Now, last night, he got off to a rough start. With the whole rain delay stuff, nobody really knew what to expect out of the aces last night. Sabathia was thoroughly average and out of gas by the fifth inning. I really don't know why Girardi sent him back out in the sixth. A little disappointing, but there you go. Verlander got off to a rocky start. He seems to get nervous at the start of a lot games, moreso in his playoff career. But once he settled in, boy, he was locked in. Watching him last night, you would have thought he was in the midst of something for the ages. His fastball was regularly hitting or breaking 100 MPH. His curveball was absolutely spectacular. Coming off an inning and all the work of getting ready for a game and trying to stay loose until they either called the game or Jim Leyland said it was too long a delay, nobody was really sure how that might affect things. As it turned out, it seemed to weigh much heavier on Sabathia. That, and CC seemed to come to the realization that Verlander was settling in and he was going to have to step up his game. Unfortunately for New York, that gear wasn't there.
Verlander ran into a little more trouble in the 7th. It seemed he was cruising along until he got squeezed a bit pitching to Posada.* That (and dropping a throw back to him) seemed to take him out of his rhythm a bit, long enough to hurt him for a couple more runs. At the end of the day, he threw 8 innings, which is impressive on its own. Otherwise, four runs, six hits, three walks, eleven strikeouts. Other than the strikeout number, it looks like a thoroughly average start.
*On the radio this morning, the Mikes (who I know I said I would stop listening to) were talking about how CC got squeezed. I thought it was worse for the Verlander myself, but I suppose that just means the umpire was calling a tight strike zone both ways.
It comes back to Verlander just makes everything look more exciting. The pitches he throws drop jaws. The way he carries himself screams bad ass. I mean, look at that picture. If you still have the game recorded, look at how he walks off the field after ending the inning (usually via strikeout). He just makes it look like you're watching something special, even if the numbers don't align. Plus, I'm sure Detroit was even more excited than usual to be getting a chance to put away the Yankees.
They'll go at it again tonight. The Yankees' entire season relies on the ever-erratic AJ Burnett. He'll either lay down a real stinker or pull a gem out of his back pocket, a la the World Series a couple years ago.
In the other series, Jaime Garcia (who apparently is a Phillie-killer) tries to really put a dent in Philly's coronation, the Brewers go for the sweep (I think they'll get it), and the Rangers try to put away the Rays (not as convinced about that one).