Today is Sept. 26 and 49 years ago, Roger Maris tied Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record by connecting off Baltimore’s Jack Fisher at the original Yankee Stadium.
There will be no records set and the Yankees hope to avoid their season high fifth straight loss, which qualifies as a 2010 record.
The original plan was to give Dustin Moseley a second start on a Sunday night against the Red Sox. The original plan also included an “X” next to where it says Yankees in the standings, which would have indicated a playoff berth.
The Yankees have failed at that and not looked well at doing so over the last four games, getting outscored by 34-16 and not pitching well. Of course some of those mixed message bullpen moves have not helped matters.
So where there is failure there might be panic and that is why Moseley does not start and Phil Hughes starts.
That wouldn’t be that big of a deal except for that little four-game losing streak that has created pockets of doom among Yankee fans and wondering if a complete collapse is in the offering.
Hughes threw 15 changeups the last time he pitched Tuesday, which also was the last time the Yankees won a game. If he is effective or the Yankees win, they will actually gain ground since Seattle was a 6-2 winner at Tampa Bay and Detroit beat Minnesota.
Hughes also has a shot to break a dubious record if he allows another home run. His 20 home runs allowed have tied Scott Sanderson for the most at Yankee Stadium in team history. Sanderson did it in 1992, which was his second season in pinstripes. Hughes, Kevin Millwood and Ted Lilly are the only pitchers to allow that many home runs at home this year.
Hughes also has come to the rescue during his career, going 9-0 in 11 starts following a Yankee loss since 2009.
So with a 1 ½ game deficit in the AL East, Hughes gives the Yankees their best chance to win. Of course we said that about having CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte on the mound and that never transpired.
As for the rest of the week, Girardi said the Yankees are on rotation, which means A.J. Burnett, Sabathia and Pettitte in Toronto. Of course that could change if the Yankees clinch already.
While Girardi’s moves concerning his bullpen have not panned out since he is using too many “B” relievers, some of his moves with the hitters have been successful.
Derek Jeter takes a 14-game hitting streak into tonight’s game and has seen his average climb from .262 to .267. Over that stretch and that includes a night off after a 1-for-7 in Texas, he is batting .322 (19-for-59) and with a hit tonight, that gives him his 12th streak of at least 15 games.
Alex Rodriguez also is hot and has an outside shot of reaching 30 home runs. Last year he did it on the last day of the regular season and with three home runs in his last five at-bats, he has 28. Since returning from the DL, Rodriguez is 22-for-66 (.333) with seven home runs, 20 RBI and a 1,092 OPS.
As for the Red Sox, Mike Lowell is out of the lineup but manager Terry Francona did not adjust the lineup when finding out they would face Hughes. Francona actually found out when Girardi called him about it. (Who knew managers did that? I certainly can’t figure Don Zimmer giving Billy Martin that same courtesy in the 1970s).
And here are the lineups for the teams.
Marco Scutaro, 2B
J.D. Drew, RF
Victor Martinez, C
David Ortiz, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Jed Lowrie, SS
Ryan Kalish, CF
Bill Hall, LF
Lars Anderson, 1B
Derek Jeter, SS
Nick Swisher, RF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Jorge Posada, C
Lance Berkman, DH
Curtis Granderson, CF
Brett Gardner, LF