Yankees-Tigers series opener suspended

New York Yankees' CC Sabathia #52 pitches to

New York Yankees' CC Sabathia #52 pitches to the Detroit Tigers during a downpour in the second inning of ALDS Game 1 at Yankee Stadium in New York. (Sept. 30, 2011) (Credit: John Dunn)

The Yankees had a major league-high nine postponements this season, so it figured their postseason would begin with a game washed away by rain.

The marquee pitching matchup between CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander was short-lived Friday night as ALDS Game 1 was suspended at 10:24 p.m. because of heavy rain.

The game will pick up at 8:37 p.m. Saturday where it left off, in the bottom of the second inning with the score tied at 1-1.

Game 2, which was to be played Saturday night at 8:37, instead will be played at 3:07 p.m. Sunday.

Speaking after the game was suspended, Joe Girardi said that Ivan Nova, who had been scheduled to start Game 2, will pitch when Game 1 resumes Saturday night. Freddy Garcia, who had been scheduled to pitch Game 3, will pitch Sunday in Game 2.

"After that, I can't tell you,'' Girardi said, though Sabathia would be a strong possibility.

As for bringing back Sabathia for Sunday, Girardi said, "I don't think that's the right thing to do.''

Girardi's plans for the series had been to use a three-man rotation, bringing Sabathia back on three days' rest if Game 4 is needed. With Sunday's off day -- in which both teams would have worked out at Detroit's Comerica Park -- now lost, Girardi will have to use four starters, raising the very real possibility that A.J. Burnett will start Game 4 Tuesday. Phil Hughes already has pitched out of the bullpen twice -- Monday and Wednesday in St. Petersburg, Fla., against the Rays -- and Bartolo Colon was left off the 25-man ALDS roster.

"That's something we'll have to talk about,'' Girardi said. "A.J. is obviously the most stretched out for us in that situation.''

Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Doug Fister, who had been scheduled to start Game 2, will start Saturday night's resumed game and that Game 3 starter Max Scherzer will go Sunday. Leyland said Verlander will pitch Game 3 on Monday and probably will be followed by Rick Porcello if there's a Game 4. Leyland said Fister will start Game 5 if it is necessary.

The most significant development in all this is that it is all but certain that each team will be able to start its ace only once in the series, not including what occurred Friday night.

"It's definitely disappointing,'' said Sabathia, who struck out four in two innings and allowed Delmon Young's two-out homer in the first. "But we're used to it. We've had a lot of rainouts this year.''

Sabathia, who threw only 27 pitches, did say he planned to lobby Girardi about pitching Sunday, though he might not have been aware that the manager already had announced Garcia as that day's starter.

The lefthander slipped on his final pitch of the night, a called third strike to Ryan Raburn. He said he was not injured as he briefly lost footing on the soggy mound.

"Conditions got bad pretty quick,'' Sabathia said.

After yet another rainout near the end of the season, Girardi joked that the Yankees might become the first team in history to play a doubleheader in the postseason.

With a not-great forecast for Saturday, Girardi said, not at all joking, that a split doubleheader Sunday "isn't out of the question.''

MLB executive vice president for baseball operations Joe Torre said, "We haven't settled on anything,'' but late Friday night, the commissioner's office said there is no chance of a doubleheader.

Both managers shrugged about the rain's impact on the series.

"This is not a big deal,'' Leyland said. "Everybody does the best they can . . . No sense getting all excited.''

"The one thing I probably learned as much as any other,'' Girardi said, "you cannot fight Mother Nature.''

 

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