The Tigers come into this 4-game series against the visiting Yankees pretty hot, their best start since 1984 — with 10 wins and just 2 losses. The Yankees were batting average at 6-6. And while I like to assure myself that teams that do well in April rarely are doing well by September, the immediate threat kind of stuck out at me and nagged me through the game, in spite of some pretty good pitching tonight.
Now, technically, CC Sabathia pitched a complete game, and he is the first AL pitcher to do so this season. Sabathia threw 98 pitches over his 8 innings, giving up 7 hits, 2 runs, 3 walks, and 5 strikeouts. And short of one inning, Sabathia was really, really good, perhaps the best he’s been in a while. Sure, his fast ball has dipped in velocity, but thanks to his delivery and that incredible defense, with 3 double plays (the 4th inning DP) and 2 reel-worthy Brett Gardner moments (#1, #2) and 1 by Jacoby Ellsbury, he still gets batters out when he needs to.
Like I said, there was one inning that just wasn’t up to CC-standards — the 7th. A lead-off single started things, and after 2 outs and an intentional walk, back-to-back singles scored both runners before a rundown (in the last single and play) got the 3rd out of the inning.
And I have that eerie feeling though that Sabathia giving the bullpen a night off will come in handy sometime in the next three games in Detroit.
Look, the Tigers are good, very good. And this includes (if not at times solely focused on) their pitching staff. And while Sabathia was perplexing their batters with his pitches, the Tigers’ starter and subsequent relievers had much of the same effect on the Yankees. The Yankees lone score came off Mark Teixeira’s 2nd inning solo home run. The Yankees batters matched the Tigers in total hits (7), so it’s no wonder the game was pretty close. It just all came down to collectively compiling runs out of those hits, which just fell in the Tigers’ favor tonight.
Now, if you really think about it, tonight’s game really showed that the Yankees aren’t really reflective of their current standings. If they can meet the Tigers (who are easily one of the better teams in the AL right now) pretty much pitch for pitch and hit for hit, and only lose by 1 run, the Yankees aren’t exactly nothing special. I mean, I’m looking at some of the other games still in progress or recently completed just tonight, and most of them have a much bigger gap in runs scored (which is usually either a sign of bad pitching or amazing hitting).
Final score from Detroit: 2-1 Tigers.
And on a more serious note: tonight at the Cubs-Pirates game in Pittsburgh, a foul ball struck a lady in the head. She was sitting behind the home plate netting, but too close and not paying attention to the game. The game was delayed for over 20 minutes are she was treated by stadium EMS personnel before being carried out on a stretcher. She was conscious and alert at the time of transfer to a local hospital.
Please use this as a reminder to pay attention to the game, even you’re behind the protective netting. In the age where everyone is distracted by phones and other people, paying attention to the play can mean the difference between a minor bruise and a concussion or worse. There’s a reason there are signs everywhere in stadium that warn fans about bats and balls that could fly into the stadium seats.
In my many years at ball parks, I’ve had my share of close calls and most of them are from me not paying attention to the game. My mother was hit by a foul ball just a few years ago, but her quick reaction simply resulted in a banged up bracelet and a sore bruised forearm; had she not been paying attention, it would’ve hit her head.
Look, you pay good money to go to games, so put down the phone, stop flirting with the unavailable girl/guy in the row in front of you, focus your and your kids’ attention on the game and not the million little snacks, stop making a trip to the concession stand and/or bathrooms every half-inning, and just pay attention to the game. It certainly would’ve made one lady’s trip to the ball park much less dramatic and painful tonight.