Rain got in the way of the Yankees’ best starting pitching plan. CC Sabathia will be limited to one full start. The three-man rotation will be a four-man. As Joe Girardi said after the Yankees’ 23rd game impacted by weather: “The one thing I probably learned as much as any other, you cannot fight Mother Nature.”
Tonight’s opener was suspended due to rain with the score 1-1 after an inning and a half. Tomorrow night, the original Game 2 starters, Ivan Nova and Doug Fister, will take over for CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander. Freddy Garcia and Max Scherzer are down as the starters for Game 2 Sunday at 3:07, but Sabathia said he’ll fight to make that start in hopes of pitching Game 5 on short rest.
Jim Leyland committed to pitching Verlander again on Monday.
So who would start a Game 4 for the Yankees in a potential matchup with Rick Porcello? Welcome back to the rotation A.J. Burnett?
“That’s something we’ll have to talk about,” Girardi said. “A.J. is obviously the most stretched out for us in that situation.”
Here’s Girardi’s postgame press conference.
“It was a nice day until the bottom of the first inning,” Mark Teixeira said.
Girardi said he knew it was going to rain, but none of his weather reports suggested it would ever rain this hard. Joe Torre, representing Major League Baseball, said the rain was supposed to happen off and on.
“We certainly were not going to start a game if we had a forecast of heavy rain,” Torre said. “Whether it was CC or Justin or two other guys, because it certainly isn’t fair to either club. Our forecast was light, intermittent showers, nothing that was threatening, except until late tonight. Obviously that forecast changed, and we came up with the result that we did.”
That said, one Yankee called the situation “stupid” and said a group of players were watching the radar on an iPad pregame and saw a massive green blob that was predicted to hover over Yankee Stadium for four hours.
“Never in my wildest dreams, with the way today was weather-wise, would you think you were going to run into this tonight,” Torre said.
• Although Girardi mentioned a division series doubleheader as a possibility, an MLB official announced to the press box that there is no scenario in which the Yankees and Tigers would play two games on the same day.
• The Yankees and Tigers will play four straight days, from Saturday through Tuesday. “Guys might be asked to go three days in a row (out of the bullpen) now,” Girardi said. “That’s the bottom line. You just got to play it by each game and see how guys are doing.”
• Speaking of the bullpen: Nice work by the Yankees to have Mariano Rivera throw out the ceremonial first pitch to Jorge Posada. It was a nice touch.
• Leave it to Derek Jeter to bring perspective to the fact the Yankees got only two innings out of Sabathia tonight. “I’m sure they probably would have liked Verlander to have pitched the whole game, too,” Jeter said. “We got two innings out of (Sabathia). They got one (out of Verlander).”
• Verlander on his outing: “I had a nice bullpen in front of half of America today.”
• Sabathia gave up the Delmon Young homer, but he also struck out four through the first two innings. He looked much better than he had in the last few starts of the regular season. “There were only two innings, but, yeah, I was getting ahead,” Sabathia said. “The counts were better. I felt pretty good.”
• Sabathia said it didn’t matter how long the rain delay went, he was going to back into tonight’s game. “About 15 minutes after I went down to the cage and started playing catch with Montero a little bit,” he said. “Took the tarp off for a second, and I was ready to go back, ready to go back out. Got some hot stuff on and I was ready to go… I was going back out. No matter what. It’s just that time of year. I would have been very upset if we would have started the game and I wasn’t back out there.”
• Sabathia slipped on his last pitch, but he didn’t even realize it had happened. “I didn’t even know I slipped until I watched it on TV,” he said. “I didn’t really feel it until the ball was gone. It was raining pretty good, though. Conditions got bad pretty quick.”
• Interesting situation for Jim Leyland, who started a lineup that he planned to have face a left-handed pitcher, and now that lineup will be facing a right-hander. “I’m going to keep my lineup in there and see how the game plays out,” he said. “Obviously, I’m not going to start pulling guys out. I’m not going to change my lineup in the bottom of the second inning tomorrow. My lineup will be the same when we take the field. It would be the same. There could be a point where a pinch-hitter could be a factor because of what you ask.
• No surprise, but Leyland was pretty hilarious about the whole thing. “It is what it is,” he said. “Good Lord, it rained. So what? It’s all about three. It’s all about three. Win three, lose three. That’s what this is about. The magic number is three for both teams. That’s the way it is. There’s no sense getting all excited.”
• Nova and Fister are on track to start a potential Game 5.
• Girardi said he had no problem with the way things were handled tonight. “The weather is tricky around here,” he said. “We had one game here, we were trying to figure out it’s 7:00 when we were going to play the split double-header. There was no way we were playing. And at 7:30 everything split, and we ended up playing. The weather is hard to predict around here. It’s been hard to predict all year long. No, I have no complaints.”
• And we’ll end with the worst thing Girardi could have possibly said during tonight’s press conference: “We have a shorter game, I think, tomorrow.” Now that we all know we’ve been jinxed into a 25-inning game tomorrow, let’s all get some sleep.
Associated Press photos