Good morning, Pinstripe Alley readers. In just a few hours, the Yankees will begin their day-night double header, but for now, your usual morning news.
With their magic number down to just two, the Yankees can clinch a playoff spot with a win in either game today. Additionally, after the Red Sox lost last night, the magic number for the division dwindled to just three games. With a sweep of the day-night double header and a Red Sox loss, the Yankees could wrap up the American League East.
It'll be interesting to see what Joe Girardi has up his sleeve for today. Will he play to win both games?
Although A.J. Burnett was not happy about his early hook from Monday's make-up game against the Twins, after a day of thought, Girardi stood by his decision.
Girardi made the move thinking that Burnett, dominant through the first three innings of the game, was losing some of his stuff and that it had tapered off. Said Girardi -
I thought his stuff had clearly changed; that's why I pulled him. It wasn't that I wanted to, I was hoping to get the distance out of him. I would've loved to have a complete game, but I thought his stuff clearly changed.
Despite his "nasty" start to the game, Burnett turned a 5-0 lead into a 5-4 game after serving up two homers. I applaud A.J. for believing in himself, but it's hard to fault Girardi for pulling Burnett after seemingly losing his stuff in the middle innings of the ballgame.
Phil Hughes is still dealing with back spasms, and it is now questionable as to whether or not he will be able to pitch in game one of today's double header, as originally announced. I suppose the Yankees could start CC Sabathia in the day game instead of the night cap, giving Hughes more time.
If not, we could see Dellin Betances or Andrew Brackman make their debut. Girardi declined to discuss his alternate options if Hughes would be unable to go.