Today’s game recap is brought to you in bits and pieces by the number one.
The number of hits given up by CC Sabathia… So this is what $161 million looks like. Actually, we’ve been seeing this kind of dominance since the all-star break, but Saturday was special for CC. Yes, the division is all but clinched, and the overall best record seems in the bag, but when you send your stud to the mound in the last week of September against your biggest rival and potential ALCS opponent and he shuts them down, you have to feel pretty good. Sabathia set down the first eleven hitters he faced and didn’t allow a hit until the fifth. He was so flat-out dominant (one hit, two walks, eight Ks) that even though the game was scoreless until the bottom of the sixth, it never once looked like the Yankees might lose this game.
The number of times Boston pitchers retired the Yankees in order… While Sabathia was slicing and dicing his way through the Red Sox, Daisuke Matsuzaka was walking a tightrope all afternoon. The Yankees put runners in scoring position in each of the first four innings, but they failed to plate any of them. So when they loaded the bases with no one out in the fifth and Rodríguez, Matsui, and Swisher due up, the dam looked ready to burst. But then A-Rod dribbled a ball about six feet in front of the plate, Matsui popped one up about six feet behind it, Swish fouled out down the line in left, and the inning was over. No need to fret, though. Robby Canó led off the sixth by lining a ball that skipped off the top of the left field wall, giving Sabathia a 1-0 lead. It was all CC would need.
The number of innings pitched by Phil Hughes… Can I tell you how much I love Phil Hughes? He relieved Sabathia in the eighth, and after Mark Teixeira helped him out with a phenomenal play, diving to the line to rob J.D. Drew of sure double leading off the inning, Hughes did what he does, striking out Casey Kotchman and Josh Reddick to deliver the game to Mo.
The number of base hits the Yankees had with runners in scoring position… When Billy Wagner — yes, Billy Wagner — struck out Derek Jeter with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the eighth, the Yankees were 0-13 with RISP, and it looked like they might let another golden opportunity slip through their fingers. But Johnny Damon worked the count full, then blooped a single into right, just over Pedroia and just in front of Drew, good enough for two runs and a 3-0 lead.
The number of wild pitches thrown by Mariano Rivera… Mo started off the ninth by inducing Jacoby Ellsbury to tap back to the mound and fanning Pedroia on three pitches, but then things got a bit interesting. Victor Martinez singled to right, took second on defensive indifference, and then third on Rivera’s wild pitch. (I note this because I couldn’t remember this happening very often. Turns out it hasn’t. It was only the twelfth of his career, and he actually had a four-year stretch (2003-2006) without a WP.) Rivera plunked Kevin Youkilis a couple pitches later, but recovered to strike out Lowell to end the game.
The number of hits Robinson Canó needs to get to 200… Canó’s homer was his 199th hit of the season.
The number of regular season games left with the Red Sox… The series stands at 9-8 Sox. A win on Sunday would earn the Yankees a split of the season series, something which looked impossible at the all-star break.
The magic number…
And finally, because you knew it was coming, a little love from the islands.