CC you later, Texas. After nine games against very good, and very disciplined offenses, it was friggin’ beautiful to see the Texas Rangers swing at everything. And they missed almost everything, so that made it even better. The rain shortened the affair to a 5-1 Yankee victory in only six innings, but the only consequence of the premature end was to cap the number of whiffs for CC at nine. Had the weather been dry (and had Jeter made a very makable play in the first inning) we’d be looking at a second consecutive deep dominant game and quite possibly a nifty little 16 or 17 inning April scoreless streak.
CC had all his pitches working tonight. Check out how he worked over the Rangers for the nine whiffs. It was a classic case of a brilliant starting pitcher turning the lineup over like a flapjack. As he got into the fifth, he had tempted three lefties to chase the slider. And three righties went fishing for the change-up (he also froze Cruz on a fastball in the first). Then a string bean named Arias (a previous changeup fisherman) held back long enough on another well placed two strike changeup to guide it into centerfield for a base hit.
If you have access to the game, watch CC’s reaction as the ball floats up the middle and past Jeter. He was pissed. He had this guy dead to rights, and then he’s standing on first base. He knew at that moment, he had gone with plan A long enough. But with all his pitches working, plan B was dynamite, and if he needed it, he could have come close to completing the alphabet. The next time a righty got two strikes, CC suspected Teagarden was sitting on the change-up, so he dropped in an impeccable slider for the backwards K. Then when he got two strikes on a lefty, he encouraged Hamilton to expect the slider away, and promptly buried him on the inside corner with the heater.
As I watched him switch gears so perfectly and with such devastating effect, I thought of Wesley dueling Inigo Montoya. The difference being of course, CC is left handed.
There was an amusing sequence in the bottom of the sixth, as Gardner ran for Thames. He took a few pitches to time Wilson’s move, and then proceeded to get four outstanding jumps. The problem was that Granderson fouled it off each time. By the time Gardner eventually stole during Cervelli’s at bat, it was his fifth attempt within ten pitches. And he beat a pitch-out. That… is one heluva a stolen base. And a meaningful stolen base as well, as Gardner would not have been on third to score on Jeter’s dingle, I mean single, without it.
The Yanks and CC are off to better starts than we are used to, hopefully Teix gets his invite to the April surprise party as well.