The Yankees roll into Arizona, papers in hand, for a three game series at Chase Field against the struggling Diamondbacks. Moving to an N.L. park, the Yankees figure to be cautious this week in doling out playing time to their banged up veterans Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada.
A.J. Burnett takes the mound for the Yankees, his foot, bruised by a comebacker in his last start, having passed the test of a bullpen session Saturday. He'll be opposed by Rodrigo Lopez. The Yankees faced Lopez numerous times during his years with the Orioles, and beat him around to the tune of a 5.90 ERA over 126.2 innings. This will be the first time they've faced him since 2007.
2007 was also the last time the Yankees and Diamondbacks faced each other. Overall, this will be the fourth interleague series between the two clubs, and the first in Arizona since 2004. The Yankees are 7-2 against the Snakes in interleague play, and went 2-1 during their series six years ago at what was then Bank One Ballpark.
Of course no one has much of a memory of that 2004 series. For any Yankee fan, the first thought that springs to mind at the mention of the Diamondbacks is the 2001 World Series, when the Yanks went 0-4 at the BoB, failing in two chances to clinch on enemy soil in Games Six and Seven. Looking back on it now, it's still hard to believe: certified Big Game Pitcher Andy Pettitte tipping his pitches and getting absolutely slaughtered in Game Six, and the great Mariano squandering a ninth inning lead in Game Seven.
It was enough to prompt Buster Olney to declare it The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty. I have mixed feelings about that, as the Yankees won five consecutive division titles following that season and made another World Series appearance just two years later, but certainly the end of that 2001 season was the start of a process that saw the stalwarts of the 1996 through 2001 teams move on.
As enjoyable as many parts of that 2001 World Series were, with the Yankees heading back to Chase Field to face the Diamondbacks, it's hard to think of the place as anything but a Diamond Cursed.
I want to shine for you
I want to sparkle too
Just like a diamond cursed
Well you know it don't get worse
You know that I'll save you time
Your trouble now is mine
[Song Notes: Yes, I'm still on a Black Crowes kick, and this is one of my favorites. When I went to see them on their reunion run at the Hammerstein Ballroom five years ago they opened with this one. This video is an acoustic performance, featuring the brothers Robinson as well as guitarist Marc Ford, who is unfortunately no longer with the band.]
We'll add these later on. Tonight's game starts at 10:10 EDT, the remaining games of the series start at 9:40 EDT. All three are on YES, and nationally, tonight's is on ESPN.
Chad Jennings reports that the Yankees have called up Colin Curtis from Scranton. Curtis had a good Arizona Fall League last year, a strong spring, and was off to a good start in AAA before missing a month with a high ankle sprain. Since coming off the DL he's been seeing a lot of time in center field, which in retrospect may have been an indicator that they were preparing him for this. Brian Cashman said earlier in the year that Curtis would have been under consideration for a promotion if not for his ankle injury. Curtis was not on the 40 man roster, so there may be multiple moves taking place.
[UPDATE 7:20 PM] Chad Moeller isn't listed on the lineup card, so he's likely the departing player. This makes it a clean transaction, as Moeller will be outrighted or DFA'd, opening spots for Curtis on both the 25 and 40 man rosters. The organization will likely look for a way to keep Moeller; he was willing to stick around through two different DFA's in 2008. This is also likely good news about Jorge Posada's ability to catch moving forward, as the the club wouldn't have bid goodbye to Moeller if they weren't confident in Posada's ability to catch on a semi regular basis.
Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Jorge Posada C
Curtis Granderson CF
Brett Gardner LF
A.J. Burnett RHP