C.C. Is The Man As Yanks Win 4-1

Mr. Carsten Charles Sabathia was dominant last night, shutting down a tough Angels team on a cold, windy night.  The offense did enough off Lackey and company, hitting in the clutch and taking advantage of a couple rare Angels miscues for a 4-1 win.  This victory, though, rested squarely on the efforts of The Big Guy, who has been every bit the ace money pitcher the Yanks needed when they signed him.

From the beginning, it was clear that C.C. had it, allowing a single through the hole to Hunter but getting Vlad to line out to right to end the first.  The Yanks got two important, early runs off Lackey, playing with a lead the whole way as The Sage and I discussed Wednesday night.  Jeter of course led off with a single to right, JD blooped a single to left and took second.  Teixeira popped out, but A-Rod yet again came through, this time with a sac fly to score Jeter, 1-0 Yanks.

At this point, I must insert myself, with all due humility.  As Matsui popped up near third, I yelled “Noonan!” as I always do during pop-ups.  It is in reference to a rival’s failed attempt to distract Noonan, the caddy protagonist in the comedy classic “Caddyshack” during the caddy tournament.  It never worked until last night, when as soon as I yelled “Noonan!” one could see Aybar stop and look at Figgins, and Aybar allowed the ball to drop near his feet.  With JD running hard on the play, Matsui ended up with an RBI infield bloop single, 2-0 Yanks.

C.C. worked around a bloop single to right by Kendrick in the second that Swish lost in the lights.  He really heated up in the third, getting a 1-2-3 and catching Figgins and Abreu looking with heat.  The Yanks lost a chance to add on when Teixeira smashed a long single off the right field wall and A-Rod muscled a single up the middle, but Matsui grounded out.  The Angels scored their lone run in the fourth when Vlad doubled to left center, a ball I thought was gone.  He went to third on Rivera’s ground out, and scored on Morales’s single to left, 2-1 Yanks. The Yanks lost another chance to add on in the bottom of the fourth, when Swish took one the other way to left for a two-out single and Melky walked, part of a good game for the kid, when Jeter struck out.

C.C. got three easy ground outs for a fine 1-2-3 in the fifth.  The Yanks added on in the fifth when JD led off with a double, Teixeira struck out, and A-Rod walked before Matsui reached out and lined a double to left center, 3-1 Yanks.  But A-Rod ran through Thomson’s stop sign and was thrown out at the plate, bowling over Mathis who appeared not to tag him.  But A-Rod made up for it by appearing not to step on home.  With the throw there and so much contact in the rough collision, McClelland’s call was understandable.

C.C. held that hard line through the sixth with a tremendous defensive inning.  First he got Abreu to line out on a terrific sliding catch by JD.  Then he made a splendid play to retrieve Hunter’s nice bunt, whirling and throwing him out on a great stretch by Teixeira, prompting an argument from Scoscia that Teixeira’s right foot was off the bag.  I think it came off afterward, but there was no question in my mind watching the replay that Teixeira held his foot on the bag for the catch.  C.C. finished the eventful inning by fanning Vlad on a nasty pitch away, something that Buck astutely likened to a power screwball with its action tailing hard and away from righties.

The Yanks generated an important insurance run with two outs, starting with a great at-bat by Melky, who walked on seven pitches after Swish made Lackey throw six in a K.  It was crucial, for Lackey threw away a pick-off attempt, giving Melky second.  Jeter then singled up the middle to drive home Melky, with an assist by Hunter, whose misplay of the ball not only assured that Melky would score, but also gave Jeter second.  That ended Lackey’s night and, while he was fairly good, the Yanks did an excellent job of working the count on him.  Of vital importance to their success was their uncanny recognition of his breaking pitches, laying off many of them to get ahead in the count.

The Big Guy continued to roll, fanning Rivera on a terrific slider, walking Morales, getting a great diving stop by Cano to his left on a tough Kendrick grounder that moved Morales to second, and fanning Napoli on a great change.  The seventh inning last night was one of my favorite playoff memories in recent years, with C.C. rising to the occasion as the crowd chanted “C.C.! C.C.!”  He punctuated his K of Napoli with an enthusiastic fist pump, sending the crowd soaring.  The Yanks had a chance to blow it wide open in the bottom half, loading the bases with two outs, but Swish fanned to end it.

