1. The only trouble CC Sabathia had came in the first inning, and even then, the Rangers were lucky to get a run across. Michael Young bounced one up the middle that Derek Jeter, ranging to his left, knocked down but couldn't quite get a hold of. Up next, Josh Hamilton looped a wind-aided double into the left field corner that Marcus Thames pulled up short of, putting runners on the corners for Vlad Guerrero. Vlad lifted an 0-2 pitch off the end of the bat to center field and Curtis Granderson made a strong throw to the plate, but Michael Young was safe by a couple of seconds. 1-0 Rangers.
2. The Yankees got to C.J. Wilson in the first inning as well. True to their respective natures, Derek Jeter led off the game with an opposite field single and Nick Johnson worked a walk. Johnson was erased on a double play by Mark Teixeira but Jeter moved to third and scored on a pased ball off of Talyor Teagarden's glove with A-Rod at the plate, tying the game at 1.
3. As the rain began to pick up in the 4th inning, the Yanks loaded the bases on a HBP, single and a walk with no one out for Marcus Thames, but he struck out looking on a slider over the inside corner. Next up, Curtis Granderson slapped one sharply to first that was fielded by Chris Davis, who attempted to get Nick Swisher at second base, but his throw hit Swish in the back, ricocheted into the outfield and allowed an additional run to score. Francisco Cervelli then hit a bloop single to shallow left to put the Yanks ahead 4-1.
4. The mound started to get sloppy in the 6th inning. CC Sabathia lost his footing while delivering a pitch and then plunked Julio Borbon but then retired the side in order.
In the bottom half of the inning, Marcus Thames singled and was replaced by Brett Gardner, who stole second. With two outs, Cervelli beat out a ground ball to shortstop, passing the baton to Jeter. The Captain bounced an RBI infield single just out of the reach of Wilson to put the Yanks up 5-1.
The grounds crew attempted to tame the soaked field before the 7th inning but were forced to declare a rain delay before calling the game all together about an hour later.
IFs, ANDs & BUTs
- The ball that Marcus Thames couldn't get to in the first fell within 5 or 10 feet of him and he looked lead-footed in pursuit of it. Mike from RAB thought it wouldn't have mattered if Brett Garnder was in there but watching the replay makes me think that Brett would have at least had a chance.
- Thames continues to hit, though, going 2-3 last night and bringing him up to 5-10 on the season.
- Brett Gardner's pinch running appearance was highly amusing. Curtis Granderson and C.J. Wilson engaged in an 11 pitch at bat and Gardner running on four of those pitches, only to have Granderson foul them back. The Rangers pitched out twice in a row to begin Cervelli's AB, and guessed right on the second one as Gardner was going, but still couldn't catch him.
- Sabathia was on another level last night. He struck out nine, walked none and allowed only three hits. As detailed above, the Rangers were lucky to patch together a run in the first and CC responded by striking out the next 6 batters he faced. Only 15 of the 73 pitches (20%) he threw were balls, he tossed 20 first pitch strikes, got to 0-2 twelve times and never had a 3 ball count. If anything, he got sort of gypped out of a chance at a more dominant start considering his pitch count and the way he was throwing through the 6 inning, but I'm sure he'll take the guaranteed rain-shortened win.
- We should probably reevaluate the notion that Sabathia can't pitch in cold weather after his performance last night. It was in the 40's and rainy and he looked a good as he ever has - probably even better than his last time out.
- Nick Johnson got caught stealing to end the third (probably on a missed hit and run) but replays showed he was safe. The throw beat him but he did some sort of a twisting scissor slide and touched the bag with his left leg before the tag was applied to his right.
- Mark Teixiera's futility was not diminished by the abbreviated game as he managed to make 4 outs in 3 at bats thanks to the double play in the first inning. Seriously, he should like, starting hitting pretty soon.
Game 2 of the series starts at 1:05 today, weather permitting and all that. We'll be back with the preview sometime before then.