(The horror. The HORROR! Courtesy of The AP)
- The Yankees came out swinging against Verlander in the 1st and it paid off with a couple of quick runs. It also forced Verlander to abandon his usual early-inning routine of throwing nice and easy and dial up the fastball to the high-90s/100, which seemed like a positive omen for the Yanks.
- Great baserunning play by C-Grand on the 2nd run, running on contact and forcing another iffy play by Detroit defense where they had to take the sure out instead of trying to prevent a run.
- He might not win the Gold Glove this year because of his sloppy errors, but that was an all-world turn by Robbie Cano on the DP ball in the top of the 1st. Literally all arm on the play. I would probably tear my rotator cuff trying to do that.
- The swing-early approach worked for the Yanks in the top of the 1st, but when Verlander changed his approach up and started going to the offspeed stuff, and missing, in the 2nd, they should have adapted as well. Instead Swish swung at a borderline 2-0 pitch and popped out to left, and Martin grounded into a DP first-pitch swinging to get Verlander out of the inning quickly. Oofda.
- It was clear from the start that CC's fastball command was not there last night. He couldn't locate it down in the zone, and when he missed up, he missed WAY
up. And he couldn't get the changeup to consistently start in and fall out of the zone. 5 BB in a game for CC is practically unheard of, let alone 5 walks to the first 10 batters he faced through 2+ innings.
- It also didn't help his cause that homeplate ump Gerry Davis was not giving him ANYTHING
on the outside corner. CC could hit his spots there, or at least come close, but Davis was having none of it, and that certainly contributed to CC's walks and high pitch count in the early innings.
- Between the 2 teams there were 5 double plays turned in the first 3 innings. That was really the only thing saving CC too, so it was a good thing he was facing a swing-happy lineup.
- Give some credit to the Tiger lineup as well for making CC work. They did exactly what the Yankees usually do to Verlander: worked the count, fouled a lot of pitches off, didn't chase stuff in the dirt. They could sense that CC didn't have that sharp stuff that he had early in Game 1 and approached their at-bats accordingly. Kudos.
- Moving through the 3rd-4th innings, it was clear that CC wasn't finding his groove and even more clear that Verlander was. He was locating his change and curve well and starting to mix them up with the fastball. The short turnaround clearly did not affect Verlander as much as it did CC, despite the prevailing thought being the opposite going into the game. They each had their stuff, but Verlander was able to find his command and pitch where he wanted to after a couple innings while CC never could.
- Verlander in the 5th inning was a thing of beauty. He threw 10 pitches, 9 of them strikes, and made Posada, Martin, and Gardner look downright foolish as they got their knees bent and bodies frozen by the curve and then flailed helplessly at the fastball. Just a clinic on how to mix pitches in that inning.
- Yet another bad pitching decision by Joe to bring CC back out to start the 6th. I don't care that it was L, R, L that inning, CC was done after a long 5th. When he's giving up doubles into the gap to Ramon Santiago and throwing wild pitches, that's a sign that the wheels have come off and Joe should have let the 5th inning be the end. Instead, he once again failed to go to his stacked bullpen and it cost the Yanks another run. At some point, somebody needs to tell Joe that this IS
the ALDS and not some mid-July series.
- Teix moving out of the way of that Verlander curve inside in the top of the 7th was the pussiest thing I've seen since that all-girl porn parody of "X-Men: First Class." Take one for the team, guy! Especially when you aren't doing a goddamn thing with the bat to help.
- Go figure that Jorge Posada is the only Yankee hitter who has looked good at the plate throughout this series. This is the same guy who people were talking about releasing in the summer and who I wanted taken out to Monument Park and shot.
"It's like RAAAA-yeeeeee-AAAAAAIN. On your wedding day... "
- Just a great at-bat by Gardner in the 7th on the game-tying double. He saw Verlander start to lose it a bit in the Posada/Martin at-bats, and took until he got in a favorable count. 3-1 he was looking fastball all the way and he put a great swing on it. If he could hit situationally like that on a regular basis, he'd be in the All Star Game every year.
- The Jorge at-bat prior to that was just as good. He didn't start hacking when he fell behind in the count, and he was reading every pitch perfectly out of Verlander's hand. I would have bet my next 2 months' salary that Jorge would have looked lost last night against Verlander, but he was right on point.
"It's a freeeee riiyiide. When you're already late."
- He said he thought he threw a good pitch, but I'm here to educate Rafael Soriano. Throwing a first-pitch fastball over the outside half of the plate to Delmon Young, a first-pitch hitter AAAAAAND
a fastball hitter who has shown opposite field power, is never a good pitch.
- Props to Smoltz for the "Dumb and Dumber" reference in the 8th inning. I have to admit, I don't hate the team of Anderson, Smoltz, and Darling calling the game. And Tom Verducci is very useful as the in-game reporter. Ken Rosenthal should take notes.
- Admittedly this is me being sour grapes, but Verlander DID get more calls on the corner than CC last night. Some of the outside strikes and high strikes he got in the 6th-8th were the same pitches CC was throwing for balls in the 1st-3rd. In related news, Gerry Davis is a cocksucker.
- Did anybody else have absolutely 0 confidence that Teix was going to come through after A-Rod walked in the 8th? I know I did. I almost clicked the TV over to the end of WWE Raw I was so sure he was going to get out. And he didn't disappoint. Question, would the fans at The Stadium have booed Teix after that pop-up?
- The injuries have made him a shell of himself at the plate, but A-Rod has played a fantastic 3rd base in this series, especially last night. Maybe the knee isn't bothering him as much because he looks smooth in the field, and at least he's contributing some way.
- Top 9th, Swish has another 2-0 count, and he fucking pops up to 3rd on a pitch right down the middle from Valverde. The last beer bottle almost went through the TV screen on that one.
- If you're keeping score at home, Jeter has now left 784 men on base in the last 2 games.
- Even though CC barely had his C-game last night, the Yankees still had plenty of chances to win and didn't get it done. Verlander made a few more pitches when he had to, and the Tiger offense got a few more timely hits, and that was the difference. Now it's do-or-die time tonight and the Yankees rest their hopes on the arm of the man who inspires the least amount of hope in recent Yankee history. I might have to start drinking at work this afternoon to prepare myself for tonight.