The Yankees put an unlucky thirteen runners on base last night, but couldn't get a single one of them home. Against Kansas City starter Jorge de la Rosa, they stranded men in the second through fifth innings, including runners at first and second with one out in the second and third and a lead-off double by Melky Cabrera in the fifth. In the sixth, with a blister forming on the middle finger of his pitching hand, de la Rosa surrendered a one-out single to Alex Rodriguez, got Posada to ground out for the second out, then walked Robinson Cano on four pitches (amazingly Cano's second walk of the game; even more amazingly those two walks to Cano were the only free passes de la Rosa issued last night).
With Tuesday night's implosion still fresh in his mind, Royals manager Buddy Bell was forced to go to his bullpen. Smelling blood, Joe Torre went to his bench and sent up Jason Giambi to hit for Craig Wilson. Bell brought in hard-throwing righty Todd Wellemeyer, who got ahead of Giambi 1-2, then bounced a pitch past catcher John Buck. Rodriguez took off for third, but the ball ricocheted right back to Buck, who threw to third where Mark Teahen dropped the tag on Rodriguez's back foot for what should have been the third out as his front foot had sailed high and clear of the bag. However, third base umpire Greg Gibson, who erroneously called David DeJesus safe at home on Tuesday night despite the fact that DeJesus appeared to miss the plate entirely on his slide, called Rodriguez safe. Giambi then creamed Wellemeyer's next pitch, but hooked it foul, doing the same two pitches later, this time sending the ball into the upper deck far down the right field foul line. Having twice been too quick on his pitch, Giambi then failed to catch up to a Wellemeyer heater, striking out to end the Yankee threat.
Having found a good thing, Bell stuck with it. Wellemeyer stranded Aaron Guiel, who doubled for Nick Green, at third in the seventh by striking out Derek Jeter. He then stranded a four-pitch lead-off walk to Bobby Abreu in the eighth by striking out Alex Rodriguez on three pitches, then getting Posada to hit into a double play. In the ninth the Yankees mounted their biggest threat of the night, loading the bases on a four-pitch walk to Giambi, a Melky Cabrera single and, after pinch hitter Bernie Williams struck out, an infield single by Johnny Damon, but Wellemeyer once again struck out the Yankee Captain, this time on three pitches, to end the game.
Give the offense's futility, it was largely insignificant that Mike Mussina showed some rust by giving up four runs on eight hits in five innings despite excellent control (67 percent of 86 pitches for strikes and four Ks against just one walk in five innings). Moose was driven from the game in the sixth by a lead-off homer by Emil Brown. Brian Bruney finished the inning on eight pitches.
In the seventh, Joe Torre brought in the latest September call-ups. Andy Cannizaro made his major league debut as a defensive replacement for Aaron Guiel/Nick Green, but was later robbed of a chance at his first plate appearance when Torre turned to Bernie during the Yankees' ninth-inning rally. Sean Henn, who made three ugly starts for the Yanks last year and has since been converted to relief after an injury plagued season with the Clippers, pitched the seventh, giving up a lead-off double to Andres Blanco then two booming flies that drove Blanco home.
Finally, Octavio Dotel, who apparently does still work here despite pitching just one inning in the past week and a half, worked the eighth. Dotel started his inning by striking out Mike Sweeney on three pitches, but the last skipped by Posada allowing Sweeney to reach base. Dotel then walked Emil Brown to put two on base with none out, but recovered to retire the next three men on eight pitches.
In other news, Hideki Matsui will be in the line-up as the Trenton Thunder begin the Eastern League playoffs tonight at home at 7:05. Gary Sheffield is expected to join the Yankees in Baltimore and may begin to take batting practice if he's cleared to do so by his doctors (I still don't expect him to make the postseason roster, much like Jason Giambi missed the postseason in 2004). Jaret Wright is being skipped this time through the rotation due to Thursday's off day, while Darrell Rasner and Jeffrey Karstens have been sent out to the bullpen (foolish moves if you ask me as Moose, Johnson and Wang could all use a few extra days of rest this month). And finally, Miguel Cairo and Kevin Thompson, the latter of whom is recovering from a staph infection, are both expected to be added to the active roster over the weekend, giving the Yankees 18 position players to go with their 17 pitchers, with Matsui and Sheffield still to come.
This Just In: Royals thirdbaseman Mark Teahen, who went 0 for 4 last night, will miss the rest of the season due to a torn labrum, which the team has decided he should have operated on now in order to be fully healthy for the 2007 season.