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Can the Sultan of Speed extend his power surge?

Brett Gardner, or the Sultan of Speed as some people call him (OK, only I call him that), will look to homer in his third consecutive game, surprising for a guy who entered the season with three career home runs.  Gardner hit a no-doubt grand slam, the first of his career, during the Yankees’ 11-run third inning on Saturday then hit a two-run, inside-the-park homer on Sunday – full disclosure, in my humble opinion, it should have been called an error on centerfielder Dewayne Wise – to tie the game in the sixth inning. 

However, all five of Gardner’s home runs this year have come at Yankee Stadium and the cavernous Oakland Coliseum allows a league low 0.497 home runs per game.  A Gardner home tonight would most likely have to be of the inside-the-park variety.      

Posada or Cervelli?

The idea of Jorge Posada in the DH position becomes more attractive with each injury he suffers.  Posada, who missed 15 games in May with a hairline fracture in his foot, left yesterday’s game in the seventh inning after spraining his ring finger while trying to catch a foul tip.  X-rays were negative but Francisco Cervelli will be behind the plate for tonight’s game.  The 38-year-old Posada is listed as day-to-day.

Why was Andy Pettitte snubbed?

The thinking is that Joe Girardi used what can be loosely considered a loophole in the All-Star system to get two of his guys on the team.  MLB rules state that pitchers who start the Sunday before the All-Star break must be replaced on the roster so the team has a full staff available for the game.  With Sabathia scheduled to start on Sunday, Girardi selected him knowing full well he would have to be replaced in favor of Andy Pettitte. 

Sabathia and Pettitte each add an All-Star season to their resume and Girardi doesn't have to pick one guy over the other.  Everybody wins…unless there is a rainout.   

Will A-Rod "Stick it"?

When Alex Rodriguez said he would no longer discuss his decision to cross the sacred pitching mound in April because he didn’t want to extend Dallas Braden’s 15 minutes of fame, the A’s pitcher responded by throwing a perfect game.  The response of Braden’s Grandmother after the perfect game was equally as effective when she said, “Stick it, A-Rod!”

A-Rod returns to the site of the manufactured controversy tonight but the much-anticipated rematch against Braden will have to wait.  Braden, who hasn’t won a game since his perfect game, was placed on the 15-day disabled list yesterday with elbow stiffness.  No word on if Grandma will be at the game.  


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