"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

I Can’t Believe I Eighth The Whole Thing

My new screen saver, courtesy @KRADeC

On paper, you have to like the Yankees odds in a C.C. Sabathia – C.J. Wilson matchup. Off paper, well, it didn’t go quite the way you might have expected… but it came out all right in the end.

Sabathia was off tonight, because of the long layoff or who knows why; he got off to an inauspicious start in the first, with a walk, a single, and a prompt three-run home run to Josh Hamilton before I’d even had time to crack a beer. He got out of this inning with a diving play at the plate – and watching C.C. Sabathia dive is a thing to behold – and kept it together after that, more or less, but was never close to his dominant self; as he said after the game, he couldn’t execute a game plan because he couldn’t get the ball over the plate consistently. In the fourth inning he gave up two more – singles to Matt Treanor and Elvis Andrus, and a double to Michael Young. It was 5-0, the Yankees had barely touched C.J. Wilson, Sabathia was out of the game, and it didn’t look good for the Bombers.

Joba Chamberlain took over and threw a solid inning, with just a walk and no further drama. He was was followed by Dustin Moseley, who much to my surprise became one of the night’s heroes: he went two innings, struck out four, and allowed exactly no baserunners. (He was also adorably thrilled after the game, eyes bright and wide and talking about how tonight was a dream come true). New York didn’t get on the scoreboard until the seventh inning, when Robinson Cano hit an arcing home run that landed just on the good side of the right field foul pole. At the time, it seemed like a moral victory – hey, at least they won’t be shut out.

Then came the eighth inning.

Ahhh… the eighth inning.

The Rangers went through five pitchers in the eighth before they recorded a single out — and bafflingly, none of them were Neftali Feliz. A gassed C.J. Wilson started it off, Brett Gardner singled, and the old-school version of Derek Jeter doubled him all the way home (Brett Gardner, incidentally, will henceforth be known as “Zippy” in my household). Ron Washington turned to his bullpen, and came up with Darren Oliver – who although I’ve seen him pitch many times this season, my initial reaction is always “wow, he’s still playing?!” He is, and he proved it by walking the only two batters he faced, Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira. Next up was Darren O’Day, who came into the unenviable situation of bases loaded, zero outs, A-Rod at the plate. The result was a sharp single and two Yankee runs that made it 5-4… and another pitching change. Clay Rapada, come on down! (The Rangers bullpen is just Chock Full O’Lefties, not that it helped them tonight). His luck, or stuff, was no better, and Robinson Cano’s single tied the game. The Yankees had come all the way back, and were rewarded with yet another reliever: Derek Holland, who promptly allowed a single to Marcus Thames. A-Rod scored, clapped and pumped a fist, and the Yankees took the lead, 6-5.

Holland settled in and stopped the arterial bleeding after that, but it was too late – and where was Neftali Feliz? (As The Joker would say: “he’s at home, washing his tights!”) Joe Girardi is a fairly by-the-book guy, but he’s shown time and again that when things get tight in the eighth, he’ll go to Mariano Rivera, at home or on the road. Ron Washington has yet to reach similar conclusions, apparently.

Mariano Rivera came in for the ninth, of course, and outside of a Mitch Moreland single he was just fine. Fittingly, given the way the game started, it was Josh Hamilton who made the final out. It would’ve been a tough loss for the Yankees, but it turned into a tougher on for the Rangers – and it was only the fifth time in all of postseason history that a team came back from a deficit of four or more runs in the eight inning or later. Since it was only Game 1, I don’t know that this ranks at the top of great Yankees October comebacks, but it was still a hell of a win and a great start to the ALCS. Tune in tomorrow for the Phil Hughes Show.

Thought to close on: many of the Rangers were wearing hideous lanyard-style necklaces; my first thought was that they had all made friendship necklaces for each other like my friends and I did in summer camp when we were twelve. But of course they turn out to be Phiten necklaces, which, as the company claims, use “Aqua-Titanium™ technology” and help “to promote stable energy flow throughout the body.” Rarely have I heard such a pile of snake oil-covered dung, and the fact that dozens and dozens of wealthy professional athletes (including a number of Yankees, though thankfully in a less fashion-victim-y way than the Rangers) buy into it, or pretend to for endorsement deals, is insane. But more on that tomorrow.

[Photo via Deadspin]


1 tommyl   ~  Oct 16, 2010 3:06 am

Best. Headline. Ever.

2 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Oct 16, 2010 4:05 am


Banterers, please be honest..should I take the time to even skim the 815 comments in the game thread? Or just enjoy the recap and get ready for tomorrow??

3 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Oct 16, 2010 4:22 am

Ok, gave in and skimmed the game thread..good showing! Not sure why everything was in italics but still great stuff. Game Two, Phranchise Ahoy!!

4 China Joe   ~  Oct 16, 2010 5:14 am

Years from now, Ron Washington will explain his Game 1 bullpen decisions during a guest spot on Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories:

"...cocaine is a hell of a drug."

5 Shaun P.   ~  Oct 16, 2010 7:18 am

I missed almost all of the game last night, but was finally able to sit down and watch a few minutes, which were the end of the bottom of the 7th. I was falling asleep standing up, so I knew I had to go bed (and my wife was gently telling me the same, knowing how much I hate to miss postseason games). As I turned the TV off, I said to her, "They're going to come back, you know."

Never have I been so happy to have been right!

6 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Oct 16, 2010 7:37 am

[4] :)
[5] Nice! I'm going to be home for the first half of tomorrow's game (starting 6am here...) but will miss the ending..am hoping for the same. Comeback wins just take all the life out of your opponent!

