The New York Yankees (27-31) will host the Pittsburgh Pirates (26-34) as both clubs re-enter inter-league play tonight in the Bronx at Yankee Stadium with first pitch at 7:05 p.m. ET. In the first of a three-game weekend series, lefty Andy Pettitte (3-4, 2.96 ERA) will pitch for the Yankees and another south paw, Tom Gorzelanny (6-3, 2.53 ERA will take the mound for the Pirates. Fans will also see the much anticipated debut of Roger Clemens who is expected to start for the Yankees on Saturday.
The Yankees are returning home following a successful 10-game road trip where the club went 6-4 including winning 3-of-4 games from the Chicago White Sox. In Chicago Thursday night Joe Torre celebrated his 2000th win as a manager.
Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez credits the team’s improvement to better play all around. "It always starts with pitching and defense, and our defense has been much better, and we're getting the timely hits," said A-Rod, who hit his 15th career grand slam. "It's getting better. We just have to continue to build on it," Rodriguez added.
Pettitte had a rare non-quality start in his most recent appearance, a no-decision in a 6-5 win against Boston. He allowed five runs and seven hits over 4 1/3 innings — his shortest outing in more than a month. Pettitte had put together six consecutive quality starts before that, and his ERA had dropped to 2.51 after his May 29 start.
Gorzelanny looked to be heading toward an easy outing on Sunday, giving up only three hits and one walk through six shutout innings. But he ran into trouble in the seventh, yielding three earned runs on four hits and a walk. He eventually took a no-decision in the Pirates' 5-4 loss to the Dodgers.
The Pirates are 25-34 SU and 28-26-4 on the total while the Yankees are 26-31 SU and 22-28-7 on the total.
The Pirates are averaging 4.2 runs scored per game while giving up 4.8 runs per game. The team ERA is 4.48.
The Yankees are averaging 5.4 runs scored per game while giving up 4.8 runs per game with a team ERA of 4.63.