"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

The Morning After

Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images

C.C. Sabathia provided the perfect cure for a hangover. With the Yankees still basking in the glow of Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit, it would have been easy to overlook Sunday’s rubber game against the Rays, but the big lefty almost single handedly made sure there wouldn’t be a morning after.

For much of the game, it seemed as if the Yankees and Rays had packed away their bats for the All Star break a little too early. With Sabathia and James Shields on the mound, that was probably a wise decision. Neither team made much use of them anyway. For seven innings, the two aces not only traded zeros, but did so with relative ease. In 11 of the game’s 17 half innings, the Yankees and Rays sent only three batters to the plate, and in the other six, the two teams never used more than four.

Before Sabathia and Shields got on a roll, the Yankees and Rays each mounted an early threat, but both opportunities were forfeited by questionable decision making. The Rays had the first chance to break out on top when Sean Rodriguez started the third inning with a double. However, with no outs in the inning, he was then inexplicably gunned down trying to steal third. After Rodriguez’ costly blunder, the Rays never advanced another runner past first base.

In the bottom of the third inning, the Yankees also gift wrapped an inning for Shields. After Eduardo Nunez led off with an infield hit and Derek Jeter reached on a perfectly placed bunt single, the Yankees decided to play some small ball with Curtis Granderson, one of the league’s most potent hitters in the first half.  That decision eventually backfired when Nunez was thrown out at the plate while trying to score on Mark Teixeira’s shallow fly ball.

For most of the game, it seemed like the Yankees and Rays were standing around watching Sabathia and Shields pitch. Unfortunately for Tampa, B.J. Upton wasn’t one of the bystanders. In the fourth inning, the enigmatic centerfielder was picked off trying to steal second base, and then, in seventh, he was doubled off first base on a fly ball to right. In the bottom half of the same inning, Upton tried to return the favor by doubling off Robinson Cano, but his throw ended up in the seats behind first base. With a good throw, Cano would have likely been out. Instead, the winning run was placed on third with only one out.

Upton almost got a reprieve when Russell Martin lined out, but Shields compounded his centerfielder’s error by making one of his own. With Cano creeping down the line, Shields attempted a pick off, but threw wildly, allowing the go ahead run to score. Ironically, Shields’ worst pitch of the day was delivered to third base, and it ultimately cost him the ballgame.

After being staked to a 1-0 lead, Sabathia mowed down the Rays in the eighth and then, instead of giving way to Mariano Rivera, stepped atop the mound to start the ninth. How much to did the big lefty want the complete game shutout? For the second out, he caught Ben Zobrist looking at a 97mph heater. Then, for the final out, he blew Elliot Johnson away his fastest pitch of the game. The radar gun read 98mph. Sabathia let out a primordial roar. It was the perfect punctuation to an outstanding first half by both Sabathia and the entire team.

Categories:  1: Featured  2010s  Baseball  Bronx Banter  Game Recap

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1 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Jul 10, 2011 6:52 pm

Great game recap. CC is the lion of the pitching corps.

2 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Jul 10, 2011 6:52 pm

Great game recap. CC is the lion of the pitching corps.

3 Boatzilla   ~  Jul 10, 2011 7:10 pm

Yeas, great recap.

I don't understand the All-Star situation. Shields is picked, then he is unpicked. For what reason? Then Sabathia is picked even though he can't pitch. I thought that was why Shields was unpicked. Who gets "All-Star" on their resume. Do they both? And are all these decisions solely in the hands of Ron Washington?

4 RIYank   ~  Jul 10, 2011 7:10 pm

[1] [2] You misspelled "loin".

5 Chyll Will   ~  Jul 10, 2011 7:24 pm

[4] That means he also misspelled "Colon"...

6 William J.   ~  Jul 10, 2011 8:33 pm

[2] [3] Thanks.

Any pitcher who pitches on Sunday becomes automatically ineligible for the All Star Game. When Shields through his first pitch, he was removed, and Sabathia happened to be next on the list of candidates created by the league in conjunction with player input and Washington. However, when C.C. threw his first pitch, he was disqualified, meaning Ogando got the nod.

All three pitchers can call themselves All Stars.

7 OldYanksFan   ~  Jul 10, 2011 8:59 pm

Bewteen fans being ENCOURAGED to vote a zillion times, Sunday pitchers, every team needing a rep and other foilbles in 'It Counts This Time', the ASG is having less and less meaning. It's actually getting kinda stupid, What a shame.

Anybody sorry we didn't trade for Santana?

Cashman is flying under the radar these days.
God... I hope he stays with the team.

8 Hank Waddles   ~  Jul 10, 2011 9:35 pm

[7] I was also thinking about the All-Star game today. Unlike most, I like that fans still have a vote, and I like that one player has to be selected from each team. The problem as I see it is that too many players choose not to come. If I were commissioner -- and what a wonderful world that would be -- selected players would not be allowed to bow out for injury unless they're either on the disabled list or have been held out of multiple games leading up to the break -- or take a five-game suspension after the break. And if you're selected, get on a plane, stand on the baseline for introductions, and support the game. I know CC wants to go to the Bahamas, but the Bahamas will be there in November.

Bud Selig has it all wrong, obviously. I don't think anyone really cares that "this time it counts." (And by the way, since it's counted for five or ten years now, isn't it time we drop the "this time" part?) The All-Star game should be a celebration of the game. The best players should be there, but the favorite players should also be there, and every ten-year-old kid should be able to see a player from his or her favorite team at least introduced. Who cares if there are thirty or thirty-five guys on the roster?

I think it's a tragedy that Jeter won't be there. He should be introduced as "the newest member of baseball's 3,000 hit club" as a montage from Saturday's game is played in the background, and if they were smart they'd gather all the living members of that group to welcome him in. Wouldn't that be cool? Recently baseball has done a good job of using the ASG to promote the history of the game, and that would be a perfect opportunity. But Jeter wants to stay home, and MLB allows him to stay. It's a shame.

9 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Jul 10, 2011 11:54 pm

CC has really emerged as one of the leaders of this team. What a performance!

10 NY15_4ever   ~  Jul 10, 2011 11:58 pm

Having an EXHIBITION GAME - that nobody cares about and nobody wants to play in - decide who will have home field advantage in the most important series of your sport is completely assinine. The Commissioner is an idiot.

11 Eddie Lee Whitson KO   ~  Jul 11, 2011 8:28 am

Was at the game. While a little sloppy on the bases, it was great. a tidy 2:11, top 10 day of summer. Shields was great, CC just a bit better.

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