For starters, Rays at Yankees
Update 6:40 p.m. No big news coming out of manager Joe Maddon's pre-game session, but he reflected on a couple things from last night's victory.
*Though RHP Andy Sonnanstine gave up four runs in the ninth inning Wednesday, Maddon pointed out he was pitching for the third consecutive day for the first time, and that he was one pitch away from another scoreless outing. He said it would be a learning experience for Sonnanstine, who had "good stuff," "it just got away from him."
*Ben Zobrist said the play where he scored from second on a sacrifice fly was the first time he's ever done it; it was partly a product of Carlos Pena hitting a 400-foot fly ball which centerfielder Brett Gardner had to make a diving catch at the warning track. Zobrist said once Gardner touched the ball, he was planning on going, and third-base coach Tom Foley said it was an easy call to send him home. Foley only remembers such a play happening twice, another time Carl Crawford did it against the Red Sox.
"I loved it," Maddon said of Zobrist's play. "It takes an awareness by the baserunner and takes the baserunner that is willing to run hard regardless of the situation. A lot of guys, they'll tag up and just jog over to third. I'd say 90-percent of the runners would do something like that. I love the other 10 percent. That 10 percent extra which he did.
"I want all our baserunners to play that game right there. We're almost there, not there completely. We don't have everybody that has that game awareness yet. But when we do, that's really fun to watch and it definitely inspires the team."
*Pretty cool scene in the clubhouse earlier, with several Rays taking their turn going into Maddon's office and asking for the autograph of Yankee legend Yogi Berra, who was visiting. The Rays looked like they were little kids again, admiring the baseball. "It doesn't happen everyday," RHP Jeff Niemann said, smiling.
Developing: The Rays, coming off a convincing 10-6 win over the Yankees Wednesday night, will finish the short, two-game series with another one at Yankee Stadium tonight.
Right-hander James Shields will make his first career start at the new Yankee Stadium, with his only win in New York coming in the old stadium, back in September 2008.
Several pitchers are now on the field taking batting practice, preparing for the upcoming weekend series in Houston; their first cracks at hitting.
The Rays, who are now 16-4 on the road, boast a four-game lead in the American League East over the banged-up Yankees. The Yankees found out last night C Jorge Posada would be out 3-4 weeks with a hairline fracture in his foot, and Marcus Thame's sprained an ankle in last night's game, further depleting their bench.
An interesting note: The six stolen bases allowed by the Yankees Wednesday night were the most they've given up in a game since Aug 10, 1992 against the Tigers.
Lineups to come.....