Time: 8:07pm ET
Series: 3-2 Texas
TV Announcers: Ernie Johnson, Ron Darling, John Smoltz, Craig Sager
Radio: ESPN Radio
Radio Announcers: Jon Miller and Joe Morgan
Umpires: Gerry Davis, Brian Gorman, Angel Hernandez, Fieldin Culbreth, Jim Reynolds, Tony Randazzo
MLB.com Gameday: Link
Pushed up against it following a Game 4 blowout loss, the Yankees came out swinging in Game 5 and jumped on C.J. Wilson. CC Sabathia, meanwhile, wiggled out of jam after jam, and managed to limit the Rangers to just two runs despite approximately four dozen base hits. The Yankees wound up winning by five runs, forcing a Game 6 and a series shift back to Texas, where the Rangers are just 1-3 so far in the playoffs. It isn't the worst thing in the world for the Rangers, as they get a chance to move on at home before having to hand the ball to Cliff Lee for Game 7, but they can't be happy that the Yankees showed life. They hit the ball hard for eight straight innings, and the talent is clearly there to stage a big comeback.
(1) Almost everything about Phil Hughes went wrong in Game 2, and the Yankees will desperately need him to turn in a better start in Game 6 if they want to keep their season alive. There are a number of things you could point out about his start in showing what he did wrong, but perhaps most notable is that Ranger hitters wound up going 5-11 against Hughes in two-strike counts, with four extra-base hits. Four of those hits came on elevated fastballs to righties, and one came on an inside curve to a lefty. Hughes may want to make some adjustments. We may see some more low curves to righties, and he could stand to throw more heat outside against lefties. Batters hit just .189 against him with two strikes during the season, and he'll need to get back to that.
(2) Colby Lewis was inefficient but effective in his Game 2 start, allowing just three big hits over 26 total plate appearances. Those three big hits were two doubles and a homer, all hit by left-handed hitters. Two came on elevated inside sliders, and one came on a low inside fastball. Both of those elevated sliders came in two-strike counts, and were likely intended to finish lower in the zone. It was interesting to see Lewis lean so heavily on his breaking balls against lefties in Game 2. He didn't throw nearly as many fastballs or changeups as he did during the season. Look for him to mix things up by burying his breaking balls a little further down, and throwing more changeups down and away. It would be a different look, and make it more difficult for Yankee hitters to get air under the ball.
(3) CC Sabathia has said that he'll be available out of the bullpen in Game 6, even though he just started Game 5. Having so recently thrown 112 pitches, it would be impossible to expect Sabathia to be at 100 percent, but flaws and fatigue can be masked when a starter shows up in relief, as doing so allows him to throw more max effort and condense more into each pitch. Sabathia has not been particularly effective in this series. He's allowed 17 hits in ten innings of work. But he is very good and very left-handed, giving Joe Girardi an alternative to Boone Logan should Josh Hamilton or Mitch Moreland come up in a critical situation late in a close game. Sabathia's the best lefty on the team. He's the guy you want going up against the other team's best lefty hitter in the clutch.