A key to a successful baseball season is winning series; it's the surest way of having a winning record. The Yankees are 2-0-1 in four game series, 1-2-0 in two game series, and 11-6 in three game series for an overall series mark of 14-8-1, but have dropped three of the last four. Of the 17 three game sets they've completed, 11 have had the third and final game determine who took the set. The Yankees are 8-3 in those rubber games, but have lost two in a row to the lowly Marlins and lowlier Nats. The Yanks look to end that rubber game losing streak tonight and take the series from the Braves.
Andy Pettitte gets the start tonight, and he's a bit of a rubberband man himself. As Joe Girardi likes to say, Andy has a tendency to bend, but not break. Pettitte's had some ugly outings this year, yet his record sits at 7-3 and the team is 10-4 in his starts. On May 18th, he picked up a win against the Twins despite allowing 12 hits over 6.2 IP. On May 29 in Cleveland, his back acted up on him. He allowed 10 baserunners in 5 IP, but he held the Tribe to just one run.
In his last start though, Pettitte had no such troubles. Friday against the Marlins Pettitte threw seven innings of one run ball, allowing just three baserunners and fanning seven. He even helped his cause with an RBI double. He looks to build on that tonight as he returns to the city that saw the greatest perfomance of his impressive career. Lifetime, Pettitte is 5-1 with a 3.13 ERA against the Braves in the regular season and has two big postseason victories in Atlanta.
The Yanks will be opposed by old foe Derek Lowe, who has been tagged with the loss in his last two starts. In his time with the Red Sox, Lowe made 15 starts and 24 relief appearances against the Yanks, going 8-10 with 6.07 ERA and 1.68 WHIP. I'll take more of that please. Lowe and Pettitte went head-to-head twice, both in 2002, with both pitchers taking a win and a loss each.
It was rumored that Alex Rodriguez might get his weekly day off tonight, but he is in the lineup, meaning he'll likely skip Sunday's Subway Series game in order to get back-to-back days off. Cody Ransom is in the lineup however, as Robinson Cano was a late scratch. According to Pete Abe, Cano's claims he's just getting a day off, but his wrist was also taped. Given that he was in the original lineup, it appears that the Yankee Cloak and Dagger game has returned for the second consecutive day.
Oh, and just for good measure, I'll throw this in too.
Hey y'all prepare yourself for the Rubberband Man
You never heard a sound like the Rubberband Man
You're bound to lose control when the Rubberband starts to jam