Alternate post titles:
*Carsten Charles in Charge (I was proud of myself for a second there, but yeah, it’s been done).
This afternoon I told Alex that the way things were going, A-Rod return or no A-Rod return, for tonight’s recap I could probably cut and paste one from earlier this week, and just replace “Rays” with “Orioles”. He wrote back: “Dude, CC is gunna toss a gem and Alex is gunna hit a homer.”
Well… yep. That’s the Twitter version (or this is I guess), and the Yankees snapped their five game skid with a fast and clean 4-0 win over the Orioles, thanks to a complete game four-hit shutout courtesy of C.C. Sabathia.
On the first pitch of Rodriguez’s first big-league at-bat of the season, the prodigal 3B knocked a nice parabola of a home run into the left field stands and gave Sabathia a three-run cushion before he even got to the mound, and the way C.C. was throwing tonight that was plenty. Rodriguez took a second to enjoy the moment, not that I can blame him, and the dugout went nuts, which made me think that however much his teammates might dislike him, they seem to like winning more. The first “A-Bomb! From A-Rod” (TM John Sterling) of the ’09 season gave the Yankees their first lead since last Saturday. Yeesh. If the team was trying to set up A-Rod’s big dramatic redemption, they could hardly have come up with better storyboards.
Sabathia was pitching to Francisco Cervelli tonight, because this year “Yankee catcher” is a job title connoting about as much longevity as “Spinal Tap drummer.” They’d never worked together before except for a couple of spring training bullpen sessions, but they sure seemed in synch, at least after a bumpy first inning (which Cervelli helped cut short with a caught stealing). After that Sabathia got scarily efficient, with an eventual total of 8 Ks and one walk with 113 pitches over the nine innings. He looks sloppy on the mound – the crooked brim and baggy uniform, not buttoned all the way – but when he’s on, his pitching is precise. After that first inning he breezed through until the ninth, when he gave everyone heart palpitations with two leadoff hits before snagging three all-business swinging strikeouts in a row to end the game.
The Yankees had a mini-rally in the fourth, but didn’t score after Nick Swisher got picked off third – in fact Swisher got back to the bag in time, but was called out because third base coach Rob Thomson had shoved him in the right direction. I have to admit I had no idea that was against the rules, not that I’d ever really thought about it before. Good thing I’m not a third base coach.
Later in that inning, Cervelli snagged his first hit, and in the seventh he walked and scored the Yankees’ fourth run when Damon doubled him home. I like Cervelli but if you walk him to lead off an inning, like Bob McCrory did, you should probably be fined or something. Still, I’m pulling for the kid, mainly because I don’t know who Kevin Cash is and don’t care to find out. The only thing I want to watch Cash do is star in a Monument Valley western with Cody Ransom.
Anyway, Cervelli, who somehow managed to make it through the game without spontaneously combusting, was pumped when the Orioles’ last batter struck out, as were his teammates. The Yankees lined up to enthusiastically hug Sabathia, which I imagine is what most fans watching at home wanted to do to him, too, after this past week.