(Failboat. Courtesy of The AP)
On paper, this should have been a cake matchup for the Yankees yesterday. CC Sabathia had been pitching pretty well since coming off the DL, Jon Lester had been pitching like absolute garbage for pretty much the entire season. But as the old saying goes, that's why they play the game. There was a pretty significant rain delay that pushed back the start of this game, and there's no way to know for sure if that had any effect on CC, but he was not sharp and put his team in a pretty big hole. They managed to climb out, only to be kicked back down again in the 9th inning on one of the worst defensive plays you'll ever see.
- Sabathia struck out Jacoby Ellsbury to start the game, then gave up a bunch of well-struck hits that led to 3 Fraud Sawx runs in the top of the 1st. The big hits were doubles by Adrian Gonzalez and Will Middlebrooks on 4-seamers that were up and over the plate.
- Lester looked good through his first 2 innings of work, but made a mistake in the 3rd, to Chris Stewart of all people, and Stewart hit his first home run of the season to make it 3-1 Bahhston.
- CC settled down and worked through the 4th inning without issue, but with 2 outs in the 5th his command started to elude him again. He gave up a single to Pedro Ciriaco, walked Dustin Pedroia, and grooved a first-pitch slider that Gonzalez crushed for a 3-run homer and a 6-1 lead.
- The lineup quickly worked to pick CC up in the bottom half of the 5th. Andruw Jones led off with a walk and came around to score on Jayson Nix's 2-run home run. After another walk and an Ichiro single, Derek Jeter scraped another run across on a groundout and it was 6-4.
- Joe got one more inning out of CC then went to David Phelps in the 7th. As he has done since being recalled, Phelps was fantastic in his 2 innings of work, striking out the side in the top of the 8th to keep the Yanks within striking distance.
- And strike they did in the bottom of the 8th, in one of the most badass ways imaginable. Vicent Padilla was on to pitch, and after giving up a leadoff single to pinch hitter Raul Ibanez, he got to face his mortal enemy Mark Teixeira with 2 outs.
- After throwing an eephus pitch for a strike, Padilla tried to come back with a fastball 2-1 and Teix was waiting for it. He launched it deep into right field for a game-tying 2-run homer and did his best Barry Bonds impression walking almost a third of the way down the first base line to watch it before starting his trip around the bases.
- The Stadium was rocking after the Teix bomb, but were quickly quieted in the 9th. Rafael Soriano came on and walked Ellsbury with 1 out. Ciriaco was up next and hit a line drive to center that Curtis Granderson couldn't have made a worse play on. He came in first, then got turned around trying to recover, and fell on his ass reaching for the ball as it landed over his head for a triple. It was a truly horrible play by C-Grand and after Ciriaco came home on a sac fly to make it 8-6, the Yankees' goose was cooked.
- Teixeira: 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI, 2 K. The only Teix HR that comes to mind that was more badass than the one he hit last night was the solo shot against Minnesota in the '09 ALDS. That shot last night was about as clutch as clutch can get, and based on their personal history, Teix was well within his rights to pimp it right in Padilla's face.
- Nix: 1-2, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 K. Nix got the comeback started with his 2-run homer in the 5th. Once again, he made something happen in a game where he got the start.
- Sabathia: 6 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. This was CC's worst start since coming back, and the formula isn't to hard to figure out. His fastball command wasn't there, a recurring issue for him all season, and he couldn't finish off hitters or innings. 5 of the 6 runs he gave up were with 2 outs.
- C-Grand: 0-4, 3 K, 2 LOB. The near golden sombrero at the plate was just the start of Curtis' bad night. That misplay in center in the 9th, on a ball that very easily could have and should have been caught if he reads it right, was one of the worst defensive plays I've ever seen in center field. He won't get charged an error, and Soriano still gets charged with the loss, but that was all on Curtis, and him continuing to misplay balls like that in center is what's going to help the Yankee brass make the decision to let him walk when his contract is up. Simply unacceptable.
The rubber match of this series is tonight, in primetime, and AB4AR will be covering in full effect with another live blog. Hiroki Kuroda starts for New York and faces the struggling Felix Doubront.