(Courtesy of The AP)
After yesterday's rainout, the Yankees headed to Texas to meet the AL's best team. They had reason to be confident coming into the game because of the way they finished Saturday's dramatic comeback win at Fenway and because they had their ace on the mound. In their first big test of the year to find out how good they are, the Yankees passed.
- The Yankee offense is a code that Rangers' starter Derek Holland hasn't been able to crack in his previous 4 starts against New York, and that continued tonight. The Yankees jumped on him early in the 1st inning thanks to a 2-out, 2-RBI single by C-Grand (the type of hit that gets you to heaven) and never let up.
- The crushing blow was a 3-run HR off the bat of Alex Rodriguez in the top of the 5th inning to make it a 6-1 Yankee lead. He had seen a lot of pitches in his first 2 at-bats against Holland, both of them walks, and was looking fastball all the way on a 1-0 pitch. Holland's fastball command was his enemy all night and the Yankees were all over it, no more than on that A-Rod swing.
- Whereas Holland's fastball command eluded him, CC Sabathia's continued its emergence from winter hibernation. He allowed a cheap run in the 1st but was lights out through the 6th inning, the only blemish a HR by Josh Hamilton on a slider that stayed up in the 6th.
- The wheels looked like they were falling off in the 7th, when a walk and 2 straight doubles got the lead down to 7-4, but CC regrouped, got out of the inning, and then pitched a 1-2-3 8th on 3 groundball outs to get it to Mo. The big guy was efficient, aggressive, and got a lot of bad swings on his fastball and slider. The weather is starting to warm up and so is CC.
- Lot of contributors on offense tonight. Derek Jeter with 4 hits, Cano with 2 and 2 RBI, A-Rod with the 3-R HR, Curtis with 2 RBI, and THE Chris Stewart with a double and 2 runs scored.
- CC: The 4 earned runs don't tell the whole story of how good CC was last night. The 77 strikes on 109 pitches, 15 swinging strikes, 11 groundball outs, and 8 strikeouts do.
- Jeter: 4-5, 2B, 2 R, 1 RBI. I don't remember reading much about Jeter's offseason workouts, but there must have been some time travel back to the early 2000s in there somewhere.
- A-Rod: 1-2, HR, 1 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB. Just a damn good professional night of hitting for The Horse.
- Mark Teixeira: 0-4, 1 K, 4 LOB. Had chances to drive in runs and couldn't come through tonight. Not a big deal after the weekend he had.
- Andruw Jones: 0-4, 1 K, 3 LOB. Come on, 'Druw! You're supposed to be the lefty masher.
There won't be a lot of work getting done in Japan today when Hiroki Kuroda takes the hill for the Yankees to face off against Yu Darvish in game 2 of this series. To say I'm disappointed I won't be able to watch Darvish pitch is an understatement.