Friday, October 15, 2010

ALCS Game 1: Yankees at Rangers

Photo courtesy Texas Rangers
Rangers Ballpark in Arlington hosts its first ALCS beginning tonight.
For all the attention lavished upon CC Sabathia (and deservedly so) let's not forget the left-hander who will be taking the mound tonight for the Rangers. C.J. Wilson is quite deserving of attention himself, having transformed himself from a middle reliever to a successful closer to a 15-game winner in his first season as a big-league starter. And he wasn't too shabby in his postseason debut, shutting out the Rays over 6 1/3 innings and allowing only two hits in the process.

Wilson also has had impressive success in his career many of the members of tonight's Yankees lineup: Mark Teixeira (0-for-5), Curtis Granderson (0-for-6), Brett Gardner (0-for-5), Jorge Posada (0-for-3), Brett Gardner (0-for-5) and, of course, Alex Rodriguez (1-for-13). For a Texas squad trying to get to Cliff Lee in Game 3 with the series tied, a Wilson victory tonight over Sabathia would be huge.

I'll have some thoughts along the way, and as always, please share your thoughts as well...

Where: Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
Gametime: 8:07 p.m.
TV: TBS Radio: WTEM-980 AM
Weather: Clear, 82 degrees
SS Derek Jeter
RF Nick Swisher
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
DH Marcus Thames
C Jorge Posada
CF Curtis Granderson
LF Brett Gardner
(P CC Sabathia)

SS Elvis Andrus
3B Michael Young
CF Josh Hamilton
DH Vladimir Guerrero
LF Nelson Cruz
2B Ian Kinsler
RF Jeff Francoeur
C Matt Treanor
1B Jorge Cantu
(P C.J. Wilson)
8:21 p.m. -- Well, that's one way to get this series off to a good start. Three batters into the bottom of the first, three runs across thanks to Josh Hamilton's blast down the right-field line. Guess those ribs are just fine. The homer came on a hanging 0-2 breaking ball from CC Sabathia, who was all over the place in the inning. Didn't really look in command of anything, and he still looks off as the inning continues with the Rangers already ahead 3-0 and the crowd going berserk.

8:34 p.m. -- And we've got our first blown call of the night. Nelson Cruz sure looked safe at the plate to me. Still 3-0 after one, but the lead could've been even bigger for Texas.

8:37 p.m. -- Or not. The definitive replay angle shows Cruz was indeed out. Nice job by plate umpire Gerry Davis.

9:26 p.m. -- Both Sabathia and Wilson have given the opposition chances to score, but neither side has taken advantage (at least not since Hamilton's first-inning homer). Sabathia, in particular, was teetering on the brink a few times, especially after he balked Hamilton to third with one out in the third. But the big lefty escaped without suffering any more damage. It's quite possible three runs could win this game, but if you're the Rangers, do you really want to tempt fate like that?

9:43 p.m. -- Great piece of hitting by Michael Young in the bottom of the fourth, going the other way with an outside offering from Sabathia for a big, two-run double. Rangers up 5-0 now, and Joba Chamberlain is warming in the Yankee bullpen.

10:15 p.m. -- All this talk about incredible pitching performances from guys named Halladay and Lincecum and Lee and Oswalt and Hamels and Sabathia ... guess who arguably has outpitched them all? Yes, C.J. Wilson. With six more shutout innings so far tonight, he's now tossed 12 1/3 scoreless innings this postseason, allowing only five hits in the process. Time to give this guy some much-deserved credit.

10:31 p.m. -- Guess I spoke a bit too soon. Robinson Cano leads off the top of the seventh with a homer down the right-field line to cut the lead to 5-1 and produce the first run off Wilson this postseason. Wilson did, however, bounce right back to retire the next three batters he faced. So one run allowed in 13 1/3 innings, still not bad. Texas is six outs from pulling off a most surprising Game 1 victory.

