For starters, Rays at Yankees, twice as nice
UPDATE, 12:44: Maddon said he had no issues with Zobrist missing two games to attend the birth of his daughter: "For me, family is always first.''
UPDATE, 12:23: Kyle Farnsworth threw 45 pitches in the bullpen and said "everything felt good" with his right elbow. If he feels good Thursday he expects to be available for the homestand. ... Maddon siad Zobrist is on a flight to New York and could be available by the end of the day game; there was "a procedure" this morning involving his new baby daughter but everything is fine, Maddon said. ... Maddon acknowledged the apparent weakness of the bottom third of their lineup, but pointed to some previous success Brignac and Johnson had here, and also acknowledged that he didn't want to push Sean Rodriguez, who has been bothered by a stiff back, too hard by having him start both games. ... Maddon said the Rays didn't know the Yankees pitching plans until this morning (it was apparently around 10:30) and acknowledged there was "an odor" of gamesmanship as the Rays had heard last night Sabathia might have been moved up to the day game. He said the Rays considered a change in their plans last night, but decided after the game to stay with their plan and texted both Shields and Hellickson with the info.
UPDATE, 12:11: Yankees lineup missing a few regulars: Gardner cf Jeter ss , Cano DH, Rodriguez 3b, Swisher rf Posada 1b Jones lf Nunez 2b Romine c Noesi p
UPDATE, 11:11: Yankees confirm it is Noesi, and only for 50-60 pitches. Rays lineup, with no Zobrist and an interesting bottom third:
E. Johnson 2b
UPDATE, 10:48: Check that - Rays have been told it is Noesi in the day game and Sabathia in the nightcap.
UPDATE, 10:30: There is a Yankees blog reporting that Sabathia will start the first game and Hector Noesi the nightcap as Hughes still has back spasm. Yankees manager Joe Girardi will meet the media at 11.
DEVELOPING: The Rays are reconvening at Yankee Stadium this morning for what will be a long and potentially significant day in their late-season bid for a playoff spot.
The teams are scheduled to play two games - the original game is at 1:05, an August makeup at 7:05. There has been some gamesmanship regarding the starting pitching matchups, as the Yankees have not revealed their definitive plans, saying they had to wait until today to check the condition of scheduled Game 1 starter Phil Hughes, with 19-game winner CC Sabathia to work the other game.
The Rays, coyly, said they might then reconsider their plans, but have decided to stick with their original set-up, with James Shields working the matinee (in theory to save the bullpen) and rookie Jeremy Hellickson the nightcap.
The Rays lost an opportunity to gain ground Tuesday when they lost to the Yankees and the Red Sox lost to Baltimore, so the Rays remain two games behind the Sox for the wild-card lead, though with only nine to play. The Yankees are in a position today to clinch a playoff berth with one win over the Rays, and to clinch the AL East if they sweep the doubleheader and the Red Sox lose again.