Photo courtesy Texas Rangers
Rangers Ballpark in Arlington hosts its first ALCS beginning tonight.
Wilson also has had impressive success in his career many of the members of tonight's Yankees lineup: Mark Teixeira (0-for-5), Curtis Granderson (0-for-6), Brett Gardner (0-for-5), Jorge Posada (0-for-3), Brett Gardner (0-for-5) and, of course, Alex Rodriguez (1-for-13). For a Texas squad trying to get to Cliff Lee in Game 3 with the series tied, a Wilson victory tonight over Sabathia would be huge.
I'll have some thoughts along the way, and as always, please share your thoughts as well...
AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES — GAME 1
NEW YORK YANKEES at TEXAS RANGERS
Gametime: 8:07 p.m.
TV: TBS Radio: WTEM-980 AM
Weather: Clear, 82 degrees
YANKEES8:21 p.m. -- Well, that's one way to get this series off to a good start. Three batters into the bottom of the first, three runs across thanks to Josh Hamilton's blast down the right-field line. Guess those ribs are just fine. The homer came on a hanging 0-2 breaking ball from CC Sabathia, who was all over the place in the inning. Didn't really look in command of anything, and he still looks off as the inning continues with the Rangers already ahead 3-0 and the crowd going berserk.
SS Derek Jeter
RF Nick Swisher
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
DH Marcus Thames
C Jorge Posada
CF Curtis Granderson
LF Brett Gardner
(P CC Sabathia)
SS Elvis Andrus
3B Michael Young
CF Josh Hamilton
DH Vladimir Guerrero
LF Nelson Cruz
2B Ian Kinsler
RF Jeff Francoeur
C Matt Treanor
1B Jorge Cantu
(P C.J. Wilson)
8:34 p.m. -- And we've got our first blown call of the night. Nelson Cruz sure looked safe at the plate to me. Still 3-0 after one, but the lead could've been even bigger for Texas.
8:37 p.m. -- Or not. The definitive replay angle shows Cruz was indeed out. Nice job by plate umpire Gerry Davis.
9:26 p.m. -- Both Sabathia and Wilson have given the opposition chances to score, but neither side has taken advantage (at least not since Hamilton's first-inning homer). Sabathia, in particular, was teetering on the brink a few times, especially after he balked Hamilton to third with one out in the third. But the big lefty escaped without suffering any more damage. It's quite possible three runs could win this game, but if you're the Rangers, do you really want to tempt fate like that?
9:43 p.m. -- Great piece of hitting by Michael Young in the bottom of the fourth, going the other way with an outside offering from Sabathia for a big, two-run double. Rangers up 5-0 now, and Joba Chamberlain is warming in the Yankee bullpen.
10:15 p.m. -- All this talk about incredible pitching performances from guys named Halladay and Lincecum and Lee and Oswalt and Hamels and Sabathia ... guess who arguably has outpitched them all? Yes, C.J. Wilson. With six more shutout innings so far tonight, he's now tossed 12 1/3 scoreless innings this postseason, allowing only five hits in the process. Time to give this guy some much-deserved credit.
10:31 p.m. -- Guess I spoke a bit too soon. Robinson Cano leads off the top of the seventh with a homer down the right-field line to cut the lead to 5-1 and produce the first run off Wilson this postseason. Wilson did, however, bounce right back to retire the next three batters he faced. So one run allowed in 13 1/3 innings, still not bad. Texas is six outs from pulling off a most surprising Game 1 victory.
10:57 p.m. -- Oh my, it's now 5-2 in the eighth and the bases are loaded with nobody out for A-Rod. Darren O'Day entering from the bullpen for the biggest challenge of his life.
11:00 p.m. -- First pitch to A-Rod: two-run single to left. It's 5-4 with two on and still nobody out in the top of the eighth. Now it'll be Clay Rapada to face Cano.
11:04 p.m. -- Two relievers. Two pitches. Three runs allowed. Cano smokes a single up the middle, tying the game at 5 and knocking Rapada out. Ron Washington is summoning his FIFTH pitcher of the inning. And there's still NOBODY out with the go-ahead run at third base.
11:20 p.m. -- Well, the inning is over at last, but not before the Yankees take a 6-5 lead. What a rally from the defending champs. And what a crushing inning for the Rangers, who suddenly have some major bullpen questions, whether they rally to win this game or not.
11:33 p.m. -- In my LCS preview this morning, I listed Kerry Wood as one of the biggest keys to this series, a necessary bridge for the Yankees to get to Mariano Rivera. Well, he nearly put himself in big-time trouble when he walked Ian Kinsler to open the eighth. But then Kinsler shot himself in the foot, getting caught leaning toward second and getting picked off in the process. Wood then finished off the inning, leaving the Yankees up 6-5 as they go to the ninth.
11:57 p.m. -- That's it. Yankees win 6-5, winning a game they trailed 5-0 in the seventh and 5-1 in the eighth. Texas wasted some early opportunities to really pile on against Sabathia, and that came back to haunt them. But really, this game came down to the Rangers bullpen's inability to protect what should have been a comfortable lead. Really impressive rally from New York, though, and you've got to wonder what that does to Texas' psyche. It would have been one thing just to lose this game. But to blow a five-run lead after cruising along for seven innings? Whew, it's going to be tough to bounce back from this one. Game 2 tomorrow afternoon, 4:07 p.m., followed by the Halladay-Lincecum epic in Game 1 of the NLCS.