Results tagged ‘ CC Sabathia ’

Game 1 ALCS: Live blog

jeter_275_101609.jpgBy Jon Lane
Not
raining (yet), but it’s windy and cold; I feel like I’m Canada. But the
bunting is draped, and a couple of Yankees are playing catch on the
infield. One of them is Alex Rodriguez, who is now taking fungo
grounders at third base.

Joe Girardi just met the media and A.J.
Burnett is chatting about the Angels and his Game 2 start. I’ll have
briefs from Girardi and Burnett, as well as Angels manager Mike
Scioscia and Saturday’s Halos starter, Joe Saunders, before first pitch.

There’s
already a buzz and the gates are opening in mere minutes. Memo to rain:
You’re not invited. Go away and stay away until Sunday.

No surprises in the Yankees’ lineup.
Johnny Damon is in left field with Melky Cabrera in center. Damon comes
off a 1-for-12 performance in the Division Series. You wonder if he
can’t get it going, or especially the Yankees are on the losing end
tonight, whether Girardi will replace Damon for Brett Gardner in Game 2.

Stick
around for much more from yours truly, and our multimedia team of Chris
Shearn and Joe Auriemma. I have a hunch there will be baseball tonight,
the first of many wars of attrition between these two clubs that both
can make the “team of destiny” claim.

5:20 p.m. Joe and
Chris are on the field working pregame. Chris did an interview with
Brett Gardner for a Stadium Spotlight that will be posted later.
Gardner, like everyone, was asked about this December weather. In
essence he said this is New York weather and this is what you have to
deal with at this time of year if you want to still be playing baseball.

Tony
Pena had to attend to business, but spent a few minutes talking off
camera. He lamented that it was 97 degrees today in his native
Dominican Republic, but added “When you play this time of year, you
have to play in this.”

Before I headed back inside I felt the
slightest of raindrops. No steady showers yet. Here’s hoping the rain
received my you’re-not-invited memo.

From there I stopped by the
Hard Rock Cafe. Three hours before first pitch and you could barely get
around the circle bar. Yankees fan Greg Parker was seated in a
tableless chair in the back of the restaurant. I asked him who do have
winning and why. “Yankees in 6 – because this is New York and they’ve
won 26 World Championships.” Sometimes “expert” analysis isn’t
necessary. The simplest explanations are the best.

5:42 p.m. Highlights from A.J. Burnett’s and Joe Girardi’s pregame breifing with the media:

Burnett
On fitting in this season whereas past newcomers have struggled to get acclimated early:
“The
pies aside, I’m a pretty quiet individual during the game and stuff,
aoft spoken guy. I don’t know, it just didn’t matter really who I met
or who I ran into. I just joked with them from the get go and getting
on them from the get go. It’s not hard to blend in with guys like this.
It’s a good group. The main thing is you can be yourself there in that
clubhouse. I think that’s what a lot of people have learned this year
is that they can be themselves.”

On having more of a comfort level pitching in the postseason after his debut last Friday:
“I
know a little what to expect, crowd-wise and everything. It’s still
going to be a crazy and exciting and emotional game. By all means I
know how important my start is. I have the least amount of postseason
experience, but I’m looking forward to it. We’re going to hopefully get
this win in tonight and follow CC. He’s going to come out with a bang.”

Girardi
On why Nick Swisher [5-for-43 lifetime against John Lackey and 1-for-12 in the ALDS] is in the lineup:
“We
watched his at bats. Sometimes when you give a guy a day off, you look
to give him a day off against a guy that maybe he struggled against a
little bit. But we watched his at bats the last couple of years, and
he’s hit some balls really hard. He does see pitches on John Lackey,
which is extremely important. And that’s why he’s in there.”

On whether it’d be better if the regular season is shortened and if off days added into the postseason are unnecessary:
“It’s
interesting. Every year that I had a chance to play in the playoffs
here, the weather was great. So I don’t remember having a day like
this. I mean, this is what baseball is. It’s a 162-game schedule. It’s
a grind, you know, if you shorten it by six games, the way it used to
be, well then you fall into this is the World Series week, and the
weather is not so good right now. It wasn’t great in Colorado. You
know, I don’t know what you do. You pray that Mother Nature blesses you
this time of the year and sometimes it doesn’t.”

5:48 p.m. Latest from Weather.com – 10 percent chance of rain by 8 p.m. and 20 percent by 9. This is down from 60 percent this morning.

stadium_350_101609.jpg7:13 p.m. Some tidbits gathered while killing time:

The elevator to the press box has been down for the last couple of hours. The long and frequent hikes make for good exercise.

Thinking
about stopping by the Hard Rock? Prepare to wait. There are lines to
get in and for a table, at least a couple of hours from what I was told.

Pedro Martinez allowed two hits over seven shutout innings
during Game 2 in Los Angeles, but was stuck with a no-decision. Many
here watching, including yours truly and Yahoo! Sports’ Gordon Edes,
who covered Pedro in Boston for years, believe he’s the best pitcher of
this generation. The Dodgers took a 2-1 lead on Andre Ethier’s
bases-loaded walk in the eighth and Jonathan Broxton closed the deal to
even the NLCS at 1-1.

7:49 p.m. The national anthem was just played and I see sprinkles. So much for a future as an amateur weatherman.

Meanwhile,
props to readers checking in from Hawaii and Regina, Saskatchewan.
(Yes, I know of the area. Years ago in Las Vegas I played blackjack
with two guys from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Once I brought up Bret
“Hitman” Hart winning his first WWF Heavyweight Championship there I
was in.)

Nice ovation for former Yankee and current YES analyst
David Cone, who threw out tonight’s first pitch. It was low, but
whatever.

Right now blaring over the Stadium sound system: AC/DC’s “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You).

7:55 p.m. Facts & figures with a creative twist from Chris Shearn.

7:58 p.m. First pitch 7:58 (strike). Game time temperature is 45 degrees.

8:06 p.m.

Sabathia gets through the first allowing only a two-out single to Torii
Hunter, though he got a break from plate umpire and crew chief Tim
McClelland, who punched out Bobby Abreu on a backdoor curveball that
from the view of many here was way inside.

8:16 p.m.
Johnny Damon, 1-for-12 in the DS, singles to left field and advances to
second on the throw. Derek Jeter at third with Alex Rodriguez at the
plate after Mark Teixeira flied out to shallow left swinging at a 3-0
pitch. Lackey’s in trouble early, you can afford to be selective and
wait for something to drive.

8:21 p.m. These Yankees have been good and darn lucky. Hideki
Matsui popped up between short and third, except Erick Aybar and Chone Figgins, who called for it, looked at each other and said, “Do you want it?” Instead of an
inning-ending out, the ball dropped in front of Aybar and Damon scored
the Yankees’ second run. Good line from a writer seated to my right: “When did the Angels become the Twins?”

A-Rod’s sacrifice fly gives him seven postseason RBIs, one shy of his career-high eight set in 2004.

8:57 p.m.
The Amazing A-Rod now batting .462 in the postseason, but it was up to Matsui to make it count. Alas, a ground out to first ends the third. Matsui’s average has dipped to .182 (2-for-11).

9:24 p.m. 2-1 Yankees entering the fifth after Lackey whiffs Jeter with two on and two out. Both Lackey – incidentally wearing short sleeves – and Sabathia are showing why they’re not only good, but tough.

9:35 p.m. Damon is 2-for-3 tonight with a double. Now the Yankees have to cash in.

arod_200_101609.jpg9:45 p.m. Cha-ching! Matsui breaks his drought with an RBI double, but A-Rod is thrown out at home as he got aggressive upon seeing Juan Rivera lose his footing in left. Nice job by Jeff Mathis to survive the collision, but a 3-1 lead is pretty good the way Sabathia is working.

Lackey has thrown 96 pitches.

9:54 p.m. Nice sliding grab by Damon to rob Abreu of a leadoff single. The next pitch Hunter tried bunting his way on but Teixeira stretched to snare Sabathia’s throw at first base. Scioscia is arguing passionately with Laz Diaz, claiming Texieira’s toe came off the bag when the ball met his glove. Even if there was instant replay in baseball, that would be one of those inconclusive plays wouldn’t be overturned.

Sabathia, who has taken over this game, fans Guerrero to end the top of the sixth. He’s retired seven in a row and has thrown 80 pitches.

Metro NY’s Larry Fleischer with a good observation: For the first time in a long time, the Yankees are winning a playoff game with pitching and defense.

10:05 p.m. The Los Angeles Twins of Anaheim give away another run. After Cabrera moved to second on Lackey’s throwing error, Jeter singled him home and advanced to second on Hunter’s error. Lackey’s night is done. He battled, but I’m very surprised on what I’m seeing from what’s normally one of the most fundamentally sound teams in baseball.

From Larry the stat guru: Tonight is the first time the Angels were charged with three errors in a postseason game since Game 2 of the 2005 ALCS, also the only time this has happened in the Scioscia Era.

10:16 p.m. Robinson Cano, ski mask and all, robs Howie Kendrick of a hit that would have put Angels on first and third with one out. Pitching + defense = playoff victories.

sabathia_200_101609.jpg10:21 p.m. Sabathia has worked seven, breaking his postseason high set just last Wednesday (6 2/3 IP). His seven strikeouts are one short of his high also set last Wednesday.

10:45 p.m. Sabathia (98 pitches) out to start the eighth and nobody warming in the bullpen. Could he go the distance? *Alas, soon as I hit save Phil Hughes started throwing.

10:54 p.m. Sabathia works a clean eighth and at 113 pitches it looks like Girardi will go to Mo in the ninth. Tremendous performance by the big lefty; 49,688 people were chanting “CC! CC!” And this comment from Girardi before the game was appropriate:

“CC is one of those guys that’s relaxed on the day he pitches. And I admire that.”

11:08 p.m. Exit Sabathia. Enter Sandman. A perfect blueprint.And FYI, Brett Gardner in center and Cabrera moves to left. Assuming Rivera is Rivera, I’ll check back with you after working the clubhouse.

The morning report: In the event of rain …

By Jon Lane
These Yankees have proven to be a victorious concoction. The psychology of winning has been contagious not only to the team’s young, homegrown prospects, but veterans who have yet to experience the postseason.

Everyone has risen to the occasion, especially Alex Rodriguez, which has Chris Shearn and Joe Auriemma feeling good about the Yankees’ chances in the ALCS. You can listen to their breakdown in an all-new Off the Wall Podcast. Known in the YES circle as “The Godfather of YESNetwork.com,” Joe offers more takes on the latest Pinstriped Podcast.

Joe Girardi is taking a chance starting CC Sabathia on three days’ rest in Game 4, but it’s the best option, writes Steven Goldman. Of course, Mother Nature rules all, even Goldman, Girardi, Sabathia, the Steinbrenners, mystique and aura. The forecast beginning today through the weekend stinks; heck today it’s 20 degrees below normal for this time of year.

If there’s a rainout Friday or Saturday, Chad Gaudin will likely get the call for Game 4. As far as logistics and scheduling, well ….

The teams lose the off day on Wednesday and would play straight through Thursday before a break on Friday if the series reaches six games. However, there’s a scheduled off day on Sunday for a couple of reasons. First, the Dodgers and Phillies play Game 3 of the NLCS Sunday night. The Yankees and Angels could play Sunday afternoon, but FOX is covering this series and there’s a conflict with the NFL. A game Sunday night would compete with Dodgers-Phillies and, worse, force the teams to take a red eye to California and play a 1 p.m. (PST) game the next day.

Another thought: Move the games up a day. Play Game 1 on Saturday (again, rain rules all) and Game 2 in New York Monday afternoon, and then fly west for Game 3 which would be bumped to Tuesday night at 5 p.m. California time. Games 4 and 5 (if necessary) are played Wednesday and Thursday, and you’re back on track. Of course, television will have a say in that.

Here’s a take from Mark Feinsand: Push Game 3 to Tuesday and make Monday an off day. Games 3-4-5 then eliminates Wednesday’s off day. Furthermore, Feinsand writes that if Game 1 is postponed, those tickets would be used for Saturday and the Game 2 tickets would be good for Game 2, whenever it is.

Moral of the story: I hate rain.

Workout day Wednesday

alcs_300_101409.jpgBy Jon Lane
A picturesque day here at Yankee Stadium for the first of two workouts as the Yankees prepare for Game 1 of the American League Championship Series Friday night against the Angels. Of course, as timing has it, rain is in the forecast for Friday and Saturday night, the scheduled dates for Games 1 and 2, which means the best-laid plans of Joe Girardi and his crew will be altered if there’s a rainout.

Judging from yesterday’s comments, Girardi is seriously considering going with a three-man rotation in the LCS, which lines up CC Sabathia to start Games 1 and 4 and if needed Game 7. But if there’s a rainout the teams lose an off day, and Girardi will have to decide on starting Chad Gaudin in Game 4 in Southern California or pulling Joba Chamberlain out of the bullpen.

Chamberlain and Gaudin provided their takes on the potential situation, and how each are staying prepared. Chamberlain said “As of 12:42 on Wednesday, that’s where I’m at. We’ll just approach it from there.”

Gaudin added, “The only thing I know right now is be ready Friday. That’s what I’m going to do. I’ll get ready to pitch on Friday. When they tell me otherwise, I’ll be ready to go. I can’t control it, can’t change it. I have to keep it simple as I can.

“I don’t in go pitching as a starter or reliever, I go in pitching trying to get outs each time. If it happens to be seven innings, it’s seven innings. If it’s two innings, it’s two innings.”

Jose Molina and Mark Teixeira shared their experiences from playing with an Angels team that’s been an annual contender since Molina was there in 2002 and become a World Champion. I’ll have more on this in my ALCS preview to run on Thursday.

Johnny Damon also reported on day after taking optional batting practice. Damon went 1-for-12 in the Division Series, including no hits in his last 10 at-bats with four strikeouts in Sunday’s clincher. Girardi said yesterday that Damon remains his everyday left-fielder and Damon knows it’ll be time to turn it around.

“I just wanted to get some work in,” Damon said. “There are so many days off during this time of year it’s better me coming in instead of sitting around the house.”

“It’s very easy to put it behind you when you win three games to nothing. The fact that we won the series and a few of us really didn’t contribute too much. For us to continue to be successful, we need to continue to pitch like we did, but also we need to get my bat going as well as a couple of other guys.”

Damon is well aware that one or two good swings can get him back on the beam. His postseason average bottomed out at .056 in 2004 before he went 5-for-11 with three runs scored, six RBIs and two home runs (the last a grand slam off Javier Vazquez) in Games 6 & 7 as the Red Sox completed a comeback from down 0-3. In the World Series Damon went 6-for-21 (.286) to help Boston to its first World Championship in 86 years.

“That’s why I’m not going to beat myself up over what happened in Game 3,” Damon said. “I felt like I had a chance every time I stepped up to the plate. Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way, but my teammates picked me up and they helped us get a big win and helped us get to this part.”

Back with much more later.

_______________________

3:33 p.m. As expected, no decisions regarding the ALCS roster or even a Game 1 lineup. Girardi and his staff met this morning to discuss various scenarios, including matchups and the bad weather in the forecast beginning Thursday afternoon. For that reason, the Yankees moved up their workout to Thursday morning.

“We still have a couple of days,” Girardi said. “We still have some things we want to look at. We still have a good 48 hours before it’s game time.”

The Angels worked out today in Anaheim, are flying to New York tonight and will also work out tomorrow at Yankee Stadium. John Lackey is expected to oppose CC Sabathia in Game 1.

_______________________

Girardi isn’t concerned about the slumping Damon, among the hitters who showed up at the Stadium on Tuesday for extra batting practice.

“He had great at-bats yesterday,” Girardi said. “I know it’s not a real-game situation, but it’s as close as you’re can get without playing games. All hitters have gone through times they haven’t gotten hits. There was a thing about was Derek Jeter pressing when he was around Lou Gehrig’s record. I feel really good about Johnny this time of year because Johnny has played this time of year and has played at a very high level.”

“It might be just what they needed,” Girardi added on the extra days of rest earned by the Yankees’ sweep of the Twins. “The four days off might help them, and then if they don’t swing the bat well then someone says the rest didn’t. You really don’t know until you get into it.”

Like Damon, Nick Swisher had trouble against Twins pitching, batting 1-for-12 with four strikeouts in the Division Series.

“I thought for me two days off was too much,” Swisher said. “Right now the body doesn’t really need to rest that much because every time you take the field in front of this crowd in the postseason, it takes everything away.”

_______________________

That’s it for blogging today. Tonight I’ll have a feature on how the Yankees’ homegrown youngsters and a veteran like Jerry Hairston Jr. have adopted to the organization’s philosophy of winning, and how it’s taken their games to new levels.

CC could go three in ALCS

By Jon Lane
Joe Girardi gave indications during a conference call with beat writers that the Yankees may go with a three-man rotation during the ALCS. That would mean CC Sabathia would start Game 4 on three days’ rest. Not only did Girardi point out a lighter Sabathia workload compared to last season with the Brewers, and the eight days he has between Friday and Game 1 of the ALDS, off days will have Sabathia available on regular rest if the series extends to a seventh game.

“Not getting him to 250 innings during the regular season allows us to consider that,” Girardi said. “We’ve told him, though, to concentrate on Game 1. That’s the most important game, and we’ll go from there.”

Furthermore, Joba Chamberlain and Chad Gaudin would remain in the bullpen. We’ll know more over the next day or two – the Yankees will work out at Yankee Stadium tomorrow and Thursday – but it sounded like Girardi wants to again carry three catchers, which means the lone roster change could be Brian Bruney or Freddy Guzman for Damaso Marte.

Our friends at River Ave Blues are previewing Angels-Yankees piece by piece. After comparing the managers, they break down the pitching matchups for Games 1-3.

ALCS roster projections

By Jon Lane
Eventually I’ll be fully migrated into the new My YES structure. Click here to sign up and participate

My projected Yankees ALCS roster. The only change I’d make is Brian Bruney for Damaso Marte. Having Francisco Cervelli as a third catcher worked out better than anyone imaged in Game 2, so he stays. Chad Gaudin sticks around too. He’ll either start Game 4 or remain the long man if CC Sabathia gets the call, the only game he’d have to start on short rest.

Position players (14)
Derek Jeter
Johnny Damon
Mark Teixeira
Alex Rodriguez
Jorge Posada
Hideki Matsui
Robinson Cano
Nick Swisher
Melky Cabrera
Brett Gardner
Jerry Hairston Jr.
Jose Molina
Eric Hinske
Francisco Cervelli

Pitchers (11)
CC Sabathia
A.J. Burnett
Andy Pettitte
Mariano Rivera
Phil Hughes
David Robertson
Brian Bruney
Phil Coke
Alfredo Aceves
Joba Chamberlain
Chad Gaudin

Yesterday and today

By Jon Lane
Currently playing on Sirius 7: The Spinners’ “Games People Play”

It’s the morning after the Yankees’ 7-2 Game 1 win, a game the Yankees played with their usual never-say-die fervor. Alex Rodriguez was provided with his first chance at October redemption and Wednesday night he delivered. And all involved are confident this won’t be a one-hit (or in A-Rod’s case two-hit) wonder.

“Everybody makes a big deal [out of him], but Alex is a great teammate and it shows on the field,” said Joba Chamberlain. “He plays with everything’s got and always goes about his business.

Derek Jeter, Joe Girardi and CC Sabathia met the media in a formal press conference setting. While Sabathia did what’s expected of an ace, he too entered Game 1 with a shady postseason track record and his 6 2/3 innings of two-run (one earned), eight-strikeout performance was what the Yankees envisioned when they signed him. In short, Sabathia did exactly what he was supposed to do, writes Steven Goldman.

In A-Rod’s case, it’s taken a lot longer for he of greater stature to cash in when it truly matters. Many have been quick to dismiss and even boo Rodriguez upon every failure, but not this season, and that’s been refreshing.

“We don’t listen to it, so if somebody said that I don’t think too many people were talking about it in the clubhouse or reading it,” Jeter said. “He seemed like he looked pretty comfortable all yer. When he came back he seemed like he got better and better as the season went on, but I think a lot of times people read a little too much into final statistics.”

Chris Shearn was on location last night and hard at work, providing a pregame video blog and a Game 1 wrap. The Yankees work out today at 1 p.m. with Girardi and Game 2 starter A.J. Burnett speaking at roughly 2:15. I’m not there today, but YESNetwork.com will keep you plugged in leading up to my return trip to the Bronx Friday night.

Now playing on Sirius 23: L.A. Guns’ “Electric Gypsy.” Some serious cheese.

Game 1 wrap: Jeter and CC deliver

By Jon Lane
Derek Jeter’s two-run blast to left tied the game at two in the third inning. The homer was Jeter’s 18th in the postseason (10th in the DS), tying Reggie Jackson and Mickey Mantle for third on the Yankees’ all-time list.

Jeter is baseball’s record holder in postseason hits (155), singles (129), at-bats (497) and runs scored (88) along with a .312 career average with 18 homers and 51 RBIs. If you ask him what brings out his best during the postseason, he’ll provide his best Jeff Spicoli impersonation: “I don’t know.”

“I don’t know what else to say,” Jeter said. “I failed a lot as well, you know. Sometimes you’re going to fail. What you try to do is when you’re in those situations you think of the times you had success. I don’t think you can be afraid to fail, but you just try to have fun. That’s all I try to do is have fun because we’re playing a game.”

Nick Swisher has been on the receiving end of many Jeter clutch hits. It’s safe to say he’s enjoying the view from the other side.

“It’s pretty impressive,” Swisher said. It’s almost like he takes it just like any other game, but it seems like once those lights hit in the postseason, it’s ‘Jeter Time.’ There’s just something about him. Every accolade he’s got throughout his career is very well deserving. Finally being on the good guys’ side of it, it’s nice to have him on your team.

“For him to hit that home run to tie the game was huge. That was a big boost for us and we all followed in on that.”

CC Sabathia, without his best stuff, held the fort while pacifying a few cynics who cried over his shady October past. For a $161 million price tag, Sabathia won 19 games his first season in New York but entered 2-3 with a 7.92 ERA in five career postseason starts and a 10.93 ERA in losing his last three. He was touched for two runs on four hits in the third, but then retired 11 of his next 12 batters. His 113th and final pitch induced Denard Span to fly out to right for the second out of the seventh before he left to a thunderous ovation, a decibel level that jumped up a few octaves with a tip of the cap. The big lefty’s outing wasn’t pretty – two runs (one earned) on eight hits with a hit batsman, wild pitch and eight strikeouts – but during this time of year you’re never judged by style points.

“I was able to hold them down,” Sabathia said. “It got a little sketchy there I guess in the third, but I was able to come back and put up zeros like I have all year. And these guys have been scoring runs all year. That’s what I talked about [Tuesday], not try to do too much and let these guys take over the game.”

Twins vs. Yankees: Game 1

jeterreggie_300_10070.jpgBy Jon Lane
A
ton of money – $423 million to be exact – were spent on people after
the Yankees’ 13-year postseason streak ended last season. The result
was 103 wins, first place in the AL East and home field advantage
throughout the playoffs.

