I heard commentators talking earlier in the season about how the Yankees didn't have as many walk-off wins as last year. While that is true, the general attitude of that statement was to imply that the Yankees didn't come back on teams like they had the year before.
If anything this one thoroughly proves that the Yankees are never out of a game. The Rangers blew a 5-0 lead and New York survived a CC Sabathia implosion to take Game 1 of the ALCS 6-5.
The Rangers really have to be hurting in the locker room after this one. They had beat on the Yankee ace and had forced the Yankees into using Dustin Moseley. Yet they failed to tack on runs against the mop up man and when Brett Gardner sparked a rally with a huge hustle play to start the eighth, you could see things start to slide downhill for the Rangers and their bullpen.
Ron Washington brought in Darren Oliver and the veteran walked two straight Yankees to load the bases. That forced the Texas manager to go to his second Darren, Darren O'Day. O'Day fluttered one of his side arm offerings down the inner third of the plate and Alex Rodriguez destroyed the ball past Michael Young at third to score tow more and pull the Yanks to within 5-4.
So, after one pitch Washington decided to bring in another lefty, this one being Clay Rapada. Rapada only threw nine innings in the majors this year and really Washington should have taken his chances with a hard thrower like Alexi Ogando, because Cano doesn't care who is throwing the ball, he will destroy it.
Cano led the AL with 13 homer against lefty pitching this season and had just homered off of C.J. Wilson who hadn't allowed a dinger to a same-sided batter all year. Rapada stood no chance and Cano tied the game with a hard single up the middle on the first pitch he saw.
After another pitching change Marcus Thames continued to be an unsung hero for New York this year and gave the Yanks the lead with a broken bat single.
The win is big for New York. Strike that, it's HUGE. They could have found themselves in a bad spot if they didn't rally to save Sabathia's bacon. Texas would have been rolling and licking their chops at the prospect of being up 1-0 in the series with Phil Hughes on the mound versus Colby Lewis and Cliff Lee still lurking in the shadows of Game 3. Now the Yankees have to be feeling like they are never out of the game, even on e where their ace is inept and teh opposing pitch is dealing deep into the game.
Tomorrow brings the previously mentioned match up of Phil Hughes vs. Colby Lewis. Hughes has been great in Texas for his career, throwing 15.1 scoreless innings over four seasons, including his aborted no-hitter in 2007. Plus Hughes has been better on the road in general this season.
Lewis has been solid since returning to the Majors from Japan. Lewis strikes out a lot of guys, but can also have bouts of wildness. The Yankees haven't seen Lewis this year, which usually is a bad omen for them. In this case though, they can probably at least elevate Lewis's pitch count and get into that Rangers bullpen early, much like the Rays did in Game 3 of the ALDS.
Back at it tomorrow at 4 p.m.