NEW YORK -- Well, we've survived weather wise to this point but at 7:40, the rain has started at Yankee Stadium. At this point, it looks like we're going to at least begin Game One of the ALCS. Keep it here all night as I provide updates and unclutter whatever thoughts are in my mind on this one. First off, the lineups:
Los Angeles: Chone Figgins, 3b; Bobby Abreu, rf; Torii Hunter, cf; Vladimir Guerrero, dh; Juan Rivera, lf; Kendry Morales, 1b; Howie Kendrick, 2b; Jeff Mathis, c; Erick Aybar, ss....P: John Lackey
New York: Derek Jeter, ss; Johnny Damon, lf; Mark Teixeira, 1b; Alex Rodriguez, 3b; Hideki Matsui, dh; Jorge Posada, c; Robinson Cano, 2b; Nick Swisher, rf; Melky Cabrera, cf...P: CC Sabathia.
I spent 23 minutes stuck in a stadium elevator today after Joe Girardi's press conference. For $1.5 billion, guess they don't have quality materials. I posted some of those shenanigans earlier today on my Twitter page. Pretty small press elevator too. Only 12 of us on it and maybe room for two or three more is all. At least the box lunches for the media had good chocolate chip cookies.
1st inning: Cano (left) and Teixeira are wearing ski masks. I don't know. Maybe it's because I'm from Buffalo but it's not THAT cold. That said, the wind is picking up and that's not a good thing. The Legends seats are disgracefully empty as the high rollers are staying mostly inside. But what a weird scene to be at an ALCS and see tons of empty seats right by the field. No different than it's been all year here. One of the great spectacles in baseball is the roll call greeting at Yankee Stadium by the folks in the right field bleachers, who scream each player's name in unison until they respond with a wave. RF Nick Swisher went a step further with a full turn and military style salute.
The first pitch to Chone Figgins, a called strike, was at 7:58 and it's 45 degrees. Sabathia gives up a Hunter single and no more. The Yankees take a 2-0 lead on a sac fly by A-Rod and an RBI single by Matsui. But the latter has a huge asterisk. Matsui lofted a routine pop up for the third out and Aybar just stood and watch it land in front of him as Figgins did the same. Lackey was openly furious on the mound too. As well he should be. Earlier in the inning, Rivera threw a Damon single to left into no-man's land and gave up an extra base. Hey Angels: Fundamentals?
End-3rd: We're flying along with the Yankees still holding their 2-0 lead. Sabathia has retired nine of 11, giving up two harmless singles. Lackey had a 1-2-3 seconds but gave up singles to Teixeira and A-Rod in the third but got Matsui on a grounder. Sabathia has four strikeouts, including Abreu twice (in the third, left) Figgins has also gone down and is 0 for 14 with seven Ks in the postseason. No way to be for a leadoff man.
Mid-4th: The Angels pull within 2-1 but it looks like it's going to be impossible to hit one out tonight to left center. Guerrero just torched one and was in his trot but it didn't make it into the bullpen and he settled for a double. He moved to third on a Rivera grounder and scored when Morales looped a 94-mph fastball on the first pitch from Sabathia into center.
Halfway home (mid-5th): Yankees holding their 2-1 lead as Sabathia throws a 1-2-3 fifth. Angels have four hits, Yankees have six.
End-5th: Yankees take a 3-1 lead on Matsui's RBI single to left-center but A-Rod runs through the stop sign and is a dead duck at home (Mathis held on through a tough collision, left). What was A-Rod doing there? Hmmm. It's taken Lackey 96 pitches through five innings. Does he get another?
Mid-6th: I'm anti instant replay for base calls and here's why: Torii Hunter bunts, Sabathia gets his big butt to the ball and whirls to first. Teixeira stretches to the toes. Is he on the bag or not? Ump Laz Diaz (a noted dope btw) calls him out. The Angels, esp. Hunter and Mike Sciosica, go wild. Replay is tough-tough to tell. Sabathia at 80 pitches. Lackey back out there.
End-6th: Yankees take a 4-1 lead on a gift run. Cabrera walks to with two out, takes second when Lackey's pickoff throw gets away and scores on the next pitch when Jeter singles and the ball goes under Hunter's glove. That's three errors for the Halos. I missed when the Chico's Bail Bonds logo got put on their uniforms for this series. Lackey relived by Bulger. 5 2/3 9-4-2-3-3 (114/65)
End-8th: Our annual reminder as we head through the postseason that you might get more sparse updates in the last couple innings as we get the print product rolling. It's Enter Sandman time as Mariano Rivera is coming in with the Yankees still up, 4-1.
It's over: Sinatra playing as Yanks wrap up a 4-1 win to take a 1-0 lead in the series. On to the clubhouse.
(Photos: Associated Press)
taggedALCS | Yankees