Now begins the quest for the real
payoff: World Championship No. 27. It’s quiet here at Yankee Stadium
right now. The Twins are taking BP and the stands are empty given the 6
p.m. start and the majority of fans about to file out of work. But
Derek Jeter and Reggie Jackson are in the house, Mother Nature spared
us precipitation (but not wind) and this place will rock moments before
CC Sabathia throws the first pitch.

Sabathia is earning $161
million of the $423 million. He delivered, winning 19 games and
emerging as a top AL Cy Young Award contender. Starting tonight,
however, it’s his job to start becoming a champion, to carry the
Yankees on his broad back en route to a championship, to halt a 4-13
postseason skid under Joe Torre from 2004-2007. Casting a large shadow
is Sabathia’s postseason track record, 2-3 with a 7.92 ERA in five
career starts, the last five runs allowed in 3 2/3 innings in Game 2 of
last year’s Division Series.

“I think maybe just trying to go
out and do too much,” Sabathia said on Tuesdsay. “Trying to go out and
throw shutouts and throw no-hitters and things like that instead of
going out and doing the same things I’ve done during the regular season
which is throwing strikes early in the count.”

Tonight marks a
new beginning not only for Sabathia, but for Alex Rodriguez (you know
his recent postseason past). Keep it here to see what develops.

5:45 p.m.
P.A. announcer Paul Olden is introducing the Twins’ non-starters. Carl
Pavano was greeted to loud boos – and this place is about half full.

6:05 p.m.
Mere minutes from first pitch. CC Sabathia got a nice applause. Also
with the team and in uniform, injured players Chien-Ming Wang and
Xavier Nady.

6:11 p.m. Not a good beginning as Denard
Span laces a leadoff double to left-center. The Twins may be tired, but
that adrenaline can do wonders, especially with the way this team has
played for the past month.

6:18 p.m. Sabathia throws 22
pitches, but keeps the Twins off the board by retiring their No. 3 and
4 hitters and stranding Span at third. Biggest pitch of the inning: a
1-2 punchout of Joe Mauer, a .365 hitter, after Span advanced to third
on a passed ball.

6:31 p.m. Alex Rodriguez’s first at-bat
came with a runner on second and two out. He filed out to right and is
eight for his last 57 postseason at-bats (.140) since 2004.

7:06 p.m.
2-0 Twins on Michael Cuddyer’s two-out RBI single, which preceded an
Orlando Cabrera single and Mauer double, with Mauer scoring on Jose
Posada’s second passed ball. Sabathia has allowed six hits, his pitch
count is at 64 and he’s been was up in the zone. It’s still early but
worry is already setting in, as are the voices of CC’s postseason past.

Brian Duensing, meanwhile, has been razor sharp, holding the Yankees hitless since Derek Jeter’s leadoff single.

7:15 p.m.
Leave it to the captain to set the ship back on course. Jeter’s two-run
blast to left ties the game at two. The homer was Jeter’s 18th in the
postseason (10th in the DS), tying Reggie Jackson and Mickey Mantle for
third on the Yankees’ all-time list. If I were in the old Stadium, I’d
feel the building shake.

7:22 p.m. A-Rod’s second at-bat: Swinging strikeout. Now on an 8-for-58 (.138) skid.

7:30 p.m. Some nuggets from Tyler Kepner, the outstanding beat writer for the New York Times:
Posada is the first catcher in 10 years with two passed balls in a
division series game. (Varitek in 1999); A-Rod has stranded 40
consecutive runners in the postseason.

7:32 p.m. From the
Nobody Talks About It Because He’s Not A-Rod Department: Hideki Matsui
has six hits in his last 29 postseason at-bats (.207) since 2006.

7:44 p.m.
Swishalicious! Nick Swisher’s two-out double scores a hustling Robinson
Cano from first to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead. That’s Swish’s second
postseason RBI and third double in this his 11th game.

katehudson_250_100709.jpg8:06 p.m.
Breakthrough! A-Rod delivers with an RBI single that scores Jeter and
knocks Duensing out of the game. 8-for-58 slide over. Forty consecutive
stranded runners in the past. Feel the power of Kate Hudson!

8:11 p.m. That
Matsui stat is also in the past. Godzilla crushes one to Monument Park
off Francisco Liriano to make it 6-2 Yankees. It’s a shame about
Liriano. He was one of baseball’s rising young stars before Tommy John
surgery.

8:16 p.m. Duensing’s line: 4 2/3 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 1 WP, 79 pitches/59 strikes.

8:19 p.m.
Since Sabathia allowed two runs on four hits in the third, he’s retired
10 out of his next 11 batters. He’s at 95 pitches and will probably go
another inning. This is what aces do. Even when not at their best, they
find a way to get the job done.

8:47 p.m. Sabathia
departs to a thunderous ovation after retiring Denard Span on a fly
ball to right and throwing 113 pitches in 6 2/3 innings. Phil Huuughes finishes the frame with a strikeout of the pesky Orlando Cabrera following a 10-pitch at-bat.

9:06 p.m. A-Rod tonight: Two hits, 2 RBIs. To quote my colleague
Chris Shearn, “He stinks.” For one night, seriously, A-Rod has the
majority of haterizers off his back.

9:21 p.m. Enter Joba Chamberlain to a rousing ovation with runners on the corners, two out in the top of the eighth and a 7-2 lead. He needed two pitches to retire Delmon Young and end the inning. I’m not going there.

ALDS rotation set

By Jon Lane
Joe Girardi announced his ALDS rotation: CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte. That lines up Sabathia for Game 4 and Burnett for a deciding Game 5 if they are necessary.

Girardi cited the home and road splits among the factors behind his decision.

Burnett
5-3, 3.51 (home)
8-6, 4.59 (road)

Pettitte
6-4, 4.59 (home)
8-4, 3.71 (road)

“I did not talk to A.J. about that,” Girardi said. “That was a decision I made – as a manager, you have to make some tough decisions and that was a very tough one.”

Regarding Jose Molina catching Burnett, which means Molina swings a bat in a decisive Game 5: “They’re working in a good rhythm and we thought we keep it that way and keep them working together. Georgie is our No. 1 catcher, but in this situation we chose to go with Molina.”

It’s unclear if Posada will DH in Game 2, but Girardi indicated Hideki Matsui will DH most of the time. Basically, it’ll come down to the match-ups.

No ALDS roster yet, which will be finalized after Tigers-Twins, but Sergio Pena, Brian Bruney and Ramiro Pena will head to Tampa to stay in shape. You figure Francisco Cervelli will be the third catcher and Damaso Marte the second left-hander out of the bullpen, and Girardi all but confirmed Joba Chamberlain will be active. He’ll work out of the bullpen and can pitch to as little as two hitters or more than three innings.

As if there was any suspense, the Yankees chose not to wait until the end of the Tigers-Twins game and formally announced they selected the Division Series with the extra off day. Put it in stone: CC Sabathia will throw the first pitch of Game 1 tomorrow night at Yankee Stadium.

Tuesday in the Twin Cities

By Jon Lane
Game 163 for the Tigers and Twins will finally decide the AL Central and who plays the Yankees in the ALDS either Wednesday or Thursday. Probable starting pitchers are for the Tigers rookie Rick Porcello (14-9, 4.04 ERA) and Scott Baker (15-9, 4.36) for the Twins, who went on a 16-4 run since September 13 and a three-game sweep of the Royals to get to this point.

Because the Packers and Vikings are playing at the Metrodome Monday night, Tigers-Twins is Tuesday at 5 p.m.

Also on Tuesday, the Yankees will hold a workout at Yankee Stadium, where CC Sabathia, Joe Girardi and Mark Teixeira will meet the media in formal press conferences.