7 Diane Firstman   ~  Oct 16, 2010 8:01 am

Given the oomph on Ryan's pre-game "first pitch", I'd say HE would have been a decent choice in the 8th.

whatta game.

8 Boatzilla   ~  Oct 16, 2010 8:11 am

Great write up Emma. That headline is pure genius...and I write headlines for a living. Fantastic, gut wrenching, nail biting, heroic game, but this: in the end, a lot went the Yankees way, a lot that might not have. A-Rod's hit in the 8th was a rocket, but it could have easily been a rally-killing DP.

Otherwise, he had a horrible game and seemed to be pressing again. He swung at the first pitch in every at bat. Even that bases-loaded hit—wouldn't it have seemed logical to take a few pitches. Sado was also Jorrible at the plate and behind it. And without that pick-off, Kerry Wood/Could have imploded. I hope they can build off this.

Having said that, I am in heaven.

9 RIYank   ~  Oct 16, 2010 8:40 am

I missed most of the game, too. BUT I SAW THE GOOD PART! Awesome.

Just quickly skimmed the thread from last night -- jjmerlock, dude, don't forget to close the italics tag.
I should be home in time to catch the opening pitch today. (I'm in Buffalo, of all places. The way I'm looking at it, it's nice to be in the Empire State for the opening of the ALCS.)

10 Sliced Bread   ~  Oct 16, 2010 8:41 am

they can give the MVP to whoever they want. Cano is my AL MVP, and not only because I called it going into this season. He has carried this team with huge hits from start to finish this year (not that his work is done yet).

[0] very nice piece of hitting on the headline Emma.

11 seamus   ~  Oct 16, 2010 9:04 am

I believe that headline can be found in the third basement. Nice job Emma on the write up Emma!

12 Matt Blankman   ~  Oct 16, 2010 9:19 am

A game like that makes Yankee haters hate the Yankees even more. I like that. Bring it on.

13 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Oct 16, 2010 9:29 am

Nolan Ryan: a human steam whistle right before quitting time. Rangers 0-7 at home in playoff games. Damn Yankees. Remember the Alamo.

I know this is snarky, but I hate when Texans are happy. No hate today.

Best meaningful win since the Aaron Boone game. Whose your daddy?

Fabulous write up, Emma you are a solid wordsmith and always a pleasure to read.

Less than 6 hours sleep last night, but today is a couch surfing day, with afternoon baseball! And no Fox on the cable, so no Phillies/Giants. Fuck Fox and those greedy miscreants. I refuse to let Murdoch fund the Tea-Baggers on my dime.

14 The Hawk   ~  Oct 16, 2010 9:44 am

To state that Brett Gardner merely "singled" seems unjust.

The only negative that I came away with from that wonderful game was having Swisher attempt to bunt in the 9th. Before he even stepped up I said "Do not bunt". And I'm a bunting type o' guy too.

15 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 16, 2010 9:53 am

By the 8th inning, we had slightly less then a 2% chance of winning.
Cano is POG, with 3 hits and 2 RBI.
But Gritty Gutzy Gritner gets my vote for getting a hit on a ball that was obviously an out. I mean the guy can fuckin' fly!

After seeing the replay 3 times, I'm convinced Young was simply afraid to get in front of ARod's smash. If that ball was 2' higher, he would have dove and caught the LD rather easily. It was a buttet, but literally 12 inches from where he was standing. It's the PS. That's a game changing situation. You HAVE to get your body in front of that shot..... OR THE YANKESS MIGHT COME BACK AND WIN!

How big was CC's tag out at the plate in the 1st?
Cano's HR was a laser, that must have curved 30' before it just blew inside the pole. Nearly killed someone in the walkway.

An AMAZING Win! Considering the circumstances, a historical comeback. A Series changer. AN AMAZING COMEBACK!

( Ron Gardenhire took Nolan Ryan out drinking after the game).

16 Sliced Bread   ~  Oct 16, 2010 9:57 am

the Sabathia dive was huge at the time because it finally stopped the gushing, but who knew the run he save would loom so large by the end of the game?

17 Sliced Bread   ~  Oct 16, 2010 10:00 am

[15] word, OYF.

18 monkeypants   ~  Oct 16, 2010 10:09 am

Man oh man, I missed almost the entire game last night....tuned in during the bottom of the eighth.

But today I am hunkering down for the whole game.

Can't wait.

19 Boatzilla   ~  Oct 16, 2010 10:46 am

[6] Dude, it starts at 5:00 AM here. Starts at 4:00 PM EST with DST in the States. I will be up. Enjoy.

20 Chyll Will   ~  Oct 16, 2010 11:18 am

[5] Thinkalike! >;)

21 Chyll Will   ~  Oct 16, 2010 11:20 am

Man, Nolan Ryan looks like he just ate Don Zimmer.

22 ms october   ~  Oct 16, 2010 11:28 am

oh hell yeah!
yep, great write-up emma.
i still can't believe the yanks pulled that off.
after robbie's home run i thought they might make it interesting, but my my, that 8th inning.
the stunned looked on nolan ryan and w's face was delicious.
[7] haha, diane, i wondered last night if the rangers were going to go to him in the 8th.

23 jeremydneezy   ~  Oct 16, 2010 12:14 pm

Every kid on my nephew's little league team wears the Phiten necklaces. So in essence we have two things at play here that have been a part of the national pastime for many years: 1. Major Leaguers engaging in what could be categorized as superstitious behavior. 2. Major Leaguers selling questionable products to young baseball players who mimic their every move.

24 Emma Span   ~  Oct 16, 2010 1:41 pm

[23] Yep! But at least those necklaces don't do any actual *harm*, other than parting parents from their money.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver