10/01/11 12:45 PM ET
Yanks decide Sabathia will get nod in Game 3
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
Heavy rains forced the suspension of the opening contest between the Yankees and Tigers, which will resume at 8:30 p.m. ET on Saturday with the Yankees batting and no outs in the bottom of the second inning. It was the Yankees' 23rd game impacted by weather this season.
"We've been through this all year long," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's not what either club wanted. Both clubs have to deal with it. The one thing I've probably learned as much as any other, you cannot fight Mother Nature."
Girardi said that the Yankees will have Ivan Nova on the mound when Game 1 resumes on Saturday, effectively turning his first postseason start into a relief appearance.
"I don't really see the difference," Nova said. "I'll have some time. It's not like they're going to throw me out there without time to warm up or to do the stuff I normally do."
The Tigers also got just a 25-pitch inning from ace Justin Verlander. Manager Jim Leyland said that Verlander would pitch Monday's Game 3 at Comerica Park, and Doug Fister is set to be on the mound for the resumption of Game 1. On Saturday, Fox Sports reported that Sabathia will start for the Yankees in Game 3.
"I do feel bad for the national audience, the fans that were here tonight," Leyland said. "Certainly, it was really a marquee matchup. That's a little sad, but that's just the way it is."
The contest is tied, 1-1. Delmon Young homered off Sabathia in the first inning and the Yankees answered with a run on an Alex Rodriguez groundout in the home half of the frame.
"We'll see how it plays out," catcher Russell Martin said. "I think everybody was excited and ready to play. It's the playoffs; it's that time where everybody wants to get out there. We'll just see what happens."
Girardi noted that there are weather concerns for Saturday as well, but for now, it remains to be seen how the postponement will affect the rest of the series.
Moments after the decision to suspend Game 1 was announced, Girardi said that his plans are to have Freddy Garcia pitch on Sunday, which has now become Game 2.
Girardi added that it is "not the right thing to do" to bring Sabathia back on Sunday. However, Sabathia said that he would lobby Girardi to pitch if he feels strong coming back from Friday's aborted outing.
"I want the ball as much as possible," Sabathia said. "We'll just have to wait and see what happens. ... If that means I get the ball as many times as possible, I'm all for it."
The Yankees' original plan was to have Sabathia pitch twice in the series, permitting them to use just three starters.
"I'm confident in our guys," Sabathia said. "Nova has had a great year. Freddy has pitched well. I don't want to sit here and say, 'If I don't pitch, we can't win,' because we've been doing it all year."
When play resumes on Saturday, designated hitter Jorge Posada will step to the plate, but instead of facing Verlander, he'll be up against Fister.
Only fans holding tickets for ALDS Game 1 will be admitted to Yankee Stadium on Saturday. Fans holding tickets for ALDS Game 2 must use them for Sunday's game, which has been scheduled for 3 p.m. ET.
The Commissioner's Office said that there are no circumstances under which a doubleheader will be played in the ALDS, meaning that more inclement weather could threaten the other off-day in the series, Oct. 5.
Girardi said that the Yankees were caught off guard by the rain, which forced the tarp to be spread across the field at 9 p.m., 30 minutes after first pitch.
It tapered to the point where Dan Cunningham's grounds crew dried the field and began preparing for play, but the downpour intensified again, knocking out the evening for good.
"The weather is tricky around here," Girardi said. "It's been hard to predict all year long."