CC Sabathia was going back on the mound no matter what.
The Yankees' starter was poised to resume his promising outing against Detroit in ALDS Game 1 Friday night, but the rain just wouldn't stop. And just like that, his night was over after only 27 pitches.
The epic postseason battle between Sabathia and Justin Verlander -- aces in every sense of the word -- was prematurely halted 30 minutes after it began in the Bronx.
"So much build-up and anticipation coming into the game, the playoffs, and to have it rained out is disappointing," said Sabathia, who allowed one hit in two innings and threw 27 pitches (20 for strikes).
Though stray showers were expected, players such as Mark Teixeira and Russell Martin said there was no indication beforehand that weather could be a factor in the game. The downpours seemed to come out of nowhere at 9:07 p.m., pelting down on Yankee Stadium in steady succession. A brief respite seemed possible when the rain slowed momentarily, but its pace soon quickened and the game was called at 10:24 p.m.
Throughout it all, Sabathia was prepared to take the ball again. Even if the rain delay had been an hour, he said.
"I was going back out. No matter what," he said. "It's just that time of year. I would have been very upset if we would have started the game and I wasn't back out there."
Now there's a chance the Yankees will use Sabathia in only one game, not including Friday night. Joe Girardi said he didn't think it was the "right thing to do" to put him back on the mound for Game 2 Sunday. But he acknowledged he'll likely have a fight on his hands if he doesn't throw Sabathia twice this series.
"He might," Girardi said. "But you're asking an awful lot. 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 . . . You're talking about a lot of pitching. It's not early in the year."
Sabathia's take on the situation was simple. "I want the ball as much as possible," he said. "But like I said, we'll just have to wait and see. See what happens.''
The field conditions were so bad that Sabathia slipped after throwing his final pitch -- a called third strike against Ryan Raburn to end the second inning. "I didn't even know I slipped until I watched it on TV," he said. "I didn't really feel it until the ball was gone. It was raining pretty good, though. Conditions got bad pretty quick."
Sabathia went after the Tigers, daring each hitter to beat him. Delmon Young did just that, sending a drive just over the rightfield wall with two outs in the first, but Sabathia responded with even more swing-and-miss stuff. "When that's happening, you can expect a good start," said Martin, who stopped short of calling it a "wasted outing." "It's just unfortunate that it was stopped short."
Said Teixeira: "At the end of the day, the postseason is about your entire roster. You can't win a postseason by just one player, one pitcher, and we're going to need a lot of guys to step up. And so are they. We're playing under the same circumstances."