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Game 132: The home stretch

Today marks the start of last month of the season. The Yankees' magic number for the division is 26; for the best record in the league, 28. They have 31 games remaining.

If the Red Sox go 16-16, the Yanks only have to go 10-21 to clinch the AL East. If the Sox miraculously go 30-2, the Yanks have to go 24-7. And if the Sox keep playing to their Win % (.585), they'll go 19-13, which means the good guys will only need to go 13-18.

A.J. Burnett will face Baltimore rookie David Hernandez.

Hernandez faced the Bombers once this year, back in July, and pitched well in a no-decision: 6 ip, 1 er. His ERA is still lucky (4.24). His FIP is 5.72 because his homerun rate is 1.7/9 ip, his walk rate is 3.9/9, his strikeout rate is 5.2/9, and his flyball rate is insanely high (54%).

Burnett has pitched twice against Baltimore this year, holding them to four runs in 12.1 innings (2.92 ERA). But who really knows what we'll get from him? His last seven starts have been feast or famine. Look at the earned runs from his August starts: 7, 0, 3, 3, 9, 3.


New York Yankees @ Baltimore Orioles

09/01/09 7:05 PM EDT

New York Yankees Baltimore Orioles
Derek Jeter - SS Brian Roberts - 2B
Johnny Damon - DH Felix Pie - LF
Mark Teixeira - 1B Adam Jones - CF
Alex Rodriguez - 3B Nick Markakis - RF
Jorge Posada - C Nolan Reimold - DH
Robinson Cano - 2B Luke Scott - 1B
Nick Swisher - LF Melvin Mora - 3B
Eric Hinske - RF Matt Wieters - C
Melky Cabrera - CF Cesar Izturis - SS