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09/22/09 3:10 AM ET

Every start an opportunity for Gaudin

New York (95-56) at Los Angeles (90-60), 10:05 p.m. ET

ANAHEIM -- Make no mistake about it -- at this point in the Yankees' schedule, every man who steps onto the pitcher's mound is entering for an audition, trying to prove his worth to the powers that be for next month.

Tuesday will present Chad Gaudin's opportunity to state a case, and the Yankees will be watching closely. The midseason pickup has pitched his way into the rotation as the fifth starter, and if he can do what others have not and beat the Angels, the next step could be engraving his place on a playoff roster.

"Everyone has a chance to show us as we move forward," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We're one win from being in the playoffs, and these last two weeks are very important for some spots."

The Yankees need one victory or a Rangers loss to clinch a playoff berth, but Gaudin insists that he has not given any thought to sticking on New York's roster past Oct. 2.

"I can't control it," Gaudin said. "You control the controllables. I feel that if I pitch well and do what I know I can do, hopefully in the end it will take care of itself. All I can do is worry about tomorrow and prepare myself to get a win."

But Gaudin has pitched like a serious candidate, limiting opponents to three earned runs or fewer in all four of his starts for the Yankees.

"I don't really think there's time to sit and pat yourself on the back," Gaudin said. "The minute you start to pat yourself on the back is when you take a step back and stop moving forward. I'm glad to have the opportunity and thankful. But it doesn't matter what you've done -- it matters what you're going to do."

Girardi said that he has seen swing-and-miss stuff from Gaudin, which led the manager to flip his rotation and send Sergio Mitre to the bullpen after a pair of troublesome September starts.

Acquired in early August from the Padres for cash considerations, Gaudin has impressed Girardi with a changeup that has bite as well as an ability to control the running game with quick feet.

"He's obviously in the mix, or he wouldn't be starting for us," Girardi said. "We went out and got Chad because we felt that he could help us down the stretch and in the postseason. He has pitched pretty well. He has done a pretty good job."

And if Gaudin keeps that up at Angel Stadium, where the Yankees have lost 18 of 23 games coming into Tuesday's action, that might just be too much to ignore come decision-making time.

"It would mean a lot because this has not been a very kind place to us," Girardi said.

Pitching matchup
NYY: RHP Chad Gaudin (5-10, 4.81 ERA)
Gaudin's most recent start came last Wednesday against the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium, where he hurled 5 2/3 innings of three-run, seven-hit ball in a no-decision before the Yankees won, 5-4. Gaudin has made three starts in September, and New York has won all three. The right-hander started against the Angels as a member of the Padres on June 12 and was hammered for eight runs on 10 hits in three innings as San Diego lost, 11-6.

LAA: RHP Ervin Santana (7-8, 5.43 ERA)
Santana had a strong effort in Boston on Thursday night, pitching brilliantly through seven innings except for a four-batter stretch of the fourth inning when he yielded three runs on three hits, including two homers. Santana surrendered only four hits altogether, walking one, hitting one batter and striking out six men. He has given up three or fewer runs in seven of his past eight starts. Santana is 1-5 with a 7.24 ERA in nine home starts this season and 5-2 with a 5.09 ERA in seven career outings against the Yankees.

Hideki Matsui's pinch-hit home run on Monday was the first of his career and the Yankees' third in 2009. Jorge Posada slugged the other two. ... Matsui has 13 home runs off left-handed pitching this season, most in the Major Leagues among left-handed batters. The Rays' Carlos Pena -- out for the remainder of the season -- is second with 12. ... Alex Rodriguez has 66 home runs and 148 RBIs lifetime against the Angels, the most all-time homers and the most RBIs among active players. ... With Derek Jeter's next hit, the Yankees' captain will log his seventh season with at least 200 hits. ... Jeter owns a .335 (177-for-528) batting average in 133 career games against the Angels, tops among active Major Leaguers with at least 200 at-bats.

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Up next
• Wednesday: Yankees (A.J. Burnett, 11-9, 4.22) at Angels (Scott Kazmir, 9-8, 5.08), 3:35 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Off-day
• Friday: Yankees (CC Sabathia, 18-7, 3.31) vs. Red Sox (Jon Lester, 14-7, 3.33), 7:05 p.m. ET

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.