Rapid Reaction: Yankees 7, Rangers 4
April, 23, 2012
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com
Recap | Box score | Photos
What it means: That there's not a whole lot of difference between a 13-3 team and a 9-6 team. At least not between these two, on this night. Tonight was the 9-6 team's night, as the Yankees pounded Texas starter Derek Holland and rode their rejuvenated horse, CC Sabathia, to a convincing victory in the opener of an intriguing three-game series.
Nice to CC you again: After a ragged start -- two singles in his first six pitches of the game -- Sabathia looked like the pitcher the Yankees signed three seasons ago and extended this past winter, sailing through innings two through six and striking out eight while allowing just two runs, one on a long homer by Josh Hamilton in the sixth. Sabathia tired a bit in the seventh, allowing two more runs, but got through the eighth inning, and the fastball command issues that plagued him in his first three starts were nowhere to be found tonight. CC's line -- 8IP, 7H, 4ER, 1BB, 8K -- is exactly the kind of night the Yankees need from their ace on a regular basis.
DJ4C?: Derek Jeter continued his amazing early-season run with four hits in his first four at-bats against Holland, raising his early-season batting average to .417 and his mark against lefties to an unimaginable .630 (17-for-27). Jeter's ninth-inning strikeout against Koji Uehara dropped his average slightly, to .411, but hardly dampened his night.
Bern, A-Rod, Bern: Alex Rodriguez's three-run homer off Holland in the fifth, an absolute bomb that landed in the batter's eye beyond the center-field fence, gave him 287 homers as a Yankee, tying Bernie Williams for sixth on the all-time Yankee list. Hard to believe, but A-Rod had "only" 345 home runs when he came to the Yankees. He has 632 now.
Ciao, Francisco? A great night for new backup catcher Chris Stewart -- a walk, a double and two runs scored, and he's not here for his bat -- means a bad night for Francisco Cervelli, hoping to work his way back to the big club but struggling in Triple-A.
What's coming: Gotta write The Captain tonight, and what his hot start might mean for the rest of his 2012 season. Also, assorted blog items from the postgame clubhouse.
Wake up, Japan!: An entire nation is waiting for the showdown between Hiroki Kuroda (1-2, 5.00) and 25-year-old phenom Yu Darvish (2-0, 3.57). Game time is 7 p.m. Tuesday in Texas, 8 p.m. in New York, and 8 a.m. Wednesday in Japan, where millions are expected to show up late for work. (That is, those who don't call in sick.) Yankees fans get a first look at Darvish, the one the Yanks let get away. That's worth tuning in for at any hour.