Despite their best efforts last night, the Yankees actually beat the Royals and will attempt to continue their climb past 100 wins this evening. The highest they can get is 106, but it would only take three more wins to reach 104, their highest total since 1998. The last time they won as many as 104 games (save for '98) was way back in 1963, when the league had just recently expanded. It's an attainable goal, but obviously won't take precedent over aligning their rotation and getting everyone well rested for the playoffs along the way.
A.J. Burnett takes the hill for the Yankees tonight, fresh off two pretty solid outings. He didn't make it through the sixth inning his last time out against he Angels, but that was largely because he racked up 11 of the 17 outs he recorded via strikeout. He threw 65 of his 101 pitches for strikes but did allow ten baserunners over that span. This will be his second to last outing before the postseason rolls around, so he's still got a little time to work out the kinks. Tonight against the punchless Royals should be a good opportunity to do so.
For the Royals, Anthony Lerew gets the call. The 26 year old righty was up for a quick cup of joe in both 2006 and 2007 with the Braves but had Tommy John Surgery an was released after some rehab starts in 2008. The Royals picked him up off the scrap heap in the beginning of this year and signed him to a minor league deal. He posted pretty marginal numbers in AA this year but was recalled to make a start against the Red Sox last week. He gave up 4 runs (only 2 earned) in 4.2 IP but also surrendered 10 baserunners, threw 108 pitches and struck out just 2.
Unlike Luke Hochevar yesterday, Lerew will be facing pretty close to a full strength Yankees line up. Robinson Cano, Jorge Posada and Melky Cabrera were given the night off, but A-Rod, Jeter, Teixeira, Matsui, Swisher, and Damon are all back in action.
Also, as Matt mentioned early today, tonight is also Peter Abraham's last night on the Yankees beat before he heads off to the fackin' Boston Globe. Be sure to head over to his game thread and wish him well.
We already did a tribute to Pete when the news first came down, but wanted choose a song to commemorate his ascent to what is one of the premier sports pages in the country. While the glory days of Ray Fitzgerald, Will McDonough, Peter Gammons, Bob Ryan and the like are gone, the Globe still represents the top of the world of sports journalism. Congrats Pete and best of luck.
There's a dark cloud rising from the desert floor,
I packed my bags and I'm heading straight into the storm.