At one point this morning, it was a coin flip whether Cliff Lee would start this game for the Yankees or Mariners - this before he was shipped off to the Texas Rangers for a first basemen and, well, three minor league players.
Without Lee, this matchup takes on a Phil Hughes vs the Seattle pitching staff, with David Pauley starting and most every reliever ready to jump in behind him.
That makes two major issues facing the Mariners tonight: Can they slow the Yankees down - and can they score? Last night, they managed one run and lost, 3-1.
It figured. In games in which the Mariners have scored less than four runs this season, they're 8-49. Think about that. In 57 of their first 85 games, they scored three runs or less.
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That deserves a Yikes!
Casey Kotchman, by the way, makes what might be one of his last starts for Seattle at first base. Once Justin Smoak arrives tomorrow, the position is his.
If you're wondering, look at this:
In 67 games and 208 at-bats, Kotchman is batting .212 with six home runs and 28 RBI. In 70 games and 235 at-bats, Smoak is batting .209 with eight home runs and 34 RBI.
- Mr. Pauley got the first two batters he faced, then gave up Mark Texeira's 16th home run of the season on his 19th pitch. In the first: New York 1, Seattle 0.
- Jack Wilson singled with one out and Ichiro singled, extending his latest hitting streak to 11 consecutive games. Chone Figgins forced Ichiro, Wilson to third base. With Russell Branyan at the plate, Figgins stole his 24th base. Branyan struck out. After three: New York 1, Seattle 0.
- For what it's worth, give a little credit to Pauley, who's now retired 10 Yankees in a row and gotten Seattle to the fifth inning, trailiing 1-0.
- That's 13 consecutive batters retired for Pauley, who has pitched five innings and allowed two hits. Unfortunately for him, Hughes hasn't allowed a run on three hits. Raise your hand if you expected Pauley to pitch as well as 10-game winner Hughes ...
- Rob Johnson doubled with one out. Wilson struck out on three pitches. Ichiro popped out. After five: New York 1, Seattle 0.
- After throwing all of eight pitches in his last relief appearance, Pauley walked his first batter - Brett Gardner - on his 79th pitch. Derek Jetr was safe on a Lopez error and that was it for Pauley. Five innings plus two batters. Chad Cordero now pitching. Nick Swisher bunted the runners over. Texeira walked, loading 'em up. Alex Rodriguez flied out, getting Gardner home. Robinson Cano doubled home two runs. Jorge Posada walked. Curtis Granderson singled Cano home. In the sixth: New York 5, Seattle 0.
- Look Sparky, an offense! Figgins doubled and, with one out, Lopez doubled him home. In the sixth: New York 5, Seattle 1.
- Pitching in the seventh inning: Luke French.
- Mr. Texeira, who homered in the first inning, also homered in the ninth inning - another solo shot. In the ninth: New York 6, Seattle 1.
- It's a final: New York 6, Seattle 1.