"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice


The way I see it, the playoffs are a payoff for eleven months of devotion, and I sat down on Friday night ready for my reward. Alison grabbed her scorebook, we talked about why Joe Girardi had recently swapped Robinson Canó and Mark Teixeira in the lineup, and she got her first look at Justin Verlander.

On the way to school Friday morning I had explained that even though the Tigers probably weren’t as good as the Yankees, they were dangerous with Verlander was on the hill, since he was the best pitcher in baseball. (She countered by reminding me that Mariano Rivera was actually the best pitcher in baseball, and I conceded the point.)

We had recorded the game, so I pushed play once we had the lineups filled in, and we were off. The atmosphere was electric from CC Sabathia’s first pitch. Austin Jackson quickly went down on strikes, as did Magglio Ordóñez, and the Stadium was buzzing. New addition Delmon Young then stepped up and lifted a lazy fly into the right field stands for a home run and a 1-0 lead.

It’s never good to give up a home run in the first inning, especially not in the playoffs, and especially not when Justin Verlander is looming, but Sabathia recovered get a ground ball out from Miguel Cabrera to end the inning.

Derek Jeter led off the bottom half of the inning. He swung at a wicked slider in the dirt for strike three, but was able to reach base safely when the pitch skipped away from rookie catcher Alex Avila. More effort from Avila would’ve resulted in an out, but he didn’t hustle. Jeter always hustles, so he beat the throw by an eyelash. Granderson then worked a walk, bringing up the team’s best hitter. Canó beat a ball to the right of first baseman Cabrera. The ball had pulled Cabrera towards second base and a certain 3-6-1 double play, but he seemed to hesitate as he crossed the baseline, reluctant to risk a throw across Granderson. He stopped abruptly and flipped the ball back towards Verlander at first for the first out of the inning.

Alison glanced at her scorebook and told me that Alex Rodríguez was due up next. “He could hit a home run, Daddy.”

I explained that we didn’t need a home run. All he really had to do was hit the ball, almost anywhere, and Jeter would score. But then he hit the ball directly to third baseman Brandon Inge, probably the only player on the infield who could come home for the out. Inge was handcuffed by the ball, seemed to have a bit of trouble getting a handle on it, and was forced to throw across the diamond for the out as Jeter scored to tie the game.

Verlander would walk Teixeira before finally getting Nick Swisher on a ground ball to end the inning, but he didn’t look sharp. When Sabathia came back out in the top of the second and blitzed through Victor Martínez, Alex Avila,and Ryan Raburn on twelve pitches, things were looking good. If the Yankee hitters could scratch out another run or two against a subpar Verlander, and if Sabathia could continue pounding the strike zone through seven or eight innings, the Yankees would take a 1-0 series lead. Everything looked great. The only thing I was worried about, really, was the rain.

When the game came back for the bottom of the second inning, the tarp was on the field. Ninety minutes later the game was officially postponed.

This game will be picked up tomorrow — weather permitting — at 5:37. Had this been a regular season game, it would simply be washed out as if it had never happened, but since this is the playoffs they’ll start at 1-1 in the bottom of the second inning, but the batons will be passed to the scheduled Game 2 starters, Doug Fister and Ivan Nova.

Even though the Yankees might have lost an opportunity on Friday night, the Tigers may have lost a lot more than that. In the long term, they’ll only be able to pitch Verlander once in this series now. In the short term, they’ll have the wrong lineup against Nova on Saturday. Manager Jim Leyland had stacked his lineup with righties against Sabathia, but he certainly won’t be able to pinch hit for them in the third inning against the right-handed Nova.

The series is now scheduled to run Saturday through Wednesday (if necessary) without any off days, and with more rain due tomorrow, there’s even an outside possibility that there could be a double header somewhere along the way. Given the way this season has played out, that seems about right.

[Photo Credit: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images]

Categories:  1: Featured  Game Recap  Hank Waddles  Yankees

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1 cult of basebaal   ~  Oct 1, 2011 1:11 am


We play today?


(sorry, I'm on repeat.)

2 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Oct 1, 2011 5:03 am

[1] I hear you, preach it!

