The Yankees, not to be outdone by the Rangers, have filed their ALCS rotation. Bryan Hoch of MLB.com has the goods on Twitter.
CC Sabathia will start Game 1 in Texas on Saturday night. The American League Cy Young Award candidate registered a 21-7 record, a 3.18 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP over 34 starts during the regular season, fanning 197 batters over 237-plus innings and walking just 74. He surrendered three runs in six innings during his lone ALDS start against the Twins, but the big man remains one of the most dominant pitchers in the game.
Phil Hughes will start Game 2, also in Texas. He turned in seven scoreless innings in the Yanks’ series-clinching Game 3 victory over the Twins in the ALDS and has enjoyed great success in the Rangers’ home park throughout his short career.
Andy Pettitte, the veteran left-hander, will take on Texas in the first game back at Yankee Stadium. He was 11-3 with a 3.28 ERA and 1.27 WHIP over 21 starts during the regular season and held the Twins to two earned runs over seven innings in his one ALDS start. He will face Rangers ace Cliff Lee.
A.J. Burnett will go in Game 4. His involvement in the semifinal series is unfortunate, but he is New York’s best option and might just have a dominant outing left in his bag of tricks. The 33-year-old righty hasn’t pitched in a major league game since October 2, when he allowed four runs in a six-inning start against the Red Sox. Maybe the freshness will help.
The Mets rode a bloop hit and a fortuitous slide by Yoenis Cespedes into a four-run fifth inning against the Cardinals during Thursday night’s game.
After Cespedes drew a one-out walk, James Loney hit a weak pop-up into shallow left field. Left fielder Brandon Moss and shortstop Greg Garcia both gave chase but it dropped in. Cespedes, running the bases aggressively, sprinted towards third base. Moss scooped up the ball and threw to Adam Wainwright covering third base.
Cespedes appeared to have been tagged out by Wainwright, but as luck would have it, Cespedes’ cleats stuck on Wainwright’s glove and yanked it off. Cespedes was ruled safe and the Cardinals challenged the call, but it was ultimately upheld.
After that play, Curtis Granderson struck out, Wilmer Flores reached on a fielding error by Garcia, and Alejandro De Aza hit a three-run home run to right field, pushing the Mets’ lead to 7-0.
You may recall that, back in May, Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor got into a fight with Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. Bautista slid late into second base, with which Odor took issue, so he punched Bautista in the face. That earned him a seven-game suspension.
With one out in the fifth inning of Thursday’s game against the Indians, Odor reached on a fielding error by first baseman Mike Napoli. Jonathan Lucroy then hit into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. Odor slid hard into Jason Kipnis covering second base.
Kipnis, hearkening back to the Bautista fight, backed up as if he were afraid Odor would punch him. Odor got a good chuckle out of it, but it was the Rangers’ bench which perhaps enjoyed the joke most. The Rangers’ broadcast showing Adrian Beltre cracking up and telling his other teammates what had happened.