Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Dominator

CC Dominates ALCS Game 1

Written for Baseball Digest Online

Brian Cashman went hard after free agent CC Sabathia last winter for one reason and one reason only. Games in October. Sabathia paid out a huge dividend tonight with eight dominate innings and the Yankees took advantage of a rare sloppy performance by the Los Angeles of Anaheim to grab Game 1 of the ALCS, 4-1.

Sabathia came out firing bullets in the first inning and was still hitting 95-mph on the radar gun in his final frame. He threw 113 pitches, 76 of which were strikes, in winning his fourth career post-season game. Sabathia allowed just four hits, a walk, and struck out seven. His only difficulty came in the 4th inning with the Yankees up 2-0. Torii Hunter reached on a one out double and scored two batters later on an RBI single by Kendry Morales. But Sabathia retired Howie Kendrick on a line out to right to end the inning.

The Yankees jumped right on Angels’ starter John Lackey in the 1st inning. Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon reached on back to back singles, and Juan Rivera contributed a throwing error, to put both runners in scoring position with no one out. Lackey got a big out when Mark Teixeira popped out, but Alex Rodriguez flew to deep center for his 7th RBI of the post-season and a 1-0 Yankees’ lead.

The Yankees then got a huge break when Chone Figgins and Erick Aybar stared at Hideki Matsui’s pop up until it fell in for a gift RBI single. Figgins appeared to at first call for the ball, but neither infielder took charge and the Yankees took advantage.

Lackey appeared to be getting stronger in the middle innings, but then the Yankees mounted another threat in the 5th. Damon led off with a double and one batter later, A-Rod earned an unintentional intentional walk. Matsui ripped a clean hit to left-center to score Damon, but A-Rod ran through the stop sign at third and was out on a hard collision at home plate with catcher Jeff Mathis.

In the 6th, Melky Cabrera reached on a two out walk and moved to second on Lackey’s errant pick off throw. Jeter ripped a single back up the middle. Any chance Hunter had of throwing Cabrera out at home went out the window when the ball kicked off the heel of his glove and shot past him for an error.

Joe Girardi didn’t hesitate at all in sending Sabathia out for the 8th inning, but there was no doubt he was going to Mariano Rivera in the 9th. The Yankees closer walked Hunter to start the 9th, but retired the next three batters for his 36th career post-season save.

Game Notes

David Cone threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game after nearly not getting there on time. As Cone relayed on the YES post-game show, he appeared this afternoon on Michael Kay’s radio show at a bar across from the Stadium. Only Cone didn’t realize how late it was and nearly forgot his pre-game honor. Luckily, he made it on time and threw a slider strike to Jose Molina.

It was the Yankees first ALCS victory since Game 3 of the 2004 series, exactly 5 yeasrs to the day.

No comments:

Post a Comment