie to have four RBI in a game against Boston since Brett Gardner drove in four runs on September 26, 2008 at Fenway.

 According to ESPN Stats and Info: Montero is the fifth Yankee with four or more home runs in his first 15 Major League games. The rest of the list: Shelley Duncan, Oscar Azocar, Kevin Maas and Steve Whitaker.

Montero on driving the ball to right field: “All the time my approach is to right field, trying to hit the ball to right field all the time. Sometimes it’s not going to happen, but I’m thinking that way because that’s the way I learned to hit in the Yankees (organization). That’s the way they pitch me. Every time I go to bat, that’s the way I think.”

Maybe Russell Martin shouldn’t hate the Red Sox so much. He has 10 RBI in 11 games against Boston this season, his highest RBI total against any team in 2011. His three home runs against Boston are also his most against any team.

 The Yankees announced an attendance of 49,556, the highest for any regular-season game at the current Yankee Stadium. Today’s number broke the previous record by exactly one person.

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