Tigers-Yankees stopped by rain
NEW YORK -- After Game 1 of the ALDS between the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees was suspended on account of rain Friday night in the second inning, both teams probably will not use their aces in the next two games.
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Justin Verlander started for Detroit against CC Sabathia in a highly anticipated matchup between two of the game's best pitchers. The score was tied at 1 in the middle of the second inning when play was halted.
"It's definitely disappointing," Sabathia said. "It looked like it was going to be a good game."
This means that expected Cy Young Award winner Verlander will likely start only once in the series. The same will likely be the case for Sabathia, but there is still an outside shot he could go twice.
According to a rule adopted by Major League Baseball two years ago, the game is not postponed. Instead, it will pick up Saturday night at the point of suspension -- weather permitting -- with the Yankees coming to bat in the second inning. The forecast calls for rain through late Saturday night.
MLB said there will not be a doubleheader during the series.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland said that Doug Fister, the Tigers' scheduled starter for Game 2, will pitch when Game 1 resumes Saturday at 8:37 p.m. ET. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he would start Ivan Nova when Game 1 continues. Nova had also been originally slotted to start Game 2.
Leyland said that Verlander will start Game 3 on Monday in Detroit, but Girardi has not yet named Sabathia as his Game 3 starter.
"Just had a nice bullpen in front of half of America today," Verlander said. "It was a little disappointing. Now I've got a start Monday to look forward to, start getting prepared for that."
"I want the ball as much as possible," Garcia said.
Sabathia said he will petition to start on Sunday. If he persuades Girardi, Sabathia possibly could start Game 2 and Game 5 on Thursday.
"You're asking an awful lot," Girardi said. "And the thing is, when CC goes out there, you want a rested CC in a sense and a sharp CC. It's possible for him to go out there Sunday but I can't tell you what we would get because of what he went through."
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Verlander doesn't plan on going into Leyland's office to try to pitch before Game 3 in Detroit.
"I think going on short rest is something that I'm comfortable with," Verlander said. "But I think going on short rest after today -- after throwing in a game today, coming back in two days and then going on short rest -- I think that might be asking a little bit too much. I'd be prepared to if we needed to win. But I've got the good fortune of having a manager who not only looks at the present but the future as well."
Verlander explained that his 25-pitch effort Friday was quite different than throwing a comparable number of pitches in a standard between-starts bullpen session.
"It's obviously very different," Verlander said. "You take into account all the pitches you throw to get loose in the bullpen -- and then, not to mention, the level of intensity in the game. It's totally different. I don't expect to feel as good tomorrow as I would have if it was just a bullpen session. ... Any way you slice it now, unless there's a bunch of other rainouts, I don't really see coming back twice in this short series."
On Friday, Sabathia said he would have returned to pitch no matter how long the delay lasted.
"It's just that time of year," Sabathia said.
Leyland implied that Rick Porcello would start a potential Game 4, while Fister would start Game 5.
"This is not a big deal. Everybody does the best they can," Leyland said. "No sense getting excited. It's the way it is. I think when a manager makes a big deal out of something like that, it affects the players. It rained, so what?"
Verlander and Fister are both right-handed. But the Tigers fielded a lineup Friday night that was stacked with right-handed hitters against the left-handed Sabathia. Now that same group will have to remain in the game, at least at first, against Nova, a right-hander.
"That's the one little dilemma probably, but it will work out," Leyland said. "I'm going to keep my lineup in there and see how the game plays out. Obviously, I'm not going to start pulling guys out."
With the rainout, it has become even more likely that A.J. Burnett could start a game for the Yankees in the series, likely Game No. 4.
"A.J. is the most stretched out for us in that situation," Girardi said.
Verlander, who won the pitching version of the Triple Crown in the AL this season, threw 25 pitches in the first inning. Rain began falling with Mark Teixeira at the plate, the eighth batter of the game.
The downpour intensified in the top of the second as Sabathia worked a perfect inning with a pair of strikeouts. Fans at Yankee Stadium scampered up the aisles for cover on the concourse, and a shimmering pool of water formed in front of home plate. Tigers second baseman Ryan Raburn shook the raindrops off his helmet and tried to dry his bat by wiping it under his arm.
After the inning, all six umpires huddled with a member of the Yankee Stadium grounds crew at the mound and then called for the tarp. The teams played for 30 minutes, but never got back on the field.
"Heck of a game. It was great," Leyland said, drawing laughs.
The rain stopped briefly and the grounds crew pulled the tarp off the infield at 9:36 p.m. As workers were getting the field ready, heavy showers picked up again and the tarp was placed back on at 9:47.
After a wait of 37 more minutes, the announcement was made in the ballpark that the game had been called, bringing boos from the crowd.
Rain mucked up the major league schedule all season -- and the Yankees were hit the hardest. There were 54 postponements around the big leagues this season, more than double the 21 in 2010.
The Yankees had nine games postponed, more than any other team, and 13 others delayed due to weather.
"It's perfect. The weather is not great tomorrow," Girardi said. "We've been through this all year long. It's not what either club wanted. Both clubs have to deal with it. The one thing I probably learned as much as any other, you cannot fight Mother Nature."
The commissioner's office consulted three different weather services Friday before deciding to start the game.
"We certainly were not going to start a game if we had a forecast of heavy rain. Whether it was CC or Justin or two other guys, because it certainly isn't fair to either club," said former Yankees manager Joe Torre, executive vice president of baseball operations for MLB. "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."
Andrew Marchand covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.