UPDATE: So much for that. Sabathia got Ichiro swinging for his 12th strikeout to begin the seventh inning, but then Brendan Ryan flared a single into left field for the first hit of the ballgame.
9:05 PM: After play resumed, Sabathia got Greg Halman to pop out to first base (ending his strikeout streak at seven) and Chone Figgins on a groundout to end the inning. He’s now perfect through six. It’s beginning to rain again at Yankee Stadium, though.
9:00 PM: Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports that play will resume around 9 p.m. ET. That’s just about…now. Sabathia will continue.
8:54 PM: CC Sabathia hasn’t allowed a baserunner over his first 5 1/3 innings this evening against the weak-hitting Mariners, but a rain delay has interrupted his chance at history.
Sabathia has already notched 11 strikeouts, just two short of his career-high. Incredibly, he has fanned the last seven batters he has faced.
The big left-hander has only thrown 59 pitches so far, so he should have plenty left in the tank if play resumes quickly. Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports that the tarp is being dumped out in left field, even though it is still drizzling a bit at Yankee Stadium, so it sounds like he’ll get a chance to finish what he has started.
Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, Justin Verlander was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.
“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”
Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.
The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.