C.C.’s 1-2-3 in the eighth ended his night to a much-deserved standing ovation.  His line shows his brilliance–8 IP, 4 hits, 1 walk, 1 run earned, and 7 K on 113 pitches/76 strikes. Stud. That The Big Guy threw such a money start on a cold and dreary night, to start the ALCS against a big rival, makes it all the more impressive.  Nothing short of outstanding.  Mariano worked around a lead-off walk to Hunter, getting squeezed the whole time by McClelland, before fanning Vlad, getting Rivera on an F9, and setting down Morales on an F8 to end the game.

The offense was good enough as a team, not doing as much as it could have with some opportunities by going 3-12 with RISP, stranding 11.  But they were opportunistic enough to take advantage of several mistakes.  Jeter was 2-5 with an RBI and a run, JD was 2-5 with 2 runs, Teixeira was 1-5, A-Rod was 1-2 with a sac fly RBI and a walk, Matsui was 2-3 with 2 RBI and a walk, Swish was 1-4 with a walk, and Melky had a good day, going 1-2 with 2 walks and a run.  His walk in the sixth with two outs and no one on was really big, extending Lackey and, after the errant pick-off attempt, scoring to end Lackey’s night.

But C.C. really deserves the lion’s share of the praise.  He was fabulous when he had to be.  Ace.

Hopefully the weather will hold out for the Yanks to play tonight, and I like Burnett going tonight.  But getting the game in last night, and getting such clutch pitching from C.C. was huge, for it should allow him to go in games 1, 4, and 7.

Great start to the series, guys.  Keep it rolling.

Published in: on October 17, 2009 at 1:36 pm  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. It’s CC Sabathia. He’s a horse. We haven’t had a true ace in our rotation for close to a decade now, so when you see what he’s done and how he’s done it, it blows your mind. This is the same guy who we heard could not pitch in the playoffs and thus far, he’s shoved that up back up their rear ends and then some. It was chilling to hear the whole crowd chanting his name last night – you had to know that made him feel good. More than that, it made him feel appreciated. In Cleveland and in Milwaukee he was ridden into the ground because they didn’t have anyone else. We have AJ, we have Andy, we have a couple other people who can make spot starts….it’s not like all we have is Sabathia. We expect him to pitch like an ace, he does, he gets his name chanted at Yankee Stadium. What player wouldn’t want that.

    One thing about this game bothered me and it was the lack of offense. Aside from Game 1 of the ALDS, our offense has been pretty dead. Alex has been having a great postseason, but you can’t say the same for anyone else. We’ve been winning thanks in part to great pitching, but if we make it to the World Series, the Dodgers and the Phillies will both expose that offensive weakness and we can ill-afford to have that happen. I hope we explode against Saunders tonight and give AJ a nice fat lead to work with.

  2. Well said, Beth. The Big Guy has been a big difference for the Yanks, a true ace. Yeah, I too chuckle at those who scoff at him and his playoff experiences, including Joe Buck who said the day before the game that Sabathia “still has something to prove.” That after throwing a great Game 1 of the ALDS. Whatever, Captain Nepotism. The Yanks did a good job of not overworking him down the stretch, for the very reason you mentioned–his past overuse in Cleveland and Milwaukee. Overall, the Yanks really have been good and diligent about managing the workload of their pitchers.

    I share some of the concern about the bats, Beth, but also think they are due to break out. Tonight would be as good a night as any. Playing with a lead last night was just what they needed. The same tonight would give them a great opportunity to head West up 2-0.

  3. //Yeah, I too chuckle at those who scoff at him and his playoff experiences, including Joe Buck who said the day before the game that Sabathia “still has something to prove.” That after throwing a great Game 1 of the ALDS. Whatever, Captain Nepotism.//

    Joe Buck doesn’t know sh!t from shinola. May be a little harsh, but it’s true. Both him and McCarver were going on and on about how Hunter was safe in that bang-bang play at 1st, even though there’s a photo that clearly shows Teixeira had the ball with his foot on the bag before Hunter got there.

    That’s why I had the game on mute and Sterling/Waldman on my computer.

  4. I know Beth. Listening to those clowns on that play really had me riled. Teixeira made a great play and clearly was on the bag.

    Speaking of Teixeira, I expect him to break out and soon. He is due. His single last night was nice, but he is capable of more. I hope he isn’t pressing at the plate. He will get plenty of chances in this lineup. He needs to stay back and rip into some.

  5. Buck is an ass. In other years, CC was worn down by having to consistently go on 3 days rest. Does Buck or any other “genius” take that into account? Give me a break.

    As for the foot on the bag, remember Jim Spencer? One of the best at taking his foot off and cheating. White Sox and Yanks, mid to late 1970s.

  6. Lineup up. Matsui DHS, even though it’s a lefty on the mound. Molina catching AJ

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