10:57 p.m. -- Oh my, it's now 5-2 in the eighth and the bases are loaded with nobody out for A-Rod. Darren O'Day entering from the bullpen for the biggest challenge of his life.

11:00 p.m. -- First pitch to A-Rod: two-run single to left. It's 5-4 with two on and still nobody out in the top of the eighth. Now it'll be Clay Rapada to face Cano.

11:04 p.m. -- Two relievers. Two pitches. Three runs allowed. Cano smokes a single up the middle, tying the game at 5 and knocking Rapada out. Ron Washington is summoning his FIFTH pitcher of the inning. And there's still NOBODY out with the go-ahead run at third base.

11:20 p.m. -- Well, the inning is over at last, but not before the Yankees take a 6-5 lead. What a rally from the defending champs. And what a crushing inning for the Rangers, who suddenly have some major bullpen questions, whether they rally to win this game or not.

11:33 p.m. -- In my LCS preview this morning, I listed Kerry Wood as one of the biggest keys to this series, a necessary bridge for the Yankees to get to Mariano Rivera. Well, he nearly put himself in big-time trouble when he walked Ian Kinsler to open the eighth. But then Kinsler shot himself in the foot, getting caught leaning toward second and getting picked off in the process. Wood then finished off the inning, leaving the Yankees up 6-5 as they go to the ninth.

11:57 p.m. -- That's it. Yankees win 6-5, winning a game they trailed 5-0 in the seventh and 5-1 in the eighth. Texas wasted some early opportunities to really pile on against Sabathia, and that came back to haunt them. But really, this game came down to the Rangers bullpen's inability to protect what should have been a comfortable lead. Really impressive rally from New York, though, and you've got to wonder what that does to Texas' psyche. It would have been one thing just to lose this game. But to blow a five-run lead after cruising along for seven innings? Whew, it's going to be tough to bounce back from this one. Game 2 tomorrow afternoon, 4:07 p.m., followed by the Halladay-Lincecum epic in Game 1 of the NLCS.


Section 223 said...

Go Ex-Nats!, er Senators!

BethesdaFan said...

Mark -

I Googled the term "taxi squad" for more information and got 275,000 hits -- 1st Wikipedia , then 5 dictionary definitions, and your 13 Oct blog is 6th!

Mark Zuckerman said...

Bethesda Fan: Really? Wow, that's pretty cool.

Jim Webster said...

Senators 2.0 making CC's 7 years, $161 million look like no bargain.

Michael J. Hayde said...

A merciful end to a pretty shabby inning. It's one thing when the Nats have 1st innings like this, but these are the YANKS. Luckily the Bombers are great at late-inning combacks.


Doc said...

Reportedly, Nolan Ryan's 'first pitch throw out' was registered at 88 on the speed gun.

I'm thinking that we may have some leg pulling going on here. But if true, not bad at all for a 63 year old guy.

Faraz Shaikh said...

maybe we could sign him as a free agent.

rangers are in strong position. to be honest, before the match I didn't give Wilson and rangers much chance against CC and Yanks. they proven me wrong so far.

Oh, by the way as good as Lee is, I think everyonne is bragging way too much about him. He is great no doubt about it but the way they are talking about him, it seems like Rangers have put all their eggs in one basket or something.

JaneB said...

OMG. This is horrifying. And horrifyingly familiar.

Matt said...

Ugh. It seems like nothing could make me hate the Yankees more, and then this comes along.

Michael J. Hayde said...

Strike that "blown call" from the 1st - replays show Sabathia applied the tag just ahead of Cruz crossing the plate.

And c'mon people... do you really think the RANGERS can beat the Philthies in the WS? Seriously? I don't care how deep your Yankee hatred, as Nats fans you've GOT to root for the team that can best intimidate and defeat the Phils and their obnoxious, infiltrating bandwagon phans!

Matt said...

Michael, I'm a Nats fan for sure, but I'm a baseball fan first. Which means rooting against the Yankees takes precedence.

Of course, I'm hoping for good things from the Giants at the same time. ;)

Michael J. Hayde said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael J. Hayde said...