Funny, if this were the Japan Series the same two pitchers would go out there the next day..and throw 140+ pitches. I'm telling you, beware of Yu Darvish, incredible twirler who already has a lot of mileage..

I'm going to get the Tampa-Texas game on now in the background, looks like Matty Moore is ready for the big time..

3 Boatzilla   ~  Oct 1, 2011 6:03 am

[2] I don't care, I want Darvish in a Yankee uniform. He is cooler than cool.

Why do Tampa Bay hurlers come up and just start winning, while highly touted Yankee prospects have "rules" and go to the bullpen, and get sent up an down like yo-yos until they are so confused they don't know how to pitch anymore?

Let's hope they let Nova pitch from now on....

4 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Oct 1, 2011 6:54 am

[3] He's super cool, and would be a huge star in NYC. But man..seen him go over 130+ pitches several times and you KNOW that is the norm.

I'm going to miss tomorrow morning's game too, dammit! Hope I can get through the day and back home without hearing the score..

5 T. Hawk   ~  Oct 1, 2011 8:31 am

If Leyland is to believed and they really were only going to pitch Verlander once, then this puts the Yanks at a disadvantage. Plus, despite the YS home run, Sabathia looked sharp last night.

One thing I saw that I loved was a bit of an interview with Nova. He was smiling, confident ... It made ME feel more confident about the game. Then he said it would be "fun". I dunno, it just came off really well.

I don't understand why they changed the time of the game today. Wasn't game 2 supposed to be at 8:30?

6 ms october   ~  Oct 1, 2011 8:54 am

good abbreviated write-up hank.
it is fitting that the rain would mess this game up too given all the damn rain this year.

[0] [5] everything i see says the game is still at 8:37pm tonight.

7 RIYank   ~  Oct 1, 2011 9:00 am

[5] If Leyland is to believed and they really were only going to pitch Verlander once, then this puts the Yanks at a disadvantage.

Leyland had Verlander scheduled to pitch Game Five, so I don't know what you mean.

As Hank says, now Verlander can only pitch once. Same with CC.

I think neither side gets a major advantage here. Hank makes a great point, that the Game One line-up for the Tigers was constructed with CC in mind and will now have to face Nova. And, we do have a half inning lead, so to speak. So overall, maybe small advantage to the Yankees.

Except that I saw Sabathia, and he was going to shut them down last night. That really gets me.

8 RIYank   ~  Oct 1, 2011 9:04 am

[6] Yeah, it's definitely 8:37. And Hank, they are not scheduled to play five days in a row ending Wednesday; Wed. is a day off and they play Thursday. (That's why a couple of us were wondering why Joe didn't slot CC in on Sunday, and then he could be on short rest and pitch again Thursday.)

It's all right here.

9 ms october   ~  Oct 1, 2011 9:04 am

[7] yep - agree with everything you state.
they just have to come out tonight and handle business.

10 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Oct 1, 2011 9:06 am

What a crazy rule this all is. It's really unfair to make a guy use a lineup he'd devised against one pitcher, against another pitcher. All the more so in a high-stakes game.

There's no point in picking up where they left off if the pitchers won't be the same.

11 T. Hawk   ~  Oct 1, 2011 9:20 am

Yeah I misspoke, I meant Leyland's claim they wouldn't pitch Verlander on short rest. ... Verlander was supposed to go in game 5, Sabathia in 4 so that was an advantage for us. In the first four games we'd have our ace twice, they'd have theirs once. Now it's even.

12 RIYank   ~  Oct 1, 2011 9:31 am

[11] Oh, good point. It's a disadvantage for the Yankees in that they lose the advantage they would have had.

[10] Why? This way makes more sense to me. I mean, if there were a long delay on one evening and the starters had to come out, this is exactly what would happen. Why should the fact that they delay for a full day, rather than for a couple of hours, mean they scrap the whole game?

13 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Oct 1, 2011 10:11 am

[12] Yeah, I know. I suppose the difference is that you can use a new starter in the next game, as if it's a new game, rather than both teams using random middle relievers.

I don't know what the rule should be, I'm just complaining because, well, it's just not cricket, is it?

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