[WPA data via FanGraphs]
1. The Yankees took an early lead in the bottom of the first without the benefit of a hit. True to form, Rich Harden limited balls in play by hitting Brett Gardner (who then stole second), striking out Nick Johnson, hitting Mark Teixeira, and walking Alex Rodriguez. Robinson Cano followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 1-0 Yankees.
2. The Rangers bounced back in the third to take a 2-1 lead. Matt Treanor led off with a single, was bunted to second, and scored on a double from Elvis Andrus. Michael Young then drove Andrus in with a base hit. Mark Teixeira prevented further damage by making a nice leaping catch on hotshot off the bat of Josh Hamilton.
3. The Yankees responded quickly in the bottom half of the inning. Following his defensive gem, Teixeira led off with his first home run of the year to even the score. A single by Jorge Posada was sandwiched between walks by A-Rod and Curtis Granderson. With two outs, Ramiro Pena came to the plate and El Nino lined a base hit to right, making it 4-2 Yankees.
4. Posada capped the scoring in the seventh, lining a shot into the right field seats for the Yankees' second inning-opening solo shot on the afternoon, making it 5-2 Yankees.
IFs, ANDs, & BUTs
- Our preview proved somewhat prophetic in outlining how the starters would fair today. Rich Harden had something resembling his first start of the year, needing 94 pitches to go just three and two thirds. He faced 23 batters, hitting two, walking six, fanning five, and allowing a home run. As such, just nine balls were put in play against him.
- As for Pettitte, he struggled a bit through the early innings, then went into lock down mode. He didn't allow a hit after the third inning and retired twelve in a row from the fourth into the eighth. He needed 65 pitches to get through his first four innings of work and just 42 to get through his final four frames. Perhaps the Rangers were in a hurry to get to Boston.
- Nick Swisher intentionally overthrew the cutoff man in the third, despite having virtually no chance of gunning down Elvis Andrus at the plate. The mental gaffe allowed Michael Young to take second, and if not for the nice stab by Teixeira, Josh Hamilton's liner would have plated Young. I'm not as bearish on Swisher's defense as many others are, but such mental errors are not excusable. Swisher made some similar decisions last season and unfortunately this isn't his first such offense in the young 2010 season.
- In addition to his grab in the third, Teixeira made a nice diving stop to end the fourth inning.
- While Teix's defense was top notch, Texas' defense continued to be suspect, as was the official scoring. David Murphy allowed a can of corn off the bat of Jorge Posada to fall in for a base hit in the bottom of the third, and second baseman Joaquin Arias let a slow roller off the bat of Brett Gardner trickle under his glove to start the eighth.
- In addition to his stolen base in the first, Gardner swiped another in the sixth and was picked off/caught stealing in the eighth. It was just the seventh time in his career he's been caught in 53 attempts, good for a very impressive 86.8% success rate.
- Alex Rodriguez stole a base of his own, pilfering third in the fourth inning.
Matt Treanor'sDustin Nippert's throw had him dead to rights, but an inventive slide from A-Rod delivered him to the bag safely.
- Mo was downright nasty in the ninth, catching both Nelson Cruz and Chris Davis looking to end the game.
- Former Yankee reliever Tanyon Sturtze was in the house, with some choice Legends Seats behind the Yankee dugout. He was given an inordinate amount of face time on YES, as John Flaherty spoke about Sturtze being one of his favorite teammates. All Sturtze's camera time allowed me to see that he waved and ate exclusively with his left arm; his right is apparently still unusable thanks to Joe Torre.
See you in the morning Fackers.