New York (72-43) has won 10 of 11 while outscoring opponents 72-34 behind a .308 batting average and 25 homers. The Yankees have amassed at least 10 hits in eight of those games, including 15 with three leaving Safeco Field in Thursday’s 11-1 win over Seattle (60-55).
They’ve hit .309 with 25 homers in winning 12 of 15 from the Mariners, and Thursday’s victory came without Rodriguez (left elbow swelling) at third base and catcher Jorge Posada(notes) (swollen fingers). Posada might be back Friday, while Rodriguez’s status is uncertain after being hit by a pitch on his left elbow in the 11th inning of Wednesday’s 4-3 win over Toronto.
“When you can give a guy a day off and subs can contribute like that, it’s huge,” manager Joe Girardi said, adding it’s “50-50” whether Rodriguez plays Friday.
Hideki Matsui(notes) is also doing his part to pick up the offensive slack, going 4 for 5 with two homers and five RBIs Thursday. The designated hitter is batting .343 with four homers and 11 RBIs over the last 10 games.
Matsui continued to feast on the Mariners. He is hitting .564 with six doubles, three homers and 15 RBIs in his last 11 games against them.
“That lineup is just stupid. They shouldn’t be allowed to have a lineup like that, but that is why their payroll is what it is,” Mariners stater Ian Snell(notes) said after getting tagged for eight runs and nine hits, including two homers, in six innings Thursday. “That is a lineup nobody in the National League has.”
The left-hander is 1-3 with a 3.89 ERA in his last seven starts, getting 11 total runs of support and two runs or less in each of the last five.
That trend continued Sunday, as Pettitte scattered five hits in seven innings as the lineup provided him with one run before rallying with four in the bottom of the eighth en route to a 5-2 win over Boston and a four-game sweep of New York’s closest pursuers in the AL East.
Pettitte, who is 4-1 with a 3.23 ERA in his last seven road starts, won his last outing against the Mariners on July 1, allowing two runs in seven innings of a 4-2 victory. However, he hasn’t fared too well in Seattle, dropping his last five starts there with a 5.23 ERA.
Seattle has managed only one run in each of its last three games, losing two.
The left-hander was solid Sunday, yielding two runs and striking out a season-high six in 6 2-3 innings of an 11-2 win over Tampa Bay.
Rowland-Smith didn’t get a decision in his only start against the Yankees on Sept. 6, allowing three runs with four walks in 6 1-3 innings of a 7-4 loss. His four previous appearances against them came in relief, as he gave up five runs and six hits with four walks in 3 2-3 innings.