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First Pitch: Noesi? No way, si?

Over the past two games, the Yankees have spanked David Price for five runs in seven innings and King Felix Hernandez for four runs in 6-2/3.

In those games, Robinson Cano has gone 7-for-8 and Alex Rodriguez 4-for-8. sudenly, the middle of the Yankees batting order, so dormant for so much of the early part of the season, is alive and raking.

So what shot does poor little Hector Noesi have today in his Yankee Stadium homecoming?

Noesi, of course, was the ''throw-in'' in the Jesus Montero-for-Michael Pineda deal, and as recently as this winter, the Yankees were talking about him as a dark horse candidate for the fifth spot in their rotation.

He never made it to spring training, of course -- the deal was completed on January 13 -- but he is now a regular part of the Mariners rotation, and in six starts so far, he has had limited success. One of his starts was horrendous -- on April 20 against the White Sox when he allowed six runs in 1-1/3 innings -- and four of them have been mediocre at best.

And one of them was terrific -- on April 14, when he threw 8 shutout innings at the Oakland A's, allowing just five hits.

Now, obviously the A's are not the Yankees, and right now, the Yankees are looking like their long-lost cousins, the Bronx Bombers. That does not bode well for Noesi's homecoming this afternoon.

But what does work in his favor is the Yankees' perplexing penchant for coming up empty against pitchers they have never faced before. It must be remembered that a week ago today, the Yankees were handcuffed by a kid named Felipe Paulino in Kansasa City, managing just four hits and no runs over the first six innings of what became a 5-1 loss.

So which Yankees lineup will we see today? The patient, confident one that manhandled Price on Thursday and waited out Hernandez on Friday?

Or the one that looks baffled by an unfamiliar face on the mound?

Certainl, Noesi's face will be familiar to them; he was in their system since 2006. But his repertoire will be new, and perhaps puzzling.

The question: Do you think the first time jinx will strike the Yankees again today? Or will they solve Noesi the way they solved two of the best pitchers in the AL this week?

Up now: My column on the King of Siam, Raul Ibanez', big night at the expense of the King of Seattle, Felix Hernandez. Also, a plethora of blog items by Mike Mazzeo.

Up later: Phil Hughes (2-4, 6.67) faces Noesi (2-3, 6.67) today at 4:05 p.m. The clubhouse will open at 1:30 and as always, ESPNNewYork.com will be all over it, so peek in at the blog all day long, and as always, thanks for reading.

Question No. 2: Do you agree with the Yankees' decision to send Eduardo Nunez down to AAA? Or does Nunie's offensive abilities outweigh his defensive liabilities? Let's hear it below.