Rain, rain go away: Yankees and Rays postponed

NEW YORK -- The final homestand at Yankee Stadium began Friday on a night as dreary as New York's season.

The New York Yankees and AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays were rained out after a 1 1/2-hour wait and will try to get in a day-night doubleheader Saturday.

"I think it should have been banged hours ago," Rays manager Joe Maddon said after sitting around watching it rain for several hours.

Tampa Bay's James Shields (12-8) will face Mike Mussina (17-8) in the opener. Matt Garza (11-9) and New York's Sidney Ponson (8-5), pushed back by the rain, will get the ball in the nightcap.

Across town, the Mets were rained out against Atlanta and will play a doubleheader Saturday. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Yankees and Mets have each played two games at home on the same day only twice before: Sept. 21, 1982 (Yankees vs. Cleveland, Mets vs. Montreal) and April 13, 1997 (Yankees vs. Oakland and Mets vs. San Francisco).

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Andy Pettitte (13-13) will start with five days' rest on Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox, lining Pettitte up to pitch the Yankee Stadium finale against Baltimore on Sept. 21. Pettitte is a veteran of 11 seasons with the Yankees, four World Series titles and six AL pennants.

"It would seem fitting that next Sunday would probably be Andy's turn," Girardi said.

Alfredo Aceves will pitch Monday's series opener against the White Sox after defeating the Los Angeles Angels this week in his first major league start.

Tampa Bay, coming off a pair of emotional wins at Fenway Park, is two games ahead of second-place Boston. Third baseman Evan Longoria, sidelined since Aug. 7 because of a a broken right wrist, is slated to play the first game Saturday but not the second.

"He's feeling pretty frisky right now. There's a decent chance that he might be out there tomorrow," manager Joe Maddon said.

Longoria was lobbying for a possible pinch-hitting appearance Friday before the game was called.

"A lot of that is all the mental adhesions, you know, the doubt whether or not he could do this or not," Maddon said. "But the doctors feel pretty good about it. Our trainers feel good about it. I think it's been five weeks, which is the appropriate amount of time biologically speaking."

Center fielder B.J. Upton, who left Monday's game with a strained left thigh muscle, is still sore and not likely to play Saturday.

Game notes
In the unlikely event Tampa Bay and Boston finish with the same record and both aren't assured of playoff berths, a one-game tiebreaker would be played Sept. 29 at Fenway Park. The Red Sox won a coin flip Friday. If the Rays and Red Sox are tied and both assured of going to the postseason, the AL East would be decided by head-to-head record. Tampa leads 8-7 heading into a three-game series in Florida starting Monday.