Aside from the obvious reasons, long rain delays bug me because they put too much pressure on the game when it finally comes. If it’s an ugly one it’s hard to not think, “I waited around that whole time for this?” For a few innings it looked like tonight was going to be One of Those Games, but instead it turned into a more or less textbook win: seven innings from CC Sabathia, a few big hits from Mark Teixeira and Jorge Posada, and a save(!) from Phil Hughes led to a 6-3 Yankees win.
Sabathia wasn’t looking sharp in the first few innings — after hours of Nintendo during the rain delay — and Oakland A’s starter Vin Mazzaro was, leading to a 3-zip Oakland lead. But Sabathia recovered after relatively little carnage, and once the Yankee hitters had gotten a decent look at Mazzaro, they started to do some damage.
In the fourth, Mark Teixeira took a rare swing on a 3-0 count and hit a no-nonsense home run into the second deck. A few batters later Posada doubled home Alex Rodriguez, who’s looking downright spry on the basepaths these days, and then scored himself on an Eric Hinske single. The next inning was a variation on the theme, as Teixeira got himself a double and another RBI, and Johnny Damon scored on a Posada single to make it 6-3.
Craig Breslow relieved Mazzaro and, with apologies to my fellow Yankee fans, I was very psyched to see him pitch 1.2 scoreless innings (he was a year ahead of me at college). I didn’t have to feel conflicted about rooting for him, either, as the Yankees already had all the runs they’d need: Sabathia had found his rhythm by then, and he turned the lead straight over to Phil Hughes, who continues to pitch first and ask questions later.
A couple of stray thoughts:
-Could Mark Teixeira’s transition to New York have gone any smoother? He did have an awful first month, but he got going before people really lost patience; even in New York there’s a bit of a grace period. Ever since then he’s been somewhere between solid and excellent, and wowed the Giambi-battered crowd with his defense. And there hasn’t been so much as a whiff of a mini-controversy, not even something small and silly that, taken out of context, makes for a good misleading headline. I complain about the guy being a dull interview, and he usually is – by design, I’m sure, like Jeter – but he’s really handled everything remarkably well. It already feels like he’s been here forever.
-Finally, I kind of love that Nomar Garciaparra got booed. Sure, it’s silly – he hasn’t played for the Sox in five years, and has been too injury-riddled for most of that time to make a big impact anyway. But this wasn’t vicious, angry booing, it was more ritualistic. Of course you boo Nomar Garciaparra. It’s tradition! Heck, his feelings would probably be hurt if no one bothered.