After a 4-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves Tuesday, the Yankees return to Turner Field for game 2 of a 3 game series. Tonight’s matchup sees Joba Chamberlain (3-2, 3.89) against Kenshin Kawakami (4-6, 4.42), who happens to be the 8th straight starter in 8 straight games, that the Yankees have never faced.

Kawakami is back on the mound after a huge 8-2 win against the Boston Red Sox last Friday and is looking for his first back to back consecutive starts. He is 2-0 in interleague play with a 1.89 ERA.

Joba is coming off a tough June 18th 0-3 loss against the Washington Nationals, going 6 innings; six strike outs, giving up 7 hits, 3 earned runs on 100 pitches. Pitching for the Nationals that game was Craig Stammen; but don’t let Joba’s numbers fool you. It was a fairly strong outing for him but the Yankee bats were dead, going 0-4 with RISP stranding 7 runners on base. Tonight Joba brings his perfect 3-0, 2.72 ERA road record to the game and it will be his first time facing the Braves. Joba is also 1-1 in interleague play with a 2.22 ERA. Hopefully this “first time pitcher success” that opposing NL teams have seen with the Yankees of this season will rub off on the 6’2” Yankee righty. The only current Brave that has faced Joba is Nate McLouth, who is 0-3 against him.

While it is a poignant fact that the Yankees are 1-6 against these pitchers so far, it should not be used as an excuse for the dead wood in the Yankees dugout during these games. First of all, these pitchers pitch in the NATIONAL LEAGUE. Being on an AL team, you’re rarely going to see them, unless they are a veteran or a journeyman, and these past 8 games have not been that case. This Yankees lineup is just struggling period. And last night against Tommy Hanson proves that well, with Nick Swisher wiffing 0-5, Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada both going 0-4 as well as Mark Teixeira going 0-3. The loss last night to the Braves places the Yankees in a tie for 2nd in the AL East with the Toronto Blue Jays; both teams 5 games behind the Boston Red Sox. Typing that just made my blood boil, I have to admit.

Some good pregame news:

Xavier Nady is schedule to start his rehab assignment at Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre today as well as the possibility of Cody Ransom being activated today from his Triple-A rehab assignment. Could this mean bye-bye Angel (I look good one play and shit the bed on the rest) Berroa? One can only hope. With the hopeful return of Nady and Ransom, this guy serves no other purpose than bat boy.

And MORE good news:

Jose Veras has been “bought” by the Cleveland Indians for an undisclosed cash amount. Let’s hope that the Indians organization doesn’t come to The Bronx in the next few weeks or months, riding on a BMX bike asking for their two dollars back, man.

Tonight’s original lineup had Melky Cabrera in RF. Due to last minute “meeting” with Yankees GM, Brian Cashman (who happens to be on the road with the team this series), Yankees manager Joe Girardi and Nick Swisher behind closed doors, lineup changed to substitute Swisher in RF. Then all of the players were called into a meeting.

I wonder the reason behind the closed door meeting. Perhaps it’s due to Nady’s return and what Swisher’s role on the team will be when that happens. Or perhaps Swisher is on the trade block. Duh, duh, dun-dun. Who knows? I like to make stuff up too, just to make to you think.

Here’s your starting lineups for June 24th:

YANKEES (38-32)
Jeter SS
Damon LF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Cano 2B
Swisher RF
Gardner CF
Cervelli C
Chamberlain RHP

Pitching: RHP Joba Chamberlain (3-2, 3.89).

BRAVES (34-36)
McLouth CF
Escobar SS
Jones 3B
McCann C
Anderson LF
Kotchman 1B
Francoeur RF
Johnson 2B
Kawakami RHP

Pitching: RHP Kenshin Kawakami (4-6, 4.42)

Here’s my first BOLD prediction on Online Yankees Magazine:

Joba will go 7 innings with 2 earned runs. Yanks will win 6-2. I have faith in Joba.

And if this doesn’t happen? Don’t blame me. I’m just a chick.

Megan Marshall