"I'm a baseball fan first. Which means rooting against the Yankees takes precedence."

(BOOP) Answer does not compute. Yankees most storied franchise in sports history. Team defines Baseball to the World at large.

Sorry... that was my laptop "talking." I made a few modifications to it some months ago....

Well I said the Yanks were great at late-inning comebacks, but that one was unbelievable. John Sterling called it possibly the greatest comeback in Yankee postseason history.

Anonymous said...

Michael, a lot of people root against Duke because they're Duke. A lot of people root against the Yankees because they're the Yankees. It's the success that creates the backlash. Win 40 pennants and 27 World Series titles and you make some enemies. You may not agree, but it certainly computes.

Sterling's memory is pretty short. Off the top of my head I give you Game 1 of the 1998 WS. As Michael Kay said, while losing his voice: "seven runs ... in the seventh inning ... of the first game ... of the best of seven series. And the Yankees lead 9-5!"

John C.

dryw said...

Matt, you just articulated my feelings perfectly, far better than I could have done myself. Go non-Yankee-teams!

Jim Webster said...

Michael needs to separate the Phillies' team from their unsavory fans, who even heckled my wife in a wheelchair when we showed up at Citizens Bank Park a couple of years back.

Some of us who were at least mildly Orioles followers through Washington's 33 years in the wilderness have a visceral dislike for arrogance in pinstripes.

And in my case, a Phillies attraction goes back to 1949 when Richie Ashburn, Robin Roberts, Curt Simmons and Charlie Bicknell signed a baseball for me. Wish I still had it.

Anonymous8 said...

A couple of us mentioned that if the Yankees got Carl Crawford that maybe the Nats would give up Brett Gardner.

After watching what he did on that infield hit that started the rally in the 8th, I don't think they give him up.

Amazing game. When I turned on the TV in the 6th I was shocked to see the score 5-0 in favor of the Rangers. What I knew was something the Nats have never figured out---you wear out the other team's starting pitcher and then abuse their bullpen which is what the Yankees did. It could have been worse if Swisher bunted in the 9th.

I am for any team that can legitimately crush the Phillies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Section 223 said...

Rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for Microsoft or AT&T.

dryw said...

Sec 223....only with more money! ;-)

Anonymous said...

I'd sooner wear a dorky vest than root for the Yankees.

JaneB said...

At least we all agree that we love our Nats, even in October when the only Nats to be found still playing are the ex-Nats.

Michael J. Hayde said...

"Rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for Microsoft or AT&T."

Sure, just ask people who bought stock in Microsoft or AT&T!

Along with loving a winner, America equates Baseball with the Yankees. And if you don't believe that, just compare the ratings for the WS with the Yankees vs. those without.

Michael J. Hayde said...

I'll be watching this for days to come!

And look at Nolan Ryan at the end. My son saw that and said, "Looks like I picked a bad week to quit drinkin'!"

Michael J. Hayde said...

"What I knew was something the Nats have never figured out---you wear out the other team's starting pitcher and then abuse their bullpen which is what the Yankees did."

Anonymous8, I'm not sure the Nats haven't figured this out, because other teams do it to them again and again and again and again and....

What the Nats need to figure out is HOW to do it. The whole concept of patience at the plate - particularly in clutch situations - seems to be alien to them.

Anonymous said...

Michael, knowingly or not you're being a caricature. I love rooting for a gutty, gritty Yankee team. But they've had so much success that I'm fully aware that a major reason they move the needle are two factors: (1) many, many people rooting against the Yankees; and (2) bandwagon fans who are only fans because the team has had success and have no real affection for the pinstripes.

John C.

Texas Rangers Tickets said...

This is it! The Texas Rangers finally got their ticket to the World Series 2010! and fans start also to get their Texas Rangers Tickets It was no walk in the park. To get to the 2010 World Series the Texas Ranges had to go through a seemingly impossible line of tough baseball teams

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