The Yankees finished second to the Blue Jays in yesterday’s makeup game, which doubled as their regular season home finale. Thus, the half game in the AL East standings was rounded up, and the Red Sox hold a two-game lead with just six games left. The good news is that the Tigers came in second to the Twins, so the Yanks clinched a tie for the Wild Card, and can clinch outright with a win over the Devil Rays or a Tiger loss tonight.
As for the game it self, A.J. Burnett was supposed to start for the Jays, but had to head home for personal reasons. Instead, the Yankees faced Jessie Litsch, who beat the Sox his last time out. Yesterday, Litsch seemed to do one of two things, get groundballs right at his fielders, or give up doubles. Unfortunately for the Yankees, he did a lot more of the former. Of the 30 Yankees Litsch faced over 7 2/3 innings, eighteen hit a grounder right at an infielder and four doubled.
The first double was hit by Doug Mientkiewicz with one out (a ground out, of course) in the third. He moved to third when Curtis Thigpen booted a grounder by Melky Cabrera (the only Blue Jay error of the day), held when Johnny Damon hit a week grounder down the first base line, and was stranded by a rare fly out hit by Derek Jeter. The second double was hit by Hideki Matsui with two out (both ground outs, of course) in the fourth. Jorge Posada jutted his right knee into a pitch to reach base, then Robinson Cano grounded out to end the inning. Derek Jeter hit the third double leading off the sixth, moved to third on an Abreu grounder, and scored on a grounder by Alex Rodriguez for what would be the only Yankee run of the day. The last double was hit by Bobby Abreu with two outs (both ground outs, of course) in the eighth. It finally drove Litsch from the game after just 99 pitches, but Casey Janssen got the final out to strand Abreu, then picked up the save in the ninth.
Andy Pettitte, meanwhile, had a rough second inning, allowing three runs on a walk and three hits, including doubles by Thigpen and John McDonald. The Jays added a run in the third when Alex Rios doubled with one out, moved to third on a fly out to right, and scored when Derek Jeter booted the third out. Andy faced the minimum over the next three innings, but, with Litsch cruising, the damage was done. Final score 4-1 Jays.
Hey the folks who put out the Bronx is Burning asked me to mention that Mickey Rivers will be signing the DVD at Modell’s at 51 East 42nd Street from 5-7 pm today and Graig Nettles will be doing the same at the FYE in 1290 Avenue of the Americas from 6-8 pm. I’m doing so because I thought some of you might actually want to go meet Mick and Puff, and because they sent me a free copy of the DVD. I hope to have a review of it for those of you who missed the series when it ran on ESPN, likely after the postseason. If I had to summarize that as-yet-to-be-written review in one word, that word would be “mixed.”