CC Sabathia: Good Deal! Yanks win ALCS opener 4-1, work cold to their favor

Man, it's cold out. When I started this whole watching-the-Yankees-bat-from-outside ritual, it was a 65 degree situation. But right now, my digits are creamsicles as I'm typing this. So when I think of the fact CC Sabathia went 8 innings and let up 1 run, I'm more in awe of him, his fat, and this team than ever.

The Yankees beat the Angels 4-1 tonight, thanks to Porky's 7K gem, unrelenting bats against John Lackey, and 3 errors--THREE--from a team that hasn't logged an error since the Cowboys dynasty.

I don't why it feels like Maine in January when it's not even freezing temperature. But it is. Maybe Jorge Posada's right. Maybe it IS "Yankee weather."

Ghosts and unseasonably chilly temperature. Yankee Stadium's answers to all things inexplicable. You can't discount the 10 hits and flat-out absurd defensive that came from a determined New York squad. But on the other hand...there's Torii Hunter letting a single get by him which allowed Derek Jeter to score in the 6th, a throwing error from Lackey, a do-you-have-ir-ok-got-it-wait-what? pop-up blooper between Chone Figgins and Erick Aybar...and that was just on defense.

CC held the slugging monsters from LA to only 4 hits and 1 walk...and zero stolen bases. For all the rampant concern about how in the world the Yankees were ever going to manage the team who's speed can break the sound barrier...there wasn't even so much as an attempt.

The Yanks took an early 2-0 lead with Alex Rodriguez's (who else) sac fly that scored Jeter, and an infield single from Hideki that plated Johnny Damon.

Hideki can thank the 400 pounds of sweatshirt coating Aybar's ears, who couldn't make heads or tails of the whole calling the pop-up thing. Bundled up in so much insulation that I wouldn't be surprised if they all had Pink Panther padding in there, the Angels played like an old school Nintendo baseball game where no player can run in a straight line, and no matter how angrily you bang on the control pad, the player won't move beneath the ball to catch a routine pop up.

This same play engendered ridiculous blown call #3,801 of the playoffs, when A-Rod darted home only to find Jeff Mathis patiently waiting for him with the ball. HOWEVAH, no tag was ever successfully made as A-Rod barrelled over him and touched home. I've been saying for the past week that all these bad calls work both ways, and that it all evens out in the end.

(But there's no reasoning with someone people, as my Mets fan buddy argued that not only does this not come close to making up for the Mauer call--yup, he's still on that--but he also insinuated that the errors weren't entirely accidental. This is what I'm up against.)

Vladimir Guerrero, who ranks 3rd in my Favorite Players Who Aren't Yankees list,' doubled in the 4th, and after Juan Rivera's groundout advanced him to third, Kendry Morales brought him home with a single to left center. Such would be the first and last time an Angel got to see homeplate.

CC never faltered, only going to 3 balls only twice. Thanks to this lights-out dominance when they absolutely needed it the most, the Yankees bullpen is as fresh as ever, with Mariano Rivera serving as the only reliever to enter the game. Anaheim's bullpen, on the other hand, threw a combined 52 pitches over 2 IP of work....35 more than Mo did in a little less than the same amount of time.

Overall another paragon of an outing from the New York Yankees. The ONLY drawbacks of the night:

  • Someone tried to launch a Joba-as-starter symposium while I was outside. Last thing I heard was "he has 4 pitches!" before he deemed it too cold to argue and retreated indoors.
  • 11 runners left on base.
  • 3-for-12 with RISP. I'm okay with this, though, since I don't think everyone needs to play 100 percent every game. Just enough percent to win.

I can't say enough about the defense that backed Tubbo up. After Nick Swisher met quota for the requisite "where-is-your-head?!" move in the outfield, it was nothing but remarkably fluid efforts that saved more than a few runs. "Ok, CC. You scratch our back, we'll scratch yours buy you a cheesesteak."

And no one is happier about this win than Brian Cashman, who tonight saw his off-season Christmas shopping for the Big Boss excel in spades. Mark Teixeira's defense on 1st was mind-blowing, to say the least. When his old pal (and #2 on the aforementioned list) tried to run out a single in the 6th, Tex lunged for the toss to 1st and ended up in a move that looked like he belonged at the top of a pyramid in the National Cheerleading Championships.

The Yanks played smart tonight. They kept it simple, and deserve to win for how patiently and evenly they played this one out. You don't need to look any further than their opponents to see what a frantic, jumpy, uncomfortable, and overanxious team looks like.

And the Angels don't need to look any further than their opponents to see what greatness looks like.

-